Why Are We Experiencing a Crisis of Misunderstanding?

Abundance Accountability Respect


The problem and opportunity: We seem to be experiencing a crisis of misunderstanding in too many workplaces and society overall. Today, it is too convenient and comfortable to stay in one’s “bunker,” looking at the world exclusively through our own perspective. Wonderful internet based tools like FaceTime, or other live streaming apps are helpful, yet we are limited by the chair we’re perched on. We see what the camera angle allows us to see. Our body and mind works as such a powerful observation machine, the more sensual context the better. If not, we can spend a lot of time communicating with a blow horn, hoping the other “gets it.” Sometimes the screen is just not enough of a connection.

Story: This past week I went to a board orientation where I visited people working in the “field,” and the control center where the network brains of the operation blink and flash. I listened in on a customer service call and I could not have fully appreciated this customer’s positive surprise unless I actually heard his voice exclaim, “you mean you can fix it today? Wow, that’s great!” I also attended Singularity Summit Canada, where 1,000 plus people gathered and then went over to our office where people watched the same event via live stream. The fact that people around the world can virtually participate is pretty cool, yet each experience is obviously quite different. We can’t (so far) transport 1,000 people’s collective energy, and that leaves a presence gap. This weekend I also read a wonderful journalist’s story about his learning adventure to really understand what the average American was feeling about the state of the country. He visited and talked to people in bars and other watering holes through the middle of the country. Having a beer and crawfish with a stranger miles from home builds a bridge that one can’t get from reading the New Yorker, and sipping a macchiato on high street. These collective experiences reinforced my need for more intentional personal grounding. Maybe you need a little more too?

What we can do about it:

  1. Whenever possible, we need to get out of our chairs and do what the Japanese refer to as going to Genba (現場, also known as Gemba), a term meaning “the actual place.” The idea is that to really understand someone’s situation, going to Gemba (where they actually are) and using all of one’s senses to observe and listen is usually an eye opening journey.
  2. Whenever we want to better understand each other, we need to see and visit each other’s “actual.” Invest in being WITH the other, whenever possible. Do not limit yourself to statistics, data, and other facts. Go to Gemba. Look and FEEL from the other’s perspective. It is a vital part of learning and understanding, not just about the other, but ourselves as well. Decide to do that with someone you are trying to better understand this week! Don’t put it off.

Think BIG. Start Small. Act Now!


One Millennial View: You might be thinking, “well where am I going to find the time or resources to attempt to access any sort of Gemba?” Which I think is a fair question. I suppose the idea is that we don’t need to sleep outside in the streets to visualize the perspective of a homeless person, but at least the idea of THINKING about another person’s point of view is more valuable than staying in our own bubbles.

– Garrett

Blog 982

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Lead In With Lorne – Strive to Get Uncomfortable This Week

Personal leadership Podcast


What will you do to make yourself a little uncomfortable this week? In this episode, I tell a story of when a woman took herself out of her comfort zone and challenged herself to make a presentation – and did great! What can you do to take yourself out of your comfort zone this week? And if you’re a leader, how can you nudge your team members to take steps out of their comfort zones? It could be as small as taking another route to work, or trying out a new ethnic food you haven’t tasted yet.

Enjoy it on the YouTube video embedded below, or audio listeners can hear it on SoundCloud now too (iTunes coming in the near future). We hope it enriches your Monday!

Kindly subscribe to the YouTube channel and SoundCloud to make sure you start your week with a leadership story.

Lorne Rubis is available @LorneRubis on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Hot Topic Friday: April 26

Friday Newsletter Personal leadership



Happy Friday! Here are my April 26 Hot Topics relating to advancing leadership and culture.

Hot Topic 1: Transformations in Organizations Will Only Succeed if You Answer This Question.

Source: McKinsey & Company, Stephen Hall.

What it’s About: Renowned consultant organization, McKinsey & Company, published an instructive article regarding what serious, successful organizations do to drive meaningful, sustainable transformations; with a capital T!

Why it’s Important: The one important insight in the article I want to emphasize is the “why?” If the CEO and rest of the leadership team do not have a compelling, inspirational reason for the “why” behind a transformation initiative, then I’d suggest not wasting time and money by announcing one. There has to be a personal, emotional connection to the “why.” Start there, then ask incredible, mind-bending questions regarding a possible future. Think Big, Start Small, Act Now.

Hot Topic 2: How Challenging Your Perspective Can Increase Your IQ

Source: Rachel Kushner, The New York Times Magazine.

What it’s About: Ruth Wilson Gilmore, renowned scholar and prison abolitionist, makes her argument for why prisons should be abolished. While making me uncomfortable, she makes a thought-provoking case.  

Why it’s Important: Google has a view that a shift in perspective measurably increases IQ. They have built a high performance, innovative culture based on collective mindsets that start with questions like: “How might we?” “Have you considered?” Exponential leaders need to be better at asking and challenging people to think in both innovative and disruptive ways. This includes inviting people to reconsider their traditional assumptions. For example: “What if we could eliminate the need for prisons?” Regardless of whether we agree or disagree with Gilmore, it’s a mindset exercise to help us practice confronting our perspectives.

My Weekly Wine Recommendation (Thanks to Vivino):

Quilt Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2016 

Picture and ratings provided by Vivino.

And finally! Here’s Cecil’s Bleat of the Week!

What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.” – Tim Ferriss

Bye for now!

– Lorne Rubis

Incase you missed it:

Monday’s Lead In podcast.

Tuesday’s blog.

Wednesday’s Culture Cast podcast.

Also don’t forget to subscribe to our site, and follow Lorne Rubis on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for the latest from our podcasts, blogs, and all things offered on LorneRubis.com.

Culture Cast – What to Do When Your Personal Life Impacts Your Professional Life

Personal leadership Podcast



In season 3, episode 12, Lorne and Lynette discuss how our personal and professional lives are blending together more and more. Life happens and sometimes it’ll have an impact on our responsibilities at work. Here are steps that leaders, organizations and team members can take to support co-workers and help them navigate when life events happen.

All that and more in this episode of Culture Cast.

Please feel free to subscribe to this YouTube channel, follow this podcast on Soundcloud, as well as iTunes, and Lorne and Lynette’s social media platforms for all the latest Culture Cast uploads and announcements.

Lorne Rubis is available @LorneRubis on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Lynette Turner is available on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn as well as through her site, LynetteTurner.com.

We look forward to sharing Season 3 of Culture Cast: Conversations on Culture and Leadership with you every Wednesday.

How Much Work is Too Much Work?  

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect


Problem: How much is too much work? What does work balance really mean? I was struck by what Jack Ma, the billionaire CEO behind Alibaba, had to say to Chinese workers about the merits of working 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week (996). He essentially told them it was their good fortune and that they should be grateful. That has sparked quite a conversation because Alibaba’s work culture is considered by some outside observers as lousy, perhaps even abusive.

Story: Almost simultaneously, the following video by Mark Berg, a frustrated, millennial, Minnesota family dairy farmer, went viral on Facebook. It’s almost six minutes long, and very much worth a watch. Mark tearfully expresses how his parents have less now than when they started farming 40 years ago. The only reason their dairy farm hasn’t gone under is because the life savings of this frugal family have supplemented their mounting farm debt. The irony is that a dairy farmer’s work life is 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. This makes Alibaba workers look like slackers. When Mark’s mom, now in her 60’s, recently talked to the CEO of a milk producer about the Berg’s financial struggles, the suggestion was that perhaps Mrs. Berg get a part-time job to help makes ends meet. Hmm. There is something very wrong with this picture.

What We Can Do About It:

  1. We may need to open ourselves to other business and economic models that offer more equal wealth distribution. 
  2. I’d encourage you to read the following article by Nobel laureate  in economics, Joseph E. Stiglitz
  3. The saving grace in Berg’s situation is that they “love their frickin cows.” Having a deep purpose helps soften the relentless work. However, deep purpose alone will not overcome the dysfunction of fear related to not having enough to look after our basic human needs. Sharing more of the wealth will make us all richer. 

Think Big, Start Small, Act Now.

– Lorne

One Millennial View: What a complicated issue. It’s tough to see such hard working people not seeing an ROI, despite their enormous efforts. I wonder if viral videos like the one above will raise awareness to bring some more profit to local farmers.

– Garrett

Blog 981

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Lead In With Lorne – What Would You Like Your Title to be at Work?

Personal leadership Podcast


If you had your choice, what would you like your title at work to be? It’s short and sweet, in this episode, Lorne discusses how companies like Marvel give employees titles like “Head of Boom.” How cool is that? What if your organization did something similar?

Enjoy it on the YouTube video embedded below, or audio listeners can hear it on SoundCloud now too (iTunes coming in the near future). We hope it enriches your Monday!

Kindly subscribe to the YouTube channel and SoundCloud to make sure you start your week with a leadership story.

Lorne Rubis is available @LorneRubis on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.