Excited Delirium, a Police Officers Story – Daz Norton


Picture the scene Night Shift

It’s an unusually quiet Sunday evening for a very busy city centre Police Station. The officer is on night duty with a colleague working on the front desk. The evening is going quite well and seems like the usual Sunday night, there are people coming in to collect family or friends who have been in custody, others coming in to report crimes, to give statements etc. Its about 23:00hrs when a familiar face walks in from the street, it’s a local homeless guy who is looking for a warm and a chat, its quiet now so he tells him he can stay sat in the corner as long as it remains quiet and if it gets busy he is to leave.

Its now around 01:00hrs now when a guy walks in crying and looking really agitated, the officer asks “can I help you sir” and he turns around and walks off laughing !!!. Half an hour later he returns still crying, again the officer asks if he can help him, he then replies “I have a gun and if I was to put it against your head, no one would now right” now the station does not have cameras in the front office and the officer says “Not really”. The guy walks away laughing. Now it has gone quiet for about an hour when the same guy walks into the station and gets on his knees and begins to prey whilst crying. The homeless man tells him to talk to me and that I can help him. The Officer keeps asking him if he is ok but the guy on his knees is still preying and it seems as though he doesn’t realise people are talking to him. Suddenly the guy gets up and jumps over the counter by which time the Officers colleague hits the shutter button and hides under the desk as this man is potentially armed with a firearm. The Officer calls for assistance as the man has disappeared into the station. The controller tells the Officer that no one is available in the station but Firearms unit has been called and are responding. Mean time the officer goes on search for the guy and finds him in the basement. The officer tries to calm the man down but he just ignores the fact that the officer is even there. The man is standing shouting to an imaginary person, he is soaking with sweat. The officer approaches him on his own without waiting for back up as there are people behind the door that the man is standing by so it was the officer’s duty to make sure the other people were safe. Talking to the man doesn’t work so the officer approaches after looking for visible signs of a weapon. The officer takes his arm and the guy throws him off like he is a rag doll. The Officer tries again but like last time the guy throws him off. The officer walks up behind him kicking him behind the knees at the same time bringing the guy backwards and wrestles with him, the guy has amazing strength and starts to

fight the officer off, despite all of the techniques he uses, and the officer just can’t control him. At this point, the firearms team turn up and take over the situation; there were approximately 10 officers at this time trying to control the man. He is finally restrained and all the officers carry the guy up to the custody suite where he is detained. When he was searched there was no weapon found and it later turned out that he never had a weapon. The duty Dr was called and it turned out that the guy was suffering Excited Delirium after taking cannabis and crack cocaine. The parents of the guy said how much of a nice man he was and that he enjoyed a smoke and never had any problems before. The story turned out that his friends mixed crack and he never knew which in turn caused ED and resulted in him being arrested.

That story is true and in fact the officer was me. Coming across someone with ED is a scary experience and no matter what you know, it doesn’t help. We have to approach it is a different way.

Exited Delirium is an acute behavioural disorder, with a range of symptoms. It has been linked to long-term drug use and mental illness. It is often attributed to deaths with Positional Asphyxia.

The need for understanding Excited Delirium isn’t just for professionals such as Police, Prison officers and Medical staff but also for Self Protection Instructors. Understanding the signs can help prevent a potentially dangerous situation. There are certain features associated with Excited Delirium that can be exhibited during the use of force encounter or in a Self Defence situation:

  1. Pain tolerance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4VeHOkt_o8
  2. Constant/near constant activity
  3. Not responsive to police presence
  4. Superhuman strength https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc3DJ0tq_FU
  5. Rapid breathing
  6. Does not fatigue
  7. Naked/inappropriately clothed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ai2bVK_BGHs
  8. Elevated Body Temperature i.e.; Sweating profusely https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmxkC7wN7AE
  9. Glass attraction/destruction.
  10. Violent or bizarre Behaviour
  11. Delirium
  12. Agitation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zQKfo_Q23g
  13. Disorientation
  14. Anxiety
  15. Hallucinations
  16. Speech Disturbances

If you happen to get caught up in a Violent encounter with someone suffering fro Excited Delirium you will find that the person experiencing an episode of ED will not feel the exhaustion from fighting and will fight with everything they have got and then some. So you have to be prepared for a long process that could ultimately either get yourself or the person suffering the episode killed.

In these circumstances the person attempting to defend themselves may respond with extra strength or man power and this can end in an individual being restrained in a way that restricts oxygen intake, together with sudden exhaustion this can lead to death through lack of oxygen.

The risk of unknown medical issues together with the escalation in the use of force can cause multiple complications even death, Video shows male being arrested and excessive use of force by Police officers to a man with Excited Delirium, make note of the officer kneeling on the restrained mans back. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdzpoS8pTks&has_verified=1

What can be done to help elievate this problem

Lacking the necessary knowledge to identify probable cases of Excited Delirium, you could be at a disadvantage in terms of safety for yourself, the individual having the ED episode, and the public. So its in the interest of yourself and the public’s safety to provide training to ensure positive outcomes in cases of ever encountering someone who has Excited Delirium.

Training should include mental health issues, crisis-intervention, de-escalation, First Aid, CPR, and the Use of force.

There may not be too much you can do to fully mitigate the risks of excited delirium but you may well be confronted by someone with excited delirium. Knowing what to look for can help. A mnemonic for recognising the symptoms :

NOT A CRIME, created by emergency physician and EMS medical director Dr. Michael Curtis:

N: Patient is naked and sweating from hyperthermia (opposite of hypothermia) body temperature of over 40°c

O: Patient exhibits violence against objects, especially glass

T: Patient is tough and unstoppable, with superhuman strength and insensitivity to pain

A: Onset is acute, witness say the patient “just snapped!”

C: Patient is confused regarding time, place, purpose and perception

R: Patient is resistant and won’t follow commands to desist

I: Patient’s speech is incoherent, often with loud shouting and bizarre content

M: Patient exhibits mental health conditions or makes you feel uncomfortable

E: Emergency should request early backup and rapid transport to the Hospital

As with all violent situations someone faced with someone in a state of Excited Delirium should try and de-escalate the situation using verbal calming techniques. Due to the nature of acute behavioural disorder a person’s reaction to de-escalation techniques may be very

unpredictable and so restraint may be needed. This should be kept to a minimum using a level of force that is justifiable, reasonable and proportional to the individual case. If restraint is needed keeping a person in the prone position should be avoided at all costs and they should be constantly monitored.

As excited delirium is classed as a medical emergency and so the first line should be realising the difference between a violent outburst and excited delirium. If it is thought that someone is suffering from acute behavioural disorder emergency medical help should be sought out straight away so that they can be helped.

We now know that it is extreme mental & physiological excitement, characterised by extreme agitation, hypothermia, hostility, exceptional strength & endurance without fatigue.

Causes of Excited Delirium can be from a number of factors such as; Substance Abuse, Mental illness, Combination of Substance abuse & Mental illness.


Unpredictable Reaction to: Cocaine, Methamphetamine, PCP, Discontinuation of anti-depressant medication


History of Depression, Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disease – History of Other Psychotic Background


  • Hyperthermia – overheating
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Drooling
  • Dilated pupils
  • Unbelievable Strength
  • Impervious to Pain
  • Aggression
  • Hyperactivity
  • Elevated Pulse Rate
  • Extreme Paranoia
  • Incoherent Shouting / Noises
  • Bizarre and Violent Behavior
  • Removal of Clothing
  • Able to Offer Effective Resistance to pain and fight for Extended Time


  • Hyperthermia (dangerously high temp)
  • Blood Acidosis
  • Electrolyte Imbalances
  • Breakdown of Muscle Cells Leading to Heart Arrhythmia
  • Susceptible to Ventricular Fibrillation
  • Death


  • Ineffective Respirations Caused by Extended Prone Restraint (positional asphyxia)
  • Extended Violent Resistance
  • Delayed Emergency Life Support


  • Emergency response if possible when Excited Delirium is recognised
  • Extra Training for all who may face people with excited delirium
  • Delay struggle/restraint process until sufficient personal are on hand to perform rapidly and safely
  • Immediate Emergency support upon restraint
  • Use of Force Options (pain compliance may not be effective)
  • Control Holds
  • Impact Weapons may not be effective (Remember the laws on use of force for your country)
  • Tasers – Single Application **If in a country that the use of Tasers are legal**(not effective in pain compliance mode)
  • Restraint Positions
  • Avoid Extended Time in Prone Position
  • On Subjects Side
  • Supine
  • Monitor Vital Signs
  • Transportation
  • To Hospital by Ambulance
  • Restrained for Transport
  • Officer to Accompany Ambulance


This is a life threatening medical emergency which often presents itself as a law enforcement problem but can possibly happen within a Self Defence situation, Effecting physical control may be dangerous and difficult and despite all possible precautions death may still occur as the result of the excited delirium.

You as Instructors should be teaching this as part of your curriculum”

Pitbull Bouncer – Gabe Cohen

Here is the 1st Chapter of contributor Gabe Cohen’s 1st book, Pitbull Bouncer.

Chapter 1- Leadership & Management Philosophy

My philosophy is to lead by example, don’t ask anybody to do anything your not willing to do yourself and put the safety of my team members first. Sometimes as well as I may have trained my team members there are those that just don’t have the experience or the confidence to make certain judgement calls that need to be made for every situation. We need to watch out for one another. When I am working a room I am not only constantly scanning the crowd but also keeping an eye on all of my people. Keeping track of them when I see them move or trying to find them when I don’t see them where they are supposed to be posted. There is definitely a learning curve that comes with time and if, as a team leader/supervisor, you have confidence that certain team members still need a little more time to fully grasp what needs to be done but will get it then it’s your responsibility to keep an eye on these individuals. Whether it’s you or other experienced team members (because you can’t be everywhere at one time} as a team we look out for one another in order to keep everyone safe. It’s an absolute team effort.

What has happened several times is I will see a patron, let’s say trying to get into the VIP section where he is not permitted to go. One of my guy’s with not as much experience will often engage this patron with to much conversation over the matter. It’s pretty simple, “No means no.” Of course we try to be as diplomatic, polite and respectful as possible so some courtesy conversation is expected such as, “As much as I’d like to let you up here these are private parties and my job is to make sure only people who belong up here are in this section. So I’m just asking you kindly to respect me and the job I’ve got to do.”

Now you got to remember if your in a high volume club with hundreds or even over a thousand people you’ve got to be scanning and watching for trouble while securing your post and talking to the clients. You can’t get sucked into a debate or someone else’s drama while doing your job. It’s a distraction and for the most part these people engaging you into these types of conversation don’t care about you or your job. If after being kind they persist in trying to get their way and not taking no for answer then I see it as they are taking your kindness for weakness and it’s time to step up your game. You need to let them know you are not playing game’s here and they need to back up and go about their business. My philosophy here is I let them know I need to pay attention and do my job and if they persist in trying to get me to change the clubs policy for them I’m going to ask them to leave the establishment. Plain and simple. I got to much going on to spend any more time on this. The answer is “No”, I’ve told you already twice and I’ve asked you to please leave me alone so I can focus on my job.

If they don’t move on at this point my policy is to radio in for back up and try to “hand this guy off” to another team member. When back up arrives if this guy wants to argue or debate the same issue and have the same conversation then it’s time for him to go. He can either show himself to the door or we can help him find it. We usually don’t want the guy posted up at the VIP section to leave his post but if he does one of our roamers or a guy posted across the room can come cover his spot until he comes back. That’s best case scenario and if everything goes smooth but everything is situational and I’ve had to use my intuition to step in and handle the situation before my team member got themselves into a wreck. This of course can have the ripple effect that gets friends of the trouble maker involved which requires more security to get over there and takes time. This puts that many more people at risk of getting injured especially those compliant customers in the immediate range who are oblivious of what’s going on. Sometimes I can see these debates carrying on way o long and I can see my guy uncertain on what to do, they freeze up and kind of hope the problem will just go away. It usually doesn’t and I watch the troublemaker become more aggressive and my team member getting frustrated but staying passive. The key sign to move in and take control of the situation is the lack of radio communication. This is of course if I’ve had the luxury to watch from the start and realize there is a problem that needs to be handled. I’ve watched up to the point where the patron was pointing his finger in my team members face and I got there in time to “wrap” him up and get him out the door before anybody got hurt. Often these guys will get themselves worked up into an aggressive state trying to build their own confidence to get violent. I’ve often been accused of looking like the aggressor and you need to be careful of the public’s perception but they don’t know what I know or have seen and experienced what I have and it’s my job to keep my people safe. Sometimes my people just need more time, training and experience and sometimes we need to let them go. Not everyone is cut out for this job and sometimes letting them go is my way of keeping them and everyone else safe.

Sometimes – Randy King

If you have ever been in a real encounter, whether street or sport based you know that adaptability is key to success.
A lot of people like to go deep into the what if’s and worst case scenarios for their training. With that mentality sometimes the baby gets thrown out with the bath water, and decent tactics seem ridiculous. 

In reality, most good training, works most of the time. Not every person who stiff shoulders you is the terminator, and not every mugger is a former Navy S.E.A.L. down on his luck. 
So many people want to scare you into taking class. So they play fast and lose with things like, stats and “evidence”. 
The best way to make sure that you have a bad time when facing non consensual violence is to have expectations. It hurts you both physically in the situation and ten fold mentally during the after math.

Here is the truth, the ability to transition and adapt are the most important parts when dealing with sudden violence. It doesn’t really matter what system you take… hell most people with records of violence have ZERO training. As long as you have the ability to asses and adapt in combat you are light years ahead, wether that comes from training or experience makes no difference. 

A dogmatic belief in one method, be it; striking, grappling, pain compliance, or just pull my gun.

Is a huge training flaw. Lots of things don’t work on everyone but something will. Be good at a few basics in as many ranges and tactics as possible then mix and match till you succeed.
This is the essence of reality based self defense.

Embrace the Suck – David Goggins

This has been ready to use for a few months, maybe it is more fitting now. This man is inspiration personified.

How to Unshackle Your Mind and #EmbraceTheSuck | David Goggins Embrace The Suck speech: Navy SEAL veteran David Goggins shares how he overcame so many debilitating obstacles to later achieve incredible military and personal honors, and the mentality that kept him going and made him push beyond his limits.

5 Genres of Common (and Commonly Wrong) Self-defense Advice – Brandon Sieg

There is a lot of self-defense/personal protection advice out there. A lot of it is good, sound advice. A lot of it I would call contextual—in certain circumstances it is good, but as Marc MacYoung points out, soundbites can be dangerously simplistic. And some, at least in my opinion, is absolute crap. I sometimes joke that some of the chain emails regarding safety tips that I receive are actually written by rapists for counter intelligence purposes in order to make their life easier. I mostly don’t mean it; I presume they are well intentioned people. But that doesn’t mean their advice is any less dangerous if relied upon.

While teaching collegiate self-defense courses for over twenty years, one exercise we do in class is to have students provide examples of what advice they have been given, and we analyze that advice based on what we have already discussed: predatory process and issues such as the legal, social, and psychological consequences. It also serves as great research for me—I don’t read the same magazines or get shared the same links as these girls do. And 18 year old girls tend to get lots of talks before they leave for university. Hopefully the assignment gets everyone to think more critically about the advice and opinions that will continue to be shared with them. Obviously, personal protection advice can be rather varied, but here are some main genres that a lot of advice tends to fall into, and that I believe people should be wary of:

Genre 1: Good person to good person advice: Example: Tell them firmly, “stop it, you are raping me.” If I were with a woman and she said that, I would be taken aback and mortified. But I am not a rapist! That sentence is powerful to other like-minded individuals. Another example: Fake a seizure. If I were with a woman and she started seizing, I would do my best to provide medical help, have concern, etc. A predator will be find it easier when she is limp. Many people need to realize we are not talking about the nice people they are used to dealing with.

There is a lot of advice out there that sounds viable to other good people, but never takes into account that the bad guy is another breed. This requires a big shift in thinking for some.

This type of advice is more prevalent in environments where the mentality is that we should all just talk things out and get along. One of my universities had a campus program where two actors portrayed meeting at a party, going back to his place, fooling around. The next morning she goes home and tells her friend she thinks she was raped. End Scene. Bring lights up. Let’s talk about how they both could have communicated better so this misunderstanding doesn’t happen. They might have sung a round of Kumbaya before dismissing. Admittedly, good person to good person advice could possibly help with “state” rapes (where the guy isn’t really a rapist but alcohol or some other factor causes it to happen, versus a “trait” rape where the guy is a certifiable rapist douchebag,) but state rapes are the overwhelming minority of incidents. In most cases the bad guy is just that—bad- and doesn’t give a crap what you think and is going to take what he wants unless he is deterred or stopped. Do you think that in the heat of the moment, after he has isolated you (spent his time and resources on you as a target), if you say, “stop it, you are raping me,” you are going to have meaningful dialogue and convince him that he is wrong? A convocation where you explain that little dose of reality doesn’t leave you feeling as warm and glowing. Some third party intervention tactics are based on this misguided concept and can easily get your butt kicked as well. It also applies to social versus asocial violence and understanding the associated scripts, but that is beyond this article.

Genre 2: Academic/Ivy Tower Advice. Example: Yell Fire Instead of Rape. The problem with all research is whether it has external validity when other variables are introduced. Here too, many people fail to take into account the bad guy. It doesn’t matter what you yell if the predator has properly isolated you and can cover your mouth or worse to shut you up. Now, I am not saying don’t scream; it is a part of a resistance strategy, but “Yell Fire instead of Rape” is one of those dangerous soundbites Marc writes about.

There is also plenty of other information that is interesting and somewhat relevant but is pedantic at the moment of truth. Is he violent because of genetic factors, brain damage, social conditioning, or not enough fish in his diet? What is the optimal heartrate where you get the benefits of adrenaline but don’t go condition black (or see white, or see red or whatever you call it)? These might be helpful to understand what happens, but to paraphrase Rory Miller, that knowledge isn’t worth a damn in the middle of a fight for your life.

Genre 3: Comfort advice. Example: Act like you are talking on your self phone. I will categorically argue this specific tip will get you selected as a target (not being aware of your surroundings) rather than avoiding it. Even if you were actually on the phone with dispatch, no one is likely going to get to you in time. But I had one student make the very astute observation that “she felt better, more secure, when she was talking with her mom.” And that may be true. There is a lot of advice or practices that may make us FEEL safer but might really be doing the opposite. Similarly, I am not going to knock the buddy system, but I have also been in groups where everyone feels safe in the group, and no one is paying attention because they think everyone else is. I have more than once noticed another person insert themselves amongst our group. A knowing glance is enough for me and him to communicate. No one else was any wiser but felt “safe in the group.” The group is comforting. It is probably safer. But still make it your job to be attentive and alert.

Genre 4: Boogeyman advice. Example: Look under your car in case someone has crawled under to slice your Achilles. I have no real statistics on this, but I am willing to bet more people–having been too preoccupied to notice the guy opening the van behind them– have been abducted while looking under their car for the boogeyman than have prevented it. Understanding how potential assaults can happen is certainly important, but many people tend to latch onto sensational images or urban legends and ignore very real threats that are much more common. As Gavin DeBecker points out, people have a tendency to focus their fears on unlikely scenarios precisely to avoid facing the much more likely and very real things that can go wrong.

Genre 5: Advice that makes you have to change your lifestyle unnecessarily. Example: Don’t wear your hair in a ponytail; it is too easy for rapists to grab it. Like you can’t grab someone’s hair that is down. If you are that concerned about such a possibility, there is a real occupational reason all my prison guard buddies shave their heads. But most of my co-eds don’t prefer the Sinead O’Conner look. Another Example: wear tennis shoes to your destination, change into your heels when you get there, so you can run if approached en route. While this makes sense on the surface, I imagine it is hard for many women to attend a black tie affair and keep their Air Jordans in their clutch.

Yes, taking personal protection seriously should affect your mindset and probably lead to some types of behavior modification. But there is a difference between living your life more proactively and with paranoia. I had one woman in my class that carried an extra cell phone in her bra (so she can call from the trunk of the car after they take the first one,) and another with a cattle prod (she grew up on a farm) in her bag. While these women felt this was necessity, to me, these seem like extreme lengths. Combining all of the tips from the genre with the boogeyman advice would leave us cutting the pie on every corner we ever go around. Live your life. Live it well and empowered, not overly encumbered and in paranoia.

I don’t expect everyone to agree with all my genres or my opinions. You might even consider me one of those quacks that I bemoaned at the beginning of this piece. That is ok. Like I tell my classes, you don’t have to share my opinion, but I hope you give this topic enough serious consideration to have an informed one, and hopefully this article gives you another lens to form yours.

Hello Goodbye – Garry Smith

Well the time has come to say goodbye to Conflict Manager and CRGI. It has been an interesting journey and I have learned many things but it is time to close this down.

Rory is absolutely correct in that we can embrace the failure, I have no problem with that, I have failed many times at many things but what I have not failed to do is to learn from the experience. A few years ago I took my motorcycle riding test part 1, I failed it on a Friday on 1 error, I put my foot down on a u turn. Boom, failed, I knew it as I did it but took the rest of the test with no more faults.

The next day as I started my Ju Jitsu class I informed all my students of my failure and explained why they should not fear failing as it is a powerful experience. I then went back the following Friday and aced the test with no faults. Despite the fear of failing again.

Rory and I started CRGI and it is we who are closing it with these parting shots. As editor of this magazine I have had the incredible privelidge to correspond with some wonderful people in the violence professions. People of amazing intelligence and experience, the people who make what we do look good, real professionals. The discourse has always been polite and respectful and that is something to remember and I am sure the friendships will endure. I have learned a lot from the knowledge shared by so many people, we may not have made much money but we opened a goldmine full of treasures. The website was/is problematic but it remains there open for you all to use, use it well, there is growth there still.

Personally I am developing www.AoSDDigital.com and that is looking very interesting and I must put my energy into my Academy of Self Defence. After 11 years we are now building a team that plays together well, where roles are assigned and each knows how they contribute to the mission and what our objectives are. We know who our target audiences are and how we can meet their needs, the failure of CRGI and Conflict Manager has provided some very important lessons these last 5 years.

Rory and Marc both have very interesting new ventures on Patreon and I am sure you will seek them out. We pulled together an all star team and now the team has been dispersed and each former director, Erik, Toby, Jayne, Tammy, Clint, Terry, Teja, Kathy, Varg and Randy are all continuing with their own projects and I would like to offer each of them my thanks for the efforts they made and my personal best wishes in their future activities.

It was fun being CEO and an editor of a magazine, I will continue writing. My first book, ‘Exit the Dojo’ will now get finished and published this year and I have a couple of others in the pipeline.

So farewell good people and a massive thank you for your support.

Footnote, yes that is me wearing a punisher vest and camo shorts in a tunnel in Cu Chi, Vietnam.

Embracing Failure – Rory Miller

CRGI has failed. Embrace it. We all need to embrace it. I need to embrace it. Extraordinary people have a specific relationship to failure. They may not like it, but they embrace it. One becomes extraordinary by growing. One grows by learning from failure. Failure is necessary to any meaningful growth.

It’s not enough to say the words. You have to try, not talk about trying. And sometimes you will fail. And then you have to learn from the failure, not wallow.

So this final article will be my “lessons learned” from CRGI. We did much I’m proud of. We also learned a lot. Hopefully, you will learn as well.

Talent is not enough. We put together some great people. Skill, experience and insight were more important than name recognition. We wanted good, unique material, and we delivered on that. We even shored up our weaknesses to include people who were good at the business part, because most of us sucked.

And it wasn’t enough. All-star teams don’t always win.

What can you take away from this for your success? This: Talent/skill/whatever is a necessary but not sufficient condition for success. When the failures are in basic ability, they are obvious. Most of the time you need to look deeper.

Committees are not teams. I think the primary reason for failure, the rot at the root, is all on me. I was excited by the idea, I knew the people I wanted and I made a basic fucking error. When you are going to do something new, the best tactic is to do it. When you’ve already done something, you have a built-in answer when someone says, “That’s impossible” or “You can’t.” Diplomats used to call this, and maybe still do, fait accompli.” In other words, it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

And I knew this. CERT, the Corrections Emergency Response Team, was meticulously planned before the administration heard even a whisper of the concept. Almost every evolution as we transitioned from riot control and cell extraction to hostage rescue was essentially done before anyone outside the team knew of the plans.

Instead of having an existing operation and inviting people into it, I floated an idea, hoping the synergy would create something better than I could imagine. What it did was create a committee instead of a team, This is not on anyone else— it was a failure of my leadership. I knew better.

Here’s your takeaway: Individual responsibility is a key. When you want something to be successful, each person involved will add a certain inevitable level of what can best be called friction. When only one person is involved, there is very little second-guessing and no misinterpretation (if you misinterpret yourself, that’s a whole other problem.)

Goals and methods must be clear. Clarity is a superpower. What you intend to achieve must be crystal clear and unitary. What was originally envisioned as a curated warehouse of hard-won personal knowledge became an e-mag. That would have been fine, if it had been the goal. Same with methods. Garry, Erik and Toby strove mightily to assign jobs, but accepting the assignments was voluntary. Different levels of commitment showed different levels of effort.

Your takeaway: Strive for clarity in everything you do.

Energy and dedication must stay high. Initially that’s actually almost never a problem. When people get involved in a project, they usually have a lot of energy. They are dedicated. They are into it. The challenge is not to find that or create it, the challenge is to maintain it. When people don’t see concrete results, the energy feels wasted. When dedication is not recognized, people feel used.

Your takeaway: There must be a return on investment to keep people enthused. They have to see their behavior affecting the real world in concrete ways.

Diffusion of responsibility. This relates back to committee stuff. Bottom line: When everyone shares responsibility, no one is responsible. Also, there must be real consequences. When someone fails to meet a deadline, being forgiving and understanding ultimately sends the signal that the deadline wasn’t important or maybe even real.

Your takeaway: When delegating, give specific jobs to specific people and hold them to their agreements.

Do what is necessary. Everyone involved in CRGI knew that the website was our weakest link and biggest problem. It came up in every e-mail exchange. But the bad website had been a ton of hard work, and nobody wanted the creator to feel bad about it. Almost all of us had a friend who could do the job, but then all of the friends who didn’t get picked would feel slighted…

Your takeaway: Keep the end-user in mind. Any time you try to create any school or business or service, you are trying to help other people with their lives. If anything becomes more important than your customers, you will fail.

I’ll miss you all. CRGI and Conflict Manager were big parts of my life and the friendships will continue. Always remember that failure needs to be embraced, because you learn very little from success.— Rory