Hot Topic Friday: July 26

Abundance Accountability Friday Newsletter Personal leadership Respect

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Happy Friday! Here are my July 26 Hot Topics and how they relate to advancing leadership or culture.

Hot Topic 1: The Fight Against Evil Companies

Source: The New York Times.

What It’s About: “It took me a while to realize how evil this company was.” That’s a quote by Ed Bisch, who lost his 18-year-old son, Eddie, to an OxyContin overdose in 2001. Bisch was an early crusader against the dangers of Oxy. Years later, the world now knows just how dangerous this drug and other opioids is. Purdue Pharma, the company that made OxyContin, is in legal and financial jeopardy . (Although most observers believe the owners, the Sackler family, and company will never adequately pay for the harm they’ve caused). 

Why It’s Important: Until 2018, Google had a motto that a lot of people appreciated: “Don’t be evil.” Dropping it has been controversial. The fact is that sometimes, when market power prevails and the money gets so big, greed and avarice can take over. That’s why Boards of Directors and executive leadership must invest in a strong culture, where both purpose (that betters humankind) AND profit, (that sustains and reasonably rewards stakeholders) are equal partners. I’ve never had a serious conversation with anyone who wants to sell their soul to work for a company whose products intentionally hurt people, regardless of how big the paycheck. 

Hot Topic 2: Closing the Joy Gap at Work

Source: Harvard Business Review

What It’s About: Prominent consulting firm AT Kearney conducted a major survey relative to the concept of joy at work. Why? With all the massive upheaval driven by exponential change, being able to create conditions for joy is strategically meaningful. Still, their findings “point to a pronounced ‘joy gap’ at work. Nearly 90% of respondents said that they expect to experience a substantial degree of joy at work, yet only 37% report that such is their actual experience.”

Why It’s Important: This is another argument for intentional culture development. The survey suggests the importance of three big JOY drivers: Harmony, Impact and Acknowledgement. This makes a lot of sense and connects to a number of my 10 Key Elements. Creating conditions for JOY to erupt is worth investing in. What are you doing about it? 

My Weekly Wine Recommendation (Thanks to Vivino):

Kent Price Venant du Coeur Napa Valley 2012

[Picture and ratings provided by Vivino.]

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

“The best way to win at a game of chance is to remove chance from the equation.”Daniel Silva

Bye for now!

– Lorne Rubis

Incase you Missed It:

Monday’s Lead In podcast.

Tuesday’s 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.

Hot Topic Friday: July 19

Friday Newsletter Personal leadership

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Happy Friday! Here are my July 19 Hot Topics and how they relate to advancing leadership or culture.

Hot Topic 1: Is Your Organization Adaptive or Maladaptive?

Source: Psychology Today. 

What It’s About: This article notes: “Healthy or ‘good’ adaptation might be exemplified by the person who appropriately adjusts his or her behavior to the requirements and expectations of a new supervisor in the workplace, or by the person who becomes physically disabled and develops new ways of coping and compensating for the loss of a completely healthy body.”  This idea can be connected to organizations as well. Healthy adaptation involves finding a way to move the organization forward. Difficulties arise when efforts to adapt serve to intensify a problem rather than to ease or resolve it. This may lead to what is known as maladapting. Organizations do this too. Grit, resilience and other well-intended values sometimes underscore very unhealthy behavior. 

Why It’s Important: Leaders want people to adapt. However, embracing new behavior and skills is fundamentally different than simply coping. Putting up with something is very different from truly adjusting and reskilling or upskilling. As the article concludes: “Rather than maladapting by adjusting, tolerating, or enduring unacceptable circumstances or conditions, healthy adapting is sometimes best achieved by changing something.” Make adaptation a healthy, forward process rather than a coping mechanism. 

Hot Topic 2: Boeing’s Dangerous Culture Challenge. 

Source: The New York Times

What It’s About: I appreciate Boeing builds complex aircraft. And we should all be grateful for what they’ve done to make the world more accessible to those of us that ride their product. Still, something is fundamentally wrong with their culture and leadership. For example, Boeing’s first public statements after the crash of the Indonesian 737 Max 8, supported by the F.A.A., questioned the abilities of the pilots, even though subsequent reporting has shown that pilots were not given the information they needed to properly react to the aircraft’s unexpected descents. Only after the crash of the second Max 8 in Ethiopia, did Boeing acknowledge that software in the planes’ cockpits played a major role in both accidents. This article points out that Boeing has repeated this pattern of deflection and avoidance. Have they really learned how to constructively manage situations like this based on self-accountability. Do they really care about the tragic impact to people everywhere? Or do their lawyers, risk managers, and spin doctors lead the way with the primary objective of protecting Boeing at the expense of the greater good? 

Why It’s Important: It is unreasonable to expect perfection in machines, people and process. And in highly complex machines like aircraft, the reality is that there are so many parts, we should expect reasonable (not perfect) outcomes. Ideally of course, defects are not fatal. What we should be able to expect 100 percent of the time is transparency, honesty and integrity from Boeing’s leadership. Do not spin to minimize exposure. You owe it to your customers, employees and shareholders to be brutally honest and commit to learning fast. The first response should be what you’re doing about resolving the situation rather than blaming others. Beyond the loss of precious life, Boeing’s performance on this matter has squandered hundreds of millions of dollars in shareholder value. What worries me even more is that some group of experts knew about the flaws and found it too difficult to speak up or be heard! Why is that? What about the Boeing culture prevents fatal flaws getting addressed up stream? Something is missing. It starts at the top. 

My Weekly Wine Recommendation (Thanks to Vivino):

Verdon Estate Reserve No. 3 Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford 2014. 

[Picture and ratings provided by Vivino.]

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

“You are not alone. Just because you feel like s*it, doesn’t mean you are s*it.”Jerry Colonna

Bye for now!

– Lorne Rubis

Incase you Missed It:

Monday’s Lead In podcast.

Tuesday’s 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.

Hot Topics Friday: July 12

Friday Newsletter Personal leadership

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Happy Friday! Here are my July 12 Hot Topics and how they relate to advancing leadership or culture.

Hot Topic 1: They Will Leave by the Door or Window.

Source: The New York Times

What It’s About: The title above is an unfortunate statement made by France Télécom’s CEO a decade ago. This is a grim and extreme example of a company not adapting to rapidly shifting market forces, and the horrifying impact of management and culture floundering in a state of desperation. France Télécom was caught off guard by the digital revolution, and by 2005, it was over $50 million in debt. Company executives believed they needed to get rid of 22,000 out of 130,000 workers to ensure survival. The country’s law is highly restrictive relative to layoffs. Since many Télécom workers were state employees, they had lifelong job security.

For those employees the company could not fire, the executives alledgely resolved to make life so unbearable, that the workers would be forced to leave. According to the article, at least 35 employees — workers’ advocates say nearly double that number — committed suicide, feeling trapped, betrayed and fearful of ever finding new work in France’s immobile labor market.” Seven members of top the executive team during that time period, starting with the CEO, are currently on trial for “moral harassment.” (Frankly, if allegations noted in this article are true, the actions taken are so despicable the execs should go to jail). 

Why It’s Important: This happened a little more than 10 years ago. Market disruption is way more fierce and violent now, and about to become even more turbulent. It is likely that organizations, as nimble as they might be, will get caught flat-footed by a game changer. This may take the form of AI, machine learning, a whole new business model, or a myriad of combinations relative to exponential technology. Although most jurisdictions are not saddled with French employment law, and unions are now far less influential, social media can spin up outrage overnight. Boards and management must be thinking and planning for big workforce changes now, rather than finding themselves sitting in a puddle of desperation. The term “moral harassment” may evolve to cover irresponsible leadership relative to ensuring an adaptive culture! 

Hot Topic 2: Can You Inspire an Audience? 

Source: Forbes

What It’s About: Carmine Gallo is a genius on the topic of story telling. His book, “The Story Teller’s Secret” was a compulsory read for my last executive team. In this article, Gallo refers to “Vital Speeches of the Day,” an organization that distributes awards for the best speech writers and speakers who inspire their audiences. The committee of professional speechwriters who judge the submissions keep the following question top of mind: Could the speech have been delivered by any other speaker, to any other audience, at any other time in history? If the answer is “no,” then it has the makings of a fine speech. 

Why It’s Important: People want authentic personal connection more than ever. And whenever we are talking to people, whether as a speaker or in a meeting, our ability to tell a story and inspire differentiates us by the added value we give. I wish I would have understood this earlier in my career. It is a practiced art. One does not have to be the CEO or even a supervisor to be a storyteller. We all can be inspiring if we give real thought to our message. Don’t waste the opportunity! 

My Weekly Wine Recommendation (Thanks to Vivino):

Triseatum Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2016

[Picture and ratings provided by Vivino.]

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

“Managers light a fire under people. Leaders light a fire in people.” – Kathy Austin. 

Bye for now!

– Lorne Rubis

Incase you Missed It:

Monday’s Lead In podcast.

Tuesday’s 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.

Hot Topic Friday: June 28

Friday Newsletter Personal leadership

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Happy Friday! Here are my June 28 Hot Topics and how they relate to advancing leadership or culture.

Hot Topic 1: The World’s Most Comfortable Shoes.

Source: The Wharton School. 

What It’s About: Purpose driven organizations like the shoe company Allbirds can be socially conscious AND financially successful. Allbirds was founded to sell high-quality and stylish shoes, AND reinvent the footwear business model by reducing its carbon impact at scale. Since their launch in March 2016, Allbirds has been named “the world’s most comfortable shoe” by Time, and sold more than one million pairs. Co-founder Joey Zwillinger wants to shine a light on other purpose-driven founders. This March, in collaboration with Wharton Business Radio, he launched Purpose Built, a monthly radio show and podcast to meet the people behind some of the most successful and socially-conscious brands.

Why It’s Important: It is becoming imperative for leading organizations to go well beyond creating shareholder value. People want to work for a company they are proud to be part of. As Zwillinger states: “It’s table stakes now that if you’re starting a business that there should be a purpose to it — that is better for society. I thought it would be interesting to get a lot of examples and to talk to entrepreneurs and business leaders who have taken that approach and are on the path to being successful.” Part of the movement to consciously creating great cultures will be establishing or reconstituting purpose-driven institutions that advance us as humans. Leaders like the founders of Allbirds are paving the way! Go Joey. P.S. I have two pairs of Allbirds and they are my most comfortable shoes! 

Hot Topic 2: Coach Yourself First, Dummy! 

Source: Ed Batista. 

What It’s About: The Art of Self-Coaching is a course that Professor Ed Batista designed and teaches at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He launched it in 2015. He defines self-coaching as the process of guiding our own growth and development, particularly through periods of transition. The entire syllabus of the course including readings and slide presentations are included here. (They are full of insight and wisdom).

Why It’s Important: I’m a fan of people getting career coaches etc., however the people who are most valued in organizations are those that are self-taught, self-developed learners. They know how to coach themselves and have a well developed framework for super fast learning and unlearning. How can you really coach others if you are not fully capable of coaching yourself first? Consider taking or auditing the course. 

My Weekly Wine Recommendation (Thanks to Vivino):

Luce Della Vite Toscana IGT 2015.

[Picture and ratings provided by Vivino.]

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

“Doing nothing requires effort. Over time, that effort is greater than the effort necessary to improve, or move somewhere better. The trick is to redirect energy.”Dr. Max McKeown

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.

Hot Topic Friday: June 14

Friday Newsletter Personal leadership

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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

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.

Hot Topic Friday: June 7

Friday Newsletter Personal leadership

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Happy Friday! Here are my June 7 Hot Topics and how they relate to advancing leadership or culture.

Hot Topic 1: Learning from a Drag Queen.

Source: The New York Times.

What It’s About: This is a raw and important story about the challenges we face being our true and authentic selves. The author, a gay man, married with a young son, experiences an event and becomes aware of a small inner wish that his son “would not be like me, that he would blend in and not suffer the way I did. My scar is rooted in anger and fear — and shame, the part I thought was gone but is still there.

Why It’s Important: A drag queen (a key subject throughout the story), gives the author simple and practical advice, “just listen to your son.” None of us should feel the need to hide who we really are. The author goes on to reflect: “There’s no guarantee what kind of person my boy will become, what his dreams will be, and I can’t expect his path to align with mine. I can’t protect him from prejudice. He will have scars. But I can choose not to pass my scar on to him.” Let’s work hard not to pass on our scars, and let’s learn more about being allies so none of us need to hide.

Hot Topic 2: The Connection Between Resilience and Inclusion

Source: Forbes

What It’s About: Forbes has published an important article about the connection between diversity, inclusion and resilience. The article notes we have this illusion where we mistake signifiers of surface differences, like skin color, language, religion, lack of religion, geography, etc. as true difference. However, the author points out that true difference doesn’t dwell in the surface stuff. It’s how we see, understand, and then choose to act in the world.

Why It’s Important: We need to progress our thinking and action to respect identity diversity, while we evolve to embrace comprehensive cognitive inclusion. This is sometimes counter-intuitive to an organization’s slavish commitment to alignment and harmony. What’s in the way, is the way. And the paradox is that cognitive diversity actually leads to more inclusion, hence more advanced harmony and adaptive resilience. Please read the full article. This way of working will become more strategically important and mainstream in the best institutions.

My Weekly Wine Recommendation (Thanks to Vivino):

The Investor Red Blend Napa Valley 2015.

[Picture and ratings provided by Vivino.]

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

Having a purpose statement doesn’t equal having a purpose.” – Aga Bajer

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.