From Code to Click

Accountability Growth mindset Transformation


Key Point: Why would almost 200,000 people spend thousands of dollars and invest a week of their lives to attend a SalesForce conference? I think it partly has to do with the totally accessible movement defined as “From Coding to Clicking,” and the truly millions of opportunities being created as a result.

We all will literally have the ability to create and co-create digital experiences and applications without writing any material software code. Using the amazing platforms built by public cloud based powerhouses like Google and SalesForce, most of us will be able to become data scientists and software “engineers.” IT and business is merging into a fully integrated partnership, and it’s rapidly happening at an individual level as well. When we get the ability to fully leverage these big system platforms, the investment starts to turn into how well you and I can use the full potential of these amazing foundations. Let me give you an example pertaining to SalesForce. To promote this technology mastery, there is a SalesForce certification for almost every role in any organization. When one applies certification competence, we become much more valuable to our companies, others and ourselves. We build more personal equity. I’m going to share a just a few examples of the hundreds of certifications offered by SalesForce through their learning and certification platform called Trailhead:

Administrator’s Certification: Confirms you have the skills and knowledge to customize, configure, and manage a SalesForce implementation.

Developers Certification: Platform Developer 11; gain skill and knowledge in advanced programmatic capabilities of the SalesForce platform to build custom applications on their platform.

Marketers Cloud Social Specialists Certification: Add skills in the social landscape and components of Social Studio; including post creation management, analysis of conversations and reporting.

Specialists Certification: (This would be for executives). Learn how to lead and optimize the full use of the SF platform. And Google has the same “mastery” mentality and learning opportunities.

While these platforms are essentially equal for all, building on top of them is totally unique, customizable and scalable in distinctly different ways for each participating organization. Hence, the more each of us know about harnessing them, the more advantage we and our organizations have.

You might ask, “so what?” Great legacy firms like Microsoft and Cisco have been genius at applying certification learning systems for years. The big difference I’m noticing is that in most cases those certifications were limited or focused on IT or engineering roles. In the case of Google’s Cloud Platform and SalesForce, EVERYONE and EVERY role ideally becomes “certified,” and a power user. Not on every aspect of the full platform, of course, but as the system applies to each individual role.

At SalesForce’s DreamForce 17 conference, which just concluded, 175,000 (that’s the announced attendance) followers descended on San Francisco for four days. It was mind blowing to see the movement and momentum. And when SalesForce CEO Marc Benioff had a fireside chat with Diane Greene, Alphabet board member and head of Google Cloud, their partnership vision sparked a “WOW.” Everything in the public cloud harnessing the world’s leading AI/machine learning, predictive data science and search, etc, all at warp speed as these two giant forces connect to drive exponentiality. Talk about 10X.

The leading companies in attendance at DF17 want their employees to obsessively focus on applying their purpose to customers by leveraging every bit of advantage these platforms and their robust eco-systems provide. In that context – speed, agility and adaptability becomes THE advantage. That’s why the notion of rapidly progressing from “code to click” has huge momentum. Whatever market your company is in; financial services, construction, food services, etc, can be great at providing customers indispensable value. If you want to build your own software platform and apps on your own infrastructure, well, good luck. I’m “shorting your stock.”

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Determine what you will become certified in to make yourself more of a digital expert. Even if your company doesn’t use Google or SalesForce, think about making yourself way more marketable by becoming certified on these or other leading platforms. In most cases, these certifications are online and free.
  2. Business leaders and all levels of employees must be futurists, humanitarians, innovators AND technologists. What will you put on your resume to demonstrate that you are progressing in the technology category? Every role requires it.


One Millennial View: Well, the homework didn’t end with your last earned degree. I’ve taken a few minutes to research what SalesForce has to offer in their Trialhead course department, and you can certainly access a wealth of information. While taking online coursework may seem daunting, you can’t really put “Watched Stranger Things Season 2” on your resume, so balancing your time by binging on a certification may be a great idea. You know, then go back to Stranger Things.>

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

More Experimentation and Play

Accountability Organizational culture Resilience


Key Point: As part of building resilient and adaptive cultures we need to make more room for experimentation and play. This seems contradictory to the way many of us have been raised at work. It just seemed like the other day that we were learning new organization principles mostly driven by understanding total quality and lean manufacturing systems. (30-year-old ideas, btw). And the lessons associated with running organizations with these principles in mind still do have a place. However, that way of thinking exclusively has to give way to much more experimentation and play. Companies have to be more like laboratories than factories.

Recently, I spoke at a conference focusing on navigating the future. I talked about the eight cultural ingredients that I use as a framework to build a more abundant and adaptive company. The two speakers that I shared the podium with however, presented insights that made me really think. The two factors emphasized: Experimentation and Play.

Dr. Steve Shepard has written numerous books on technology and cultural adaption. He travels the world and is a leader in helping developing communities embrace technology to advance their cultures and circumstances. His principles are based on providing conditions for “tribal” self accountability, respect and abundance. The villagers he works with learn and apply technology to what deeply matters to them, rather than what outsiders think best. Underlying those values are experimentation and play. When he and his team make tablet computers available (e.g a MIT labs product that costs less than $100 USD,) and connects them to the internet, the village kids seem to intuitively and fearlessly Experiment and Play, most often getting the technology up and running within a day. Yup… Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, the works. More importantly, they rapidly begin to experiment finding ways to make their village more prosperous; (for example, e-commerce for local artisans and much more). As Steve storytells beautifully: “These are also places where technology brings competitive advantage, but it also brings economic growth, transparent government, access to healthcare and education, and perhaps most important of all, hope.”

The other speaker was (Top 40 under 40) Shawn Kanungo, a Digital Innovation guru with Deloitte. He challenged me to think more about play and experimentation than purpose. Kanungo and team Deloitte were asked to help a large organization develop a strategy on how to build a culture of innovation and collaboration. Through ethnographic research, interviews, workshops and mining through data, they analyzed the organization through different lenses: “We discovered that – more than anything else – employees craved the freedom to play, to experiment and to learn. And, when it came down to human motivation, the most surprising fact was that ‘Play’ was MORE important than the organization’s ‘Purpose.’ In Lindsay McGregor & Neel Doshi’s awesome book, Primed to Perform, after surveying over 20,000 workers around the world, analyzing 50 major companies, conducting scores of experiments, and scouring the landscape of academic research in a range of disciplines, they concluded that ‘Play’ is the most powerful motivator – twice as potent as purpose and almost three times more than potential.”

I know enough about the importance of purpose to understand that paying attention to Experimentation and Play is more of an “AND” rather than “OR.” However, these innovators inspired me to learn much more about these concepts.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Let’s challenge ourselves to learn more about translating Experimentation and Play into the workforce. How do we define and apply these concepts? I know I certainly will investigate and even “Experiment and Play” in doing so.
  2. I do believe that “sameness” has a short shelf-life these days. “Old” ideas like “benchmarking” and “best practices” may set us up for failure. Constant Experimentation and Play may make us way more fluid, adaptive and transformative.

Experimentation and Play in Personal Leadership,


One Millennial View: Now that we have the ability to use free tools like YouTube to teach us how to do pretty much anything, we’re often in a state of “Experiment and Play” just learning or figuring out DIY projects. I believe Millennials appreciate as much autonomy as possible, and if we can “Experiment and Play” our way to achieve better results, we don’t need the lesson of “best practices” for anything more than just a starting guideline.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Wake Up: Inclusiveness is a MUST

Organizational culture Organizational leadership Respect


Key Point: We still have plenty of leaders that think of “inclusiveness” as “politically correct,” and mushy headed, phoney bologna. I recently participated in a panel discussion involving top execs and executive MBAs. The execs were primary C suite folks and (not surprisingly), mostly older white males.

On the panel, I firmly stated my belief that leaders could not afford to brush off the importance of intentional inclusiveness. In order to have adaptive cultures, we need massive cognitive diversity and psychologically safe, inclusive environments. At the dinner table after the panel discussion, a senior exec who listened to our panel discussion suggested that I was “patronizing” and that he “was very inclusive.” He emphasized though, competence trumped all other considerations and some pools (like engineering/technology) limited inclusive possibilities… Hmm… So, I checked out some research to help us explore the question of how objective and self-aware leaders stand on the matter of inclusivity.  

The consulting firm Zenger/Folkman (as published in the Harvard Business Review), analyzed one large organization with an excellent track record of hiring and promoting diverse candidates, with a reputation for inclusion. Zenger administered 360-degree feedback assessments for roughly 4,000 leaders, and the company agreed to let them use that data for this analysis. A summary of the findings as noted in the HBR article:

“1. Leaders are not good judges of their own effectiveness on valuing diversity; and those leaders who are poorest fail to see the problem, while those who are the best don’t realize their skill and effectiveness…

2. Leaders who were rated very poorly on valuing diversity and inclusion were rated in only the 15th percentile for their overall leadership effectiveness, while those who were rated in the top 10 percent of those two items were rated in the 79th percentile…

Valuing diversity is an attitude and mindset. Practicing inclusion involves a set of behaviors that can be developed in leaders. Our research has shown that self-perceptions in this arena are not highly accurate. While it could be argued that individual leaders may best know what’s in their hearts, others are in a far better position to objectively evaluate whether and how they practice inclusion in their day-to-day work.”

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Put the tired, old-school arguments about diversity and inclusion negatively competing with competence to rest for good. Value identity and cognitive diversity as a necessary investment in cultural adaptability and innovation.
  2. Do not accept the B.S. that leaders can accurately self-assess how much they really value diversity/inclusion. Others need to help us see our blind spots on this topic.
  3. Intentionally work on understanding what it means to be inclusive. Invest in very credible assessment tools to really find out where you stand on the diversity/inclusion continuum.

Inclusively Competent in Personal Leadership,


One Millennial View: As a Millennial, there has always been a huge amount of inclusiveness and diversity in the places I’ve worked. I’m thrilled to say that from my experience, our main concern and priority was getting the job done, and all anyone cared about was performance quality. So, perhaps that’s a good indication we’re already moving forward.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis