July Lessons Part Two: Once Upon a Time



Over the month of July, I will share lessons learned from my ATB journey, post my retirement announcement effective Aug. 1. The accomplishments and extraordinary results at ATB over six plus years belong to many. However, the learnings I will share are exclusively mine. I hope you will find them thought provoking, and perhaps even instructive.

Story: Two blogs ago, I recounted the story when as a new Chief People Officer, at one of my my first Human Resource Committee meetings, a Board member became exasperated when he read an aspirational story I had placed in the Board “package.” He hadn’t realized it was intentionally visionary, and I noted how fortunate I was that other directors came to my rescue to explain its intent. Please read that very same story in the screenshots below. I am gratified to report that this story has become mostly true, and even more so. This blog is intended to reinforce the power of setting intentions rather than to be bragging. And frankly, any recognition for making this tale more fact than fiction belongs to a great leadership team, and more than 5,000 people who are the characters and heroes. I simply had the privilege to paint the picture and invite everyone along for the ride.

Key Point: Thinking BIG, starting small, and acting now is everything when it comes to execution. I believe you need to set the intention of where you want to go with more than a few phrases. The “painting” needs texture, and enough definition to allow people to see/feel what the design looks like at key milestones along the way. As you read the story below, you will note that I hoped our pipeline of people wanting to join our company would be about 10k per year. We currently get about 50k of solicited and unsolicited applications. I was hoping we might be in the top 10 companies to work for. In 2017, we were chosen by the Great Place to Work/Globe and Mail as the No. 2 place to work in Canada. Our Glass Door (not really on the radar back in 2012), has been a consistent 4.4 out of 5, and our engagement scores (from 69 percent in 2012, to 92 percent in 2018) puts us in the top five percent of all companies using that metric. Club 228 became known as Club Catalyst, with 900 members, up from 500. The idea of working where you needed to to get the best results became a complete reality. (Workplace 2.0). Rapid opportunities for different experiences became what we called experiential bursts. Our dream statement or purpose became our now, quite famous, 94 word ATB Story. And I can go on and on how we exceeded this entire aspirational statement overall.

Yet, I missed on some things too. Although I was successful in getting the idea of personal equity imbedded as a principle, the Equity Story Book idea failed miserably. I just couldn’t get the project over the goal line, although our recognition system has become partly that concept. I also could not get the sabbatical notion off the ground. On the other hand, I kicked off something called My Time (a self-accountable sick leave/vacation system) which I believed was a better and broader system. Still, I couldn’t get that implemented either. I think that was a leadership failure on my part.

Overall, my teammates took the aspirational statement below and made it much better. Illustrating the future picture with enough texture and sensual context helped start a culture  movement. And wow, did Team ATB accelerate that movement into a culture that is just beginning to differentiate us. The best is in front for the new leadership to move forward.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Please read the aspirational story written in 2012 below, and see what you think
  2. Try writing your own aspirational story.
  3. As always,Think BIG, start small, AND act now. Make it happen. Engage the community, and it will become better than you might imagine. Just execute, iterate, pivot, execute again and repeat.

Aspirational in Personal Leadership,

– Lorne

Story Here: 

One Millennial View: If that isn’t great inspiration for aspiration, I don’t know what is. As I mentioned a couple blogs ago, I don’t think most Millennials even contemplate sitting down and writing their aspirational story… But why not? Heck, if you’re brave enough, make a YouTube video of it and broadcast it for the world to see. You never know if the right eyes might see it. What have you got to lose? 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis