Wednesday Q/A on Personal Leadership

Organizational culture Personal leadership


To our readers, 

Welcome to the first installment of a Lorne Rubis Q/A series. We’ve accumulated some popular leadership questions, and below are Lorne’s answers to them. We plan to release these every-other Wednesday. We’d like to encourage you to participate, see below on how to contribute! 

1. What are the most effective ways to help employees learn, understand and practice your organization’s culture and core values?

“Culture is way more about what people in the organization do than say. Watch how people are selected as a new hire, and how people are promoted. That will tell you the behavior a company really values. Also review the recognition and reward system. Who gets acknowledged for what? The executive team lives in a goldfish bowl. How they act and behave together will tell you a lot. Another thing to do is to ask about the legendary stories. As an example, the stories at Uber (throwing kegs of beer off of a hotel roof, etc.), said as much about their culture as other touted entrepreneurial values expressed by their founder. Check Glassdoor comments. Lift up the rocks and listen to actual stakeholders who have real insight into the company.”

2. How do you deal with a lousy boss?

“The key thing is to learn from that person so you know what NOT to do. I co-teach a leadership class and ask people to talk about bosses who have not brought out the best in them. What always surprises me is that the negative impact of a lousy boss lasts forever. People can literally end up in tears recounting the experience. Do NOT hang around a lousy boss too long. You deserve someone you can thrive with. Get out fast. Before you do though, take a hard look in the mirror and make sure you’ve been self-accountable regarding the relationship. Remember that wherever you go, you’ll be there. Some people have self-reported to have had only lousy bosses. Hmm? Really?”

3. What is the best way to seek out a mentor in your organization?

“Have the courage to reach out and ask for help and insight from people you admire. Think of mentors as a group of people you can learn from, and that they care enough about you to be loving critics. I think real world conversations on actual issues are far better than formal mentorship programs.”

4. Are there any fictional TV shows or movies that you’ve seen where you think true “leadership” is conducted the right way? How do shows like “Billions” get things right or wrong?

“I loved the leadership role Tom Hanks played in Saving Private Ryan. I actually took my top team to watch and debrief the character’s leadership behavior when the movie came out. The most recent Abraham Lincoln movie offered important leadership values, Gary Oldman is up for this year’s best actor in portraying Churchill. Meryl Streep has played numerous strong women leaders. It is also instructive to debrief flawed characters like DiCaprio’s character in Wolf of Wall Street. And Billions does a superb job (although perhaps somewhat overstated) of displaying the evils associated with unbridled power from the hedge fund and District Attorney’s viewpoint. Examining leadership attributes of characters in movies/TV is an enjoyable way to learn.”

5. We know you’re an avid reader. Is there one, or a shortlist of books that you find yourself re-reading or referring back to more than most?

“More than just the books, it’s the authors whom I’ve learned from: Brene Brown, Jim Collins, Tom Peters, Warren Bennis, Peter Senge, Dan Ariely, Dan Pink, Stephen Covey, Tony Robbins, Carol Dweck, Marshall Goldsmith; newer authors like Adam Grant, Tim Ferris, Tasha Eurich and many more.

Thanks and keep asking the questions!!”

– Lorne

We hope you enjoyed the first of Q/A session. We’d like to keep these coming, so if you have any questions, please submit them to, or DM us @CultureCastPod1 on Twitter. We look forward to many more, every other Wednesday.