The 10-Second or 10-Foot Rule and You!

Accountability Authenticity Communication


Key Point: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I’ve referred to this quote by the famous and sadly, recently deceased poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, many times during my writing. Recently I read an interesting Forbes article based on this renowned quote and its relationship to customer experience. The following story in this piece struck a chord with me:

“AT&T’s renewed focus on making its stores the customer service leader in its category. It now has two J.D. Power customer service awards to show for it. AT&T conducted focus group research to develop its ‘10 feet or 10 seconds’ method of greeting a customer. One focus group was greeted within 10 feet or 10 seconds of entering the store. The second group was not greeted nor told how long they would have to wait for service. Each group waited exactly three minutes to be served, and not a second more. Controlling for all other factors, AT&T consistently found that the first group had a significantly better perception of the brand because they ‘felt’ recognized and acknowledged.” 

This research got me thinking about the 10-second and 10-foot rule as it might apply to you and me. What happens in the first 10 seconds or 10 feet when people intersect with us? How do we make them feel? Do they feel recognized and acknowledged? This reminds me of the wonderful greeting of the tribe that  I wrote about in a previous blog. Translated, the greeting goes… “I see you.” The greeted responds… “I am here.” Customer experience matters and so does the experience we have with other teammates, family, and everyone we interact with. The feeling starts in the first 10 seconds and/or feet and is completed as our personal interaction concludes. Over time, what we build is essentially our personal brand… That’s what people will remember.

Character Moves: 

  1. Be mindful of how people feel about you after the first 10 seconds or 10 feet. If we’ve got our heads in our iPad, make people wait, etc, how does that really make them feel? How different is that from immediate eye contact, a warm smile and a greeting that states, “I see you”? Establish your 10-foot or 10-second rule. 
  2. Conclude every interaction with “The Value Given Rule.” Each time spent with another human involves a concluding moment. To what extent does it end with you giving another something of greater value, your care, attention, insight, listening, and so on? This does not mean that we can’t have a disagreement or that all interactions are cream puffs and sugar coated. However, if after every connection the other(s) feel that you have given them something useful, they will remember that feeling about you. 
  3. Be intentional about the perception of your personal “brand.” How do you want people to remember the way you made them feel? “Lorne made me feel ____?” We will develop a personal brand experience whether we think about it or not. What will be yours’? 

Making people feel in the Triangle, 


Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Is Chasing Happiness a Sucker Punch?

Abundance Happiness Well-being


Key Point: Are you happy yet? Are you as happy as you’re supposed to be? Frankly, I’m a little bewildered by everyone running around on what sometimes feels like a desperate, perhaps even narcissistic quest for happiness. It is a hot topic in the work place now too. Some days it feels like organizations have people frantically checking in with everyone to see if they’re happy or not? I wonder if hunting for happiness is like anxiously searching for the love of your life; the more you focus on it as an end result, the more elusive it is. My sense is that happiness is such a personal matter and it’s dependent on so many variables, that it may be a fool’s gold rush to chase it on a collective scale. As an example we do know, based on recent research, even age makes a difference. 

The following is from Happiness from Ordinary and Extraordinary Experiences: “Two young psychologists have recently stepped onto the scene and started to explain how happiness varies over the lifetime. Amit Bhattacharjee of Dartmouth University and Cassie Mogilner of the University of Pennsylvania find that the young find happiness and self-definition through extraordinary experiences like meeting a celebrity. In contrast, older adults find happiness and self-definition through everyday experiences, like dinner with a best friend or wife.

The young crave the extraordinary. They long to bungee jump off a cliff, find a celebrity, and post a stylized Instagram photo that exaggerates the extraordinariness of the moment. Youth culture embraces the concept of YOLO — ‘You Only Live Once’ —, which is just a modern (and arguably more annoying) way to say ‘carpe diem,’ which is just a Latin way to say, ‘seize the day.’ YOLO is not something new; it’s just a rebranding of the youth mindset that’s always been around.

In contrast, older people tend to find happiness and define themselves in the ordinary experiences that comprise daily life. So, on vacation, parents often just want to spend time as a family. They want to have a nice family dinner and play card games.

What’s important about Bhattacharjee and Mogilner’s happiness hypothesis is that it is a psychological hypothesis rather than a cultural hypothesis.” 

The above is just one example of psychological and physical conditions influencing personal happiness. I guess what bugs me a little is that some or much of this pursuit of happiness seems to be dependent on the behavior of others, or with situations that are often out of our control. The other aspect I find annoying is that a “bungee jump” or “meeting a celebrity” is somehow vital for happiness. It’s like gorging ourselves on every possible experience is a key measurement… “More… Newer… Better… Higher… Faster… Over… Under… MORE!!!!!” Aaaargh! 

I feel like I do have a choice, unless I struggle with mental illness, to personally declare a happiness position. Am I happier some days or moments more than others? Of course. Are there days and moments where I’m unhappy? You bet. How could one be happy when a child is hurt or suffering as an example? Or when you’ve hurt another? Or when the gap between expectation and reality is giant? So what? 

Character Moves: (For me… Perhaps not you)?

  1. I’m formally declaring to the world that I’m generally happy. Good! Now that’s done. No one or condition can change my mind. Yeah… I’m generally… More than 80 percent of the time… Happy! (And I do think having a positive outlook is vital).
  2. Now I can continue to concentrate on giving to others, creating value in my life, and living with a sense of purpose and meaning. This is a focus and result I can mostly control. 
  3. I accept unhappiness, heartbreak, disappointment, loneliness and every other painful emotion as part of the delicious proof that I’m alive… Wahoo! I’m able to be and define happy because I can live with and appreciate unhappiness. (A warm summer breeze means more to me when I can recall freezing my ears at minus 30).
  4. The more I’m self-accountable, self-respecting, and self-abundant, the happier I seem to be without searching for it. Funny how that works… For me anyways. 

Happy to be occasionally unhappy in The Triangle, 


Published and Edited by Garrett Rubis

I Say “We” (But it’s All About “Me”)

Accountability Organizational leadership Teamwork


Key Point: There’s a ton of literature out there about the forward moving attributes of leaders. Companies are searching for people who are  “hungry,” “connectors,” “passionate,” etc. I do like these attributes and living them is a requirement for effective leadership. However, one personal value that I think may not get enough attention is HUMILITY.

Over my years of observing career progression, an over active “ego” has stalled or derailed many careers. Why? People have a hard time rallying around leaders that are mostly about themselves. These so called “leaders” often say things like… “It’s my team,” “I’m only as good as my group,” etc., but their actions tell their team and others something different. What do other people who evaluate leadership think about this? 

Google’s SVP of People Operations, Laszlo Bock, says humility is one of the traits he’s looking for in new hires. He notes in this HBR blog: “’Your end goal is what can we do together to problem-solve… I’ve contributed my piece, and then I step back.’ And it is not just humility in creating space for others to contribute, says Bock—it’s ‘intellectual humility. Without humility, you are unable to learn.’”

Navy SEALS training reinforces the same. Former Navy SEAL Brent Gleeson states in his recent Forbes blog: “Assume you don’t know enoughBecause you don’t. Any effective team member understands that their training is never complete. It’s true in the SEAL Teams and it’s true in any elite team. Personal and professional development is critical to a team’s continued success. Those who assume they know everything should be eliminated. Those who spend time inside and outside of the workplace developing their knowledge and skills will provide the momentum for their team’s forward progress.”

The following are a few behaviors that make me wonder whether the humility trait is missing:

1. The “leader” that uses the “I” word when it comes to taking credit and the “they” word when things go wrong. The most humble leaders sincerely give credit to others when things go great, protect their teams and take it on the chin when a screw up occurs.

2. The “leader” that talks in the “third” person or likes to name things after themselves… Really? The most humble leaders avoid drawing unnecessary attention to themselves; even if deserving. Speaking in the third person is flat out… Well, I’ll just say, “goofy.”

3. The leader that puts themselves first instead of what’s best for the organization or group. I remember as a young leader, I once went home before I told everyone else to leave in advance of an impending snowstorm. I was so appropriately humiliated when this was pointed out to me later in the week. I expected others to leave too, but I just looked after myself first. I’ve tried to NEVER make that dumb mistake again. I should have made sure everyone else left first and then I could have departed. It’s like the recent “leaders eat last” story and principle. 

Character Moves: 

  1. Take honest inventory. Assess where you are on the sincere humility continuum. If you’re about you more than your team and/or organization, you better change… Fast. Go to a trusted, honest advisor to give you direct feedback. Start doing the right thing. 
  2. Make sure your team gets their due share of recognition. If you think your success is primarily from what you’ve done, then you’re a putz. You can be recognized too, but allow others to get credit first. 
  3. When things go wrong within your team, take accountability and address the matter with a solution. It may not be your fault, but like they say at Zappos, “It’s your problem.” Accept it… 
  4. Admit mistakes, sincerely point out messes you’ve made and what you’ve learned. People will love the authenticity.
  5. Never become a “know it all.” Freely admit you’re a never ending student and always pushing yourself to learn and grow. Always remove yourself out of your comfort zone. 

Humble in the Triangle, 


Published and Edited by Garrett Rubis

Everybody Plays and Then You Win!

Organizational culture Respect Teamwork


Key Point: Being included and making a valued contribution is the greatest feeling. On Friday, June 13, it was exhilarating seeing EVERYONE on the LA Kings Hockey club, raise the Stanley Cup over their heads and kiss it. It is the best possible feeling to win together when everyone plays. Being excluded and ostracized, on the other hand, is the worst possible feeling. What does this have to do with you and me at work?

In many cultures, banishment is the worst form of punishment because it is the most painful. In today’s workplace, ostracism is usually done with the sole intent to either remove an individual or push that individual out of their position. As employees, we have a fundamental need for a sense of belonging. Inclusion impacts our self-esteem and it is an important part of developing a great workplace culture. That core need comes under attack when isolation is severe and continuous. When people are disenfranchised it can affect their physiological condition, attitudes and behavior. Neuroscientists have actually been able to pinpoint a change in brain chemistry when dealing with exclusion. In fact certain parts of the brain exhibit a reaction like when hitting your thumb with a hammer. And yes, an Advil can make someone feeling the psychological pain of exclusion temporarily feel better. But eventually, the shunned employee disengages as a functioning team member, isolates himself or herself and usually becomes distrustful toward their supervisor and coworkers. The victim often finds themselves in a no win situation and this leads to further erosion of their self-esteem. 

Workplace ostracism turns out to have a bigger impact than harassment, doing greater harm to employees’ well-being and causing more job turnover, says a team led by Jane O’Reilly of the University of Ottawa. Ostracism is also more common: Of more than 1,000 university staff members, 91 percent reported such experiences as being ignored, avoided, shut out of conversations, or treated as invisible over the past year, where as 45 percent reported being harassed, such as by being teased, belittled, or embarrassed. 

Character Moves: 

  1. Fight for the inclusion of every single employee. Be clear and direct regarding expectations and desired results. If an employee does not fit or perform after you’ve sincerely coached and helped them try to improve, please be respectful and fire the person with dignity. Do not condone or contribute to any form of targeted or intentional exclusion, hoping that they’ll quit. That’s frankly gutless. 
  2. Watch for and stamp out the littlest signs of exclusion. As a not so trivial example, if you’re a leader and exclude some of your team on the little stuff like a going for a beer after work or out for lunch… Well, ask yourself why you’re doing that. (I’m not talking about earned celebrations and other clear reasons to exclude some members).
  3. If you’re a teammate and/or formal leader and you stand by to watch people get picked on and isolated, you need a metaphorical kick in the behind. If you’re a passively aggressive observer, it usually comes from your own insecurity and poor self-esteem. Have courage… Be respectful and accountable. 
  4. Be a great leader and teammate. Find the spot for everyone to contribute value. And if you feel like you’re being ostracized, have the conviction and strength to stick up for yourself and constructively confront the issues. A crucial conversation, however it works out, will be the best outcome. Ostracism and isolation is the worst. We all deserve more and better.  

Everyone one plays to win in The Triangle, 


Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Are You a Super Q and C?

Abundance Communication Empathy


Key Point: I think the best people connectors are exceptional students and genuinely curious individuals. One of many things that these people become exceptionally skilled at is what I call “Super Q and C.” They are remarkably skilled questioners and connectors. They can do question “sprints” or “marathons,” “dives” or “surfs.” They are fearless and relentless learners. They genuinely care about better understanding those they connect with.

Do you ever feel anxious going somewhere, wondering if you will be able to have meaningful conversations? It could be a company event, dinner party, whatever… Super Q and C’s rarely, if ever, feel that way. Why? They direct most conversations by the QUESTIONS they ask. They hardly do most of the talking. They usually do most of the listening and yet are very active in the discussion. They typically apply a model or framework to conversations and relationships. They also do so with intentionality and infinite capacity. What’s your model or framework for people connecting? Are you a Super Q and C?

John Maxwell, one of the world’s most influential teachers on leadership has dinner with the biggest wheels everywhere he goes (Kings, Queens, Presidents, Premiers, CEOs, and celebrities). The “skinny” on a John is: If you’re having dinner, you better get the first question in because John is so relentlessly curious, he will “empty your pockets” through a continuous stream of wonderful, stimulating questions. But you can’t fake this approach. It can’t be a mechanical exercise. The participant has to feel heartfelt interest from you. Maxwell is disarmingly exceptional at learning as much about you as he can. He gets into your grill in the best ways, and before you know it he’s better than your barber, bartender, and/or hairdresser at having you telling all that you know.

Character Moves:

  1. Apply a question and connection framework. If you don’t have one, try steps two through six:
  2. Be present and genuine (don’t be looking over the shoulder for someone more “interesting” and/or at your smart phone.) If you don’t care, why should the other person? Remember it’s about the value of listening and learning about the other person. It is NOT about proving how clever, smart and/or charming you are.
  3. Apply the STP model. Learn everything you can about the person’s situation (S). Find out about their personal targets, hopes and aspirations (T). Explore with them their proposed actions, ideas and or intentions (P). Hence: STP. Ride the conversation for a long and engaging time by sincerely switching between S, T, and P. Do not make judgmental comments or make it feel like a job interview unless you want the connection to stop or fail. To be a master connector, conversations need to be about the other person and not your noisy ego.
  4. As the discussion evolves, find out about what/who they love (their heart) and what they have learned recently (their head). Discovering that about the other, will show you really care about sincerely understanding “who they are.” You will help them feel valued. (Reminder: Don’t be a fake applying this framework. If you aren’t interested in the other person, trying to apply this will be counter-productive and they’ll know you’re phony).
  5. Allow conversations to emerge over time. Often it’s neither practical nor appropriate to follow the conversation to more meaningful depths. And you don’t always have to start the next conversations from the beginning. Press pause and return to the “bookmarked” conversation the next time you connect.
  6. Always debrief in your head after a conversation with others: What did you learn about them? What will you explore next time? What more can you learn about them? What value did you bring to them by genuinely demonstrating your interest in them? How did you improve or increase the connection?

Be a Super Q and C in The Triangle,


Edited and Published by Garrett Rubis

Intentionally Inspired: Me to We to I

Accountability Kindness Transformation


Key Point: Great leaders inspire and influence others to leap foreword.  I experienced this in a powerful way this past week. It was a “wow!!!”

Friday, June 6, 2014 started off with a private breakfast hosting John Maxwell, Inc Magazine’s 2014 Leadership Man of the Year. Maxwell has written more than 70 books, taught in 80 counties and is the leadership coach to the CEOs of the world’s biggest companies, along with government leaders of many countries. He has a million plus followers on Twitter. This great teacher shared his leadership insights with 300 plus leaders of the company I work with all day Friday. What a trip into more deeply understanding what it means to establish a culture of leadership. Standing ovation stuff!!

Then at our annual “black tie” celebration of top company award winners that evening, I was given the privilege of hosting Craig Kielburger, the co-founder of Free the Children and the Me to We movement. While Kielburger is half of Maxwell’s age, his list of credentials is equally impressive: Huge world wide contributions addressing extreme poverty, hunger, child education and much more. As an example, his charity, Free the Children has built more than 750 schools in developing countries. And hundreds of thousands of community service acts of kindness have flowed from Me to We events. These spectacular results have led to the Order of Canada and many other awards for his huge humanitarian impact.

Read more about each of these men and you will be blown away. What leaders!

Of course these guys are smart, and also embody the elements of the Character Triangle in spades! They really “do it now,” act with kindness and give more every day. That said, neither possesses some super human power and they both come from rather modest family backgrounds. However, what they both do that differentiates them from many is that they have each developed a system and incredible bias for self action. They have transcended from “me” (self-focused) to “we” (the greater good) to ultimately the “I” (What I will do about it with super self accountability). They genuinely believe one-person can and will change the world and it’s going to be them. They are fearless. They do not wait for the “memo” to take action on what they believe needs to happen. They just do something to move the ball forward. My view is that they are transformative because they continuously transcend by self-employing their heart, mind and hands… And therefore it comes down to “I”…  I will! I can! And I am! No excuses. No limitations. Sheer “I” power that harnesses a bunch of other “I”s into exponential positive outcomes. That makes them genius.

Character Moves:

  1. Believe you and I can change the world for better if even just a little. This has to be a genuine self-belief. Otherwise we will be passively swept by the current of life and one day be disappointed we didn’t paddle and steer a little more.  Do you really believe you can evolve further on the journey of “me to we to I “? I know I sure can.
  2. Develop your own system for action. Every day John Maxwell employs ACT. He identifies just one thing he can A (apply), C (change) and T (teach); hence ACT. He does this with incredible commitment and dedication. After a lifetime of intentionally applying learning, our world will change for the better. Experience in life means little if we don’t intentionally reflect, really learn, AND personally do something about it.
  3. Craig’s system involves finding an issue that ignites a passionate response. Each of us is likely to run into something that evokes an emotional stir inside of us. When we become aware of that “buzz,” Craig believes that’s a signal to take some forward contributing action on that matter. Most people are stuck on where to start. How about NOW and small? Just give of yourself something to do that connects with that emotional stir and cause. You’re worth it. ACT with INTENTION.
  4. Learn what the Ecuadorian word “minga” means. I won’t tell you any more than that. But your vocabulary and mindset will be richer after understanding its meaning.

I for Minga in the Triangle,


Published and Edited by Garrett Rubis