Hot Topic Friday: June 14

Friday Newsletter Personal leadership



Happy Friday! Here are my June 14 Hot Topics and how they relate to advancing leadership or culture.

Hot Topic 1: When You Make a Big Mistake is Your Career Screwed?

Source: The New York Times.

What It’s About? This superb article explores what happens when we screw up at work (and we all will). We usually make a bigger deal out of it than it is. and the author offers the following practical guidance: “The first step to correcting a monumental blunder is to be honest and critical with yourself and to acknowledge that it was indeed a mistake. The second step is even more crucial: Accept that it was a mistake, but don’t allow it to define you or your self-worth” Then move forward by embracing what’s in the way, is the way.

Why It’s Important: Both individuals and organizations can progress by recognizing and accepting the wonderful authenticity of human failure. We all make mistakes, and very rarely (if you look at the statistics), are they the end or derailment of a career. In my 40 plus years of experience, I honestly cannot recall when a mistake unilaterally ruined a career unless an illegal or egregious, immoral act was involved. Most times, good intention underscores a mistake. To create highly innovative, adaptive organizations, management’s constructive approach to dealing with blunders is important. However, we as individuals also would benefit from a growth and non-judgmental mindset. What if after all mistakes we just became fiercely accountable and curious to learn fast?

Hot Topic 2: Is Empathy Truly Valued or Mushy Silicon Valley Crap?

Source: Harvard Business Review.

What It’s About: Based on recent research, only 20 percent of U.S. employers offered empathy training for managers. Yet, in a survey of 150 CEOs, over 80 percent recognized empathy as key to success. Why the gap? Jamil Zaki, a professor of psychology at Stanford University and author of The War For Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World, notes that empathetic workplaces tend to enjoy stronger collaboration, less stress, greater morale, and their employees will bounce back more quickly from difficult moments such as layoffs. Still, despite their efforts, many leaders struggle to actually make caring part of their organizational culture. In fact, there’s often a rift between the culture executives say they want and the one they actually have.

Why It’s Important: Compassion and empathy are such important values to espouse at the top and practiced by all. As Zaki describes in his book, people conform not just to others’ bad behaviors, but also adhere to kind and productive norms. His research also demonstrates that empathy is contagious: People “catch” each others’ care and altruism. To build empathic cultures, leaders can begin by identifying connectors, and recruiting them for help champion the cause. In this case, listen to those top CEOs. We can not assume people know how to be compassionate and empathetic based on their ability to define it. Teach it. Practice it.

My Weekly Wine Recommendation (Thanks to Vivino):

Bonanza Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 1 California N.V. 

[Picture and ratings provided by Vivino.]

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

Design. Story. Symphony. Empathy. Play. Meaning. These six senses increasingly will guide our lives and shape our world.” – Dan Pink

Bye for now!

– Lorne Rubis

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