Organisations face a plethora of seemingly intractable challenges before them. Many organisations reach out to external management consultants to help them with these challenges. The consultants in turn typically engage in:
– analysis by ‘benchmark’
– recommendation by ‘analogy’
– implementation by ‘fiat’

However, such an approach cannot, and will not, help organisations deal with these challenges, no matter how fervently the external consultants thrust it upon their clients:

1.  it results in translational ideas for improvement, at best:
– the ‘expert’ consultants tend to be entrenched in the same industry mindset that created the problems in the first place
– if the consultants recommend a bold solution and it doesn’t work out, their ‘expert’ reputation is likely to be tarnished
– if the consultants recommend something safe, whether it works or not, their ‘expert’ reputation is likely to remain intact

2.  it instills little buy-in and ownership of these ideas in people who are charged with implementing them:
– it makes those closest to the ‘coal face’ feel disempowered and disengaged
– it fosters resentment and a lack of trust towards the consultants
– it leads to a lack of genuine commitment

3.  it inhibits the organisation becoming an adaptive, innovative and creative ‘learning organisation’:
– things are done to people and not by people
– new ways of thinking are not formed into habits that permeate the whole organisation
– leadership remains reliant on external resources

What organisations require now is a different way of thinking – one capable of creating truly innovative ideas without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

‘There’s a good framework for thinking. It is physics.’
– Elon Musk

Musk is the only person in history to have built three multibillion dollar companies from scratch – Paypal, Tesla and SpaceX. One reason he cites is his ability to think through a challenge from first principles – the approach physicists use to deal with mind-bending subjects like quantum mechanics.

With my background in physics and management consultancy, I have developed a systematic and practical approach for applying from first principles thinking to business challenges:

1. visualise, articulate and quantify challenge
2. break challenge down into ‘fundamental truths’ from first principles
3. determine what is really happening and why
4. create innovative ideas that could produce desired outcome… but that still take into account ‘fundamental truths’
5. select idea(s) that would produce desired outcome most satisfactorily (highest return for lowest risk)

To see how you could learn, apply and embed from first principles thinking throughout your organisation, just scroll below.

– Mani Sandher



‘I think that without owning something over an extended period of time, like a few years, where one has a chance to take responsibility for one’s recommendations, where one has to see one’s recommendations through all action stages and accumulate scar tissue from mistakes and pick oneself up off the ground and dust oneself off… one learns a fraction of what one can.’
– Steve Jobs

On this high-intensity 3-day workshop, executives and key managers within the organisation apply from first principles thinking to real business challenges:

As well as creating truly innovative solutions, they leave with an extensive problem-solving toolkit, and the skills necessary to apply it going forward.

The workshop is intensive, challenging and certainly no ‘walk in the park’, with assumptions, beliefs and mental models all tested and teased apart continuously. But participants find it immensely stimulating and engaging, and tend to remember it for years after.

The systematic structure of the workshop, along with my particular facilitation style, tend to act as a ‘safety net’ for participants, giving them license to fully release their intuition and creativity.

Some clients have used the workshop as a very productive ‘executive retreat’.

Feel free to contact me to discuss running a from first principles workshop in your organisation.






Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are all in harmony.’
– Mahatma Gandhi

Striving for such congruence is arguably the best path to achieving a truly fulfilling professional life. Applying from first principles thinking, we arrive at the following model:

  1. working with passion
    – what’s important to you?
    – what do you believe to be true about you, about others, and about the world?
    – what do you want to be famous for?
  2. contributing your unique talent
    – what do you find easy that others find difficult?
    – which activities make you lose track of time?
    – what preferences do you have in the way you think, and the way you do things?
  3. offering real value
    – how can you combine what you have a passion for, and what you have a talent for?
    – how can this add value to others, and create an economic return for yourself?
    – what do you need to do to make this a reality?

My approach to coaching is based on a series of stimulating face-to-face conversations, predicated on mutual credibility, respect and trust. Although the atmosphere will always be relaxed and friendly, expect me to challenge your assumptions, beliefs and mental models throughout.

We’ll think through constraints to achieving your goals from first principles. We’ll employ tools such as psychometric tests and 360° feedback too, but only where we feel they’ll add real value.

Feel free to contact me to discuss how you can construct a truly fulfilling professional life.