A Bump in the Culture Road 

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This is another blog in the series on culture transformation following my experience as Chief Culture and Transformation Officer at NorQuest. As promised it will be real and transparent including the good, bad and ugly (without sharing material confidential to the college). 

The Challenge: One reason the culture transformation at my last organization was regarded as successful had a lot to do with the capability, commitment and support of the CEO. He was remarkable. The same principle held true in my deciding whether to contribute at the college. The President, Dr. Jodi Abbott, has proven to be an innovative and action oriented leader. With her vision and support, the chances for culture advancement increase materially. This past week Jodi resigned to take another opportunity. Uh oh! (At a personal level, I fully applaud her decision btw). Congratulations to Jodi! At the same time this is a “speed bump” regarding one big assumption in the transformation plan. 

What Am I Going to Do About It?: Jodi is not leaving until January, and the Board of Directors has fully endorsed our strategy. The current culture plan based on following up to the intensive investigative listening campaign undertaken by the Culture Champions remains foundational. Regardless of who the next President is, taking action on what we’ve heard from the college community is important. Furthermore, applying the 10 elements as a framework is solid and we will continue to apply a unique recipe at NorQuest. In the spirit of openness, where we have to give much more thought to is the depth and speed of the purpose and value work underway. The President needs to be the number one model and purveyor of both. So stay tuned regarding what we’ll do and learn about navigating this situation. This a good reminder that every transformation journey will have curves and swerves. Key people come and go. Strategic environments can change overnight. It could be a public policy directive or a merger/acquisition, etc. And that is the interesting, yet messy aspect of applying culture intentionality. At the same time, the primary purpose of focusing on culture, is to improve an organization’s ability to be highly adaptive in the best possible way. This is an opportunity to demonstrate our resilience. I will keep you posted.

Think Big, Start Small, Act Now. 


One Millennial View: This will be a great journey to follow. While the challenges are new and unexpected, the shake up is an interesting surprise that will make for more compelling chapters to this story. I look forward to hear how it’s navigated as the new President is introduced. 

– Garrett 

Blog 999

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Lead In With Lorne – The System I Use to Read As Much as I Can

Personal leadership Podcast



Welcome to another Lead In With Lorne. This week we’re discussing how to manage your reading lists, because great leaders are readers. I have a specific system that I follow which helps me manage my reading intake. 

1. Find recommendations on the topics you’re interested in from LinkedIn, or peers. 

2. Balance reading them by downloading them on iPads, Kindle and listening on the Audible app. 

3. If you want a short summary, use Blinkist, it’s awesome. 

4. Listen to Audible books at 2x speed to consume more in a shorter period of time. 

5. Use something like Flipboard to consume and customize magazine articles. 

Enjoy it on the YouTube video embedded below, or audio listeners can hear it on SoundCloud now too. 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: Sept. 6

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Happy Friday! Here are my Sept. 6 Hot Topics and how they relate to advancing culture or leadership.

Hot Topic 1: Learning From Our Younger Self, ‘Put That Sucker on Spin.’

Source: Big Think.

What It’s About: A new study on what is often the subject of great dinner conversations among compatriots is out for consideration. The research engaged several hundred volunteers on the topic, all of whom were over the age of 30. Much like other studies, people addressed the following subjects. Money (save more money, younger me)! Relationships (don’t marry that money grabber! Find a nice person to settle down with). Education (finish school. Don’t study business because people tell you to, you’ll hate it). A sense of self (do what you want to do. Never mind what others think). Life goals (never give up. Set goals. Travel more). However a few more interesting and deeper nuggets emerged including: “Money is a social trap.” “What you do twice becomes a habit; be careful of what habits you form.” “Never base any decisions on fear.” 

Why It’s Important: The researchers write: “The results of the current studies suggest that, rather than just writing to Dear Abby, we should consult ourselves for advice we would offer to our younger selves. The data indicates that there is much to be learned that can facilitate well-being and bring us more in line with the person that we would like to be should we follow that advice.” We benefit greatly when we simply allow ourselves to THINK and SELF REFLECT. If not, years goes by and we’re still at “could have” or “should have.” The sad outcome I’m hearing in many boomers today is too much regret not for what they did, but for what they didn’t do. This includes and is certainly not limited to only doing work you enjoy doing in places that you appreciate being a part of. Share this nudge with someone you love (remembering yourself first). Help them know it will, as country singer Miranda Lambert wonderfully states in her new song, “It all comes out in the wash. Put that sucker on spin.”  

Hot Topic 2: Let’s All be Joyologists. 

Source: Elemental

What It’s About: Norman Cousins became famous for inspiring the phrase “laughter is the best medicine.” Cousins was chronically ill, and claimed that 10 minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect that would give him at least two hours of pain-free sleep. His article in a 1976 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine raised many eyebrows in the scientific community. Since then, there have been many more studies on the subject and research has linked laughter to many positive outcomes, including stronger immune systems, improved depression symptoms, and reduced pain in people with cancer. Researchers speculate that laughter works in part by relaxing muscles, enhancing circulation, and releasing endorphins in the brain. Laughter also helps people build relationships. People often state they value a sense of humor most in friends and partners. 

Why It’s Important: I have not been explicit in highlighting the importance of laughter in an organization’s culture. However, I’m seriously thinking about being more intentional. Too often I wander the floors of workplaces and I hear nothing, just “plugged in” folks clicking away on their devices. Then they get up and go somewhere so they can get screen time on their personal mobile devices. I do know that texting is filled with humor among friends. However, hearing people laughing together says so much about an organization’s culture. What if at minimum, every meeting included easy, sincere laughter from a story or good natured kidding? How great would that be? Perhaps we’d become practiced Joylogists? We should hear laughter all the time in the workplace. 

Y’all good? 

My Weekly Wine Recommendation (Thanks to Tightrope):

[This is our family’s wine! The Rubis estate Pinot Noir will be ready for shipping by Christmas, 2019.  Feel free to try it out here.]

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

“Building a new sort of empathy takes effort and sacrifice, for people who might not repay it… We each have a choice, and the sum of our choices will create the future. What are you going to do?”Jamil Zaki

Bye for now!

– Lorne Rubis

Incase you Missed It:

My latest Lead In podcast.  

My latest blog.

Season 3 of Culture Cast

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.

All Together… Lets UN%$CK Work! 

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect



The Challenge: 2020 is on the horizon and way too many workplaces are still screwed up. Hence my passion and commitment to help create great workplaces and cultures. Essentially we need to unf#%k work. As a public figure, I suppose I should be more dignified in describing it. However if it helps get the point across, so be it. The following is an excerpt from an excellent book: Brave New Work by Aaron Dignan. Do any of the 12 points below ring a bell? 

1. “Insist on doing everything through ‘channels.’ Never permit shortcuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.
2. Make ‘speeches.’ Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your ‘points’ by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences.
3. When possible, refer all matters to committees for ‘further study and consideration.’ Attempt to make the committees as large as possible—never less than five.
4. Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.
5. Haggle over the precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.
6. Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to reopen the question of the advisability of that decision.
7. Advocate ‘caution.’ Be ‘reasonable’ and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.
8. Be worried about the propriety of any decision—raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.
9. When training new workers, give incomplete or misleading instructions.
10. Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.
11. Multiply the procedures and clearances involved in issuing instructions, paychecks, and so on. See that three people have to approve everything where one would do.
12. Apply all regulations to the last letter.”

What we can do about it? I have huge confidence that my 10 Elements for Building Extraordinary Cultures is a framework that when applied, works to smash the aspects of work that crush our souls. However, as a foundation we also collectively need to declare that we’ve had enough of the 12 stinkies Dignan outlined above. We don’t need a culture strategist (although people like me can be helpful catalysts). Let’s all just start confronting the stupid aspects found in our work, and continue taking small steps to remedy. As an example, this very week, kill one dumb zombie meeting that sucks the life out of you. If it’s your meeting, stop it. If your supposed to attend, just don’t go and explain why. Keep going up and down the 12 things noted above. Don’t stop. You’re worth it!

Y’all good? 

– Lorne 

One Millennial View: Pretty simple, but so true. It seems many of these issues stem from cultures abiding by fictional red tape. There seems to be a lot of trepidation to rewrite blueprints that everyone knows could use improvement. Why? What’s the hold up? “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” applies to plenty of things, but not zombie meetings. 

– Garrett 

Blog 998 

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Lead in With Lorne – How to Go Above and Beyond to Host Your Teammates

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect


Welcome to another Lead In With Lorne. This week we’re discussing the “what if?” if we went the extra mile to make our teammates feel welcome in the workplace. Think about this new perspective on how we can boost company culture by small things that might mean the world to the people we work near every day. 

Enjoy it on the YouTube video embedded below, or audio listeners can hear it on SoundCloud now too. 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.