Just Friggin’ Dance

Abundance Organizational culture Teamwork

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Key Point: I think one of the benchmarks of great company culture is when an entire group of people regardless of connection, age, tenure, gender, affiliation, etc. has the ability to literally dance with each other. I have been part of at least five great cultures in my career, and that has been one key common component – We have loved to dance in each other’s company. I’m actually talking about flat out arms flailing, spinning, twirling, unabashed dancing. Often, singing at the top of our lungs too.

I’m hardly a great dancer. However, there is something magical, even surreal, when a team puts on the tunes (perhaps too loudly) and just lets loose on the dance floor. I think I like it so much because we have to be vulnerable. We get to unravel a little, and that puts us on a level playing field. How glorious it is. 

I don’t sponsor any event that doesn’t involve music. It moves us, and because we are verbs, I think it feeds us like oxygen. All of us have something inside us that makes us want to move and music/dancing sets us free. I put no judgment on the folks sitting on the sidelines. Sometimes part of enjoying the dance is in the people watching. That is adding to the experience too. We all embrace dance in different ways. 

My last team was notoriously badass for dancing. Our annual conference post-dinner dance is legendary. I loved heading to my hotel room, mopping the sweat off my head after a couple of hours of just flat out grooving. There is something cathartic about the freedom, autonomy, trust, and self-confidence that is unleashed through dance. 

I’m writing about this because corporate life must involve huge amounts of fun. And when leaders let go and show their true, goofy, authentic self, then good things happen. Freeing ourselves sets others in the culture free. I know sometimes when I’m lost in my total “dance,” the music pulsating through me, I look like a “fool.” Maybe people are laughing at me? I do NOT care! The freedom… The authenticity… The movement… My letting go in pure, sweet joy, is most important!

Character Moves:

  1. Just close your eyes and dance… Play loud music every chance you get. Let go and have fun. Be real. 
  2. Consciously make music part of everything. It makes a difference. More importantly, have the courage to get up and dance your ass off. Like I always say, you’re worth it! 

Dancing in the Triangle,

Lorne

P.S. If you think I’m exaggerating, ask my last team. I’m betting testimonials appear. They make me happy!!

One Millennial View: For my money, there’s one true inspiration for the perfect way to get after a dance floor… (Other than Dad, of course…) Here it is:

If anyone finds a “Dan Aykroyd School of Dance,” let me know.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Capacity Versus Choice

Accountability Contribution Productivity

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Key Point: “I feel overwhelmed, I just don’t have time to do all that is expected of me…” That phrase or facsimile, is a common mantra in today’s corporate life (or just plain life in general). This capacity issue is often accompanied by a “keeping my fingers crossed” hope or expectation that somehow this situation is going to change for the better. However, most of us know that is NOT true. Certain times are slightly less hectic than others, for sure. However, we are one inevitable crises or new priority away from that feeling of being crushed by expectations. We feel this because it is very real. There is way more to do than time available in both our professional and personal lives. Our common ingredient is the 24 hours available to each of us daily. The new reality is that technology has redefined available options to manage our time, and that has both freed us up and/or enslaved us depending on choices we make.

Most of us will never experience the perfect level of contributions made versus time allotted. Yes, we might become reclusive and even a hermit so that time and capacity become severely narrowed. But that is not the path and likelihood for most of us. Everywhere we look there is more to do: One more email to respond to, podcast to listen to, book to read, initiative to start or complete, child to help, friend to visit, yard to maintain, car to clean, parent to be cared for, diet to go on, etc. etc. Aaaaaaghh… Enough! It can make many of us want to run away and literally escape, or more and more “pause,” through the vehicle of mood modifying substances like drugs and booze.

The wonderful side of this situation is some level of increased autonomy. And of course, that level of freedom to choose is different for each of us. It’s a very personal matter because each of our circumstances is unique. The one thing we know for sure is that we have to look after ourselves first. We become incapacitated when we get totally burnt out, and that diminishes our ability to help anyone. The hard thing about being in control is to take control. We have to make choices, and as a result NOT everyone is going to be happy with or even like us all the time. We have to thoughtfully declare and consciously choose to do “this” and NOT do “that.” The front-end filter has to be our personal well-being, not because we’re selfish narcissists, but because if we go down, everyone loses more. 

So, I do not believe we have a capacity crises in the workplace. Let’s agree for the rest of our lives there will be an overwhelming amount of “should of’s” and “could of’s” at work and in our personal lives. What we DO have, I believe, is a crisis of personal confidence regarding being able to make hard choices. This includes embracing a mindset of being self-accountable enough to choose AND NOT beat ourselves up because of judgment based imperfection. Yup, sometimes a project gets delayed because another one takes precedent. Yes, sometimes the house doesn’t get vacuumed on Saturday. And yeah, sometimes instead of that email, it’s a call to children or grandchildren. Some thing and unfortunately someone is going to get left a little behind. That one person, however, cannot be you or me. Have the courage to accept that and the consequences. You’re worth it. 

Character Moves:

  1. Learn how to make your agenda the one that drives your day (of course, this involves where you choose to intersect with others).
  2. Have a way to choose what is most important and for what reason. This is why your personal purpose and stated values are so necessary. Apply other choice filters that are uniquely yours. 
  3. Embrace and recognize that not everyone is going to be happy with you and accept the consequences. 
  4. Stop saying you do not have “enough time.” Of course you do. You consciously or unconsciously made other choices. You just can’t do it all. Most times, our decisions aren’t fatal. We can recover. This is how we learn to make better ones over time. And for some of us, we have to repeat a few times too. That’s how we progress. 

Choosing in The Triangle,

– Lorne

One Millennial View: It’s nice to hear Millennials be honest and popularize the phrase “everyone’s busy until they don’t want to be.” Usually it applies to dating life because “too busy” is such a common excuse, and no one wants to be rude enough to say “look, I just don’t feel like making time for YOU.” But this applies to all aspects of life. It’s ok that we have to prioritize and sometimes decide not to do or follow up with certain things or people. Notice how we still have time to make that gym session, or watch “The Bachelor” with friends. Let’s just hope we’re choosing the most productive activities and best company to fill our calendars up with. Like it says above, we’re worth it.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

The Power of a Little WOW!

Organizational culture Organizational leadership Respect

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Key Point: I’m a huge fan of the little “WOW” and the positive impact it can have on people every day. I think it does require somewhat of a self-nudge to execute on the idea. Ideally, we wake up thinking about what contributions we want to make and then confirm the results by recording them in our continuous contribution journal before we call it a night. (I know many of you do this virtually rather than on paper). I wonder what the exponential impact might be if we made a point of looking to add just one little “WOW” to that list? 

Our company has 10 stated values we call the “ATBs.” One of them is about constantly seeking ways to bring “WOW” to customers and each other. When we get together with new hires during what we call “Culture Day,” we talk about what it means to accomplish this. Sometimes the “WOW” stories are the “BIG WOW;” people literally doing something that is over the top, jaw dropping, remarkable. As an example, we had one of our team members put on a hazmat suit and enter a court room to help a customer get vital banking documentation signed. After a disasterous flood, we had busloads of our team members volunteer for days, digging peoples’ houses out the residual mud. The “BIG WOW” stories are plentiful and legendary in our company. We’re very proud of them and they help define the essence of who we are.

What we may not fully appreciate, however, is the additional power of becoming a culture defined by daily “little WOWS.” A movement of “little WOWs” would build upon the belief that everyone really matters and reinforce our commitment to really SEE each other. And it confirms the notion that people remember us most for how we make them feel. 

During Culture Day we play a video that demonstrates how one of our bankers practiced all of our 10 ATBs to make a couple of our customers’ lives much richer and happier. We see how our teammate’s actions had an unbelievable, life altering impact on these people. It almost always chokes me (and the rest of the audience) up when I watch it. After the video, 130 of the new hires decided to do a little “WOW” for that teammate, by sending her flowers at work that very day. Yes, delivering this little “WOW” involved a modest amount of money, but in most cases small “WOWs” can be free. It is usually an act of appreciation and acknowledgement. Think what might happen if we all did just one little “WOW” each day? It might cause a “WOW” revolution? 

Character Moves:

  1. Every day between now and the rest of the year, I’m going to look to add at least one intentional act of “WOW” to my daily contribution list. I just think it will be personally gratifying. I’ll just take that little extra step to really SEE someone and “WOW” them in a small way. 
  2. Would you care to join me? Why not start a little “WOW” revolution out there? How great would that be for all of us?

A little “WOW” in The Triangle,

Lorne

One Millennial View: I’d like to see how many people believe they work in companies that encourage “little WOWs,” let alone any real “WOWs” at all. It’s sad to think that too many “WOWs” out there just consist of, “wow!! I don’t loath my job!” But, now that we’re aware there are organizations that do care about their employees as well as cultures that “see” and “wow” workers, everyone can be inspired to contribute to that standard… And if it doesn’t exist where you work, maybe that little “wow revolution” can start with you.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis