Ok, CEO: Answer These Questions

Accountability Be Accountable


Key Point: How would you answer the following questions as a CEO? All major consulting companies conduct “C Level” surveys to help top leadership navigate trends and think through strategic challenges. Recently, I’ve been part of several of these, and please note that the specific questions and survey process are the confidential property of the consulting companies. However, I’m going to ask you my paraphrased version of sample questions that reflect the essence without compromising the survey protocol of the firms. These surveys usually take over an hour to complete. Then, the firms compile, analyze and give the respondent the collective feedback. To make this manageable, I’m going to ask you just a few representative questions. How would you answer them as the head of your organization?

  1. What is the level of urgency with which your enterprise needs to transform itself? Why?
  2. How successful has your organization been managing transformation in the past? Give examples.
  3. How effective is your organization at creating compelling customer experiences? Examples? Through what means?
  4. Think ahead to 2021 and you’ve been given an award for designing and implementing the most outstanding customer experience. Post on social media, the description of that experience in less than 140 characters.
  5. Name the top five emerging technology trends over the next three to five years, that will most disrupt your industry? Enterprise?
  6. To what extent do you have a well formed purpose and business strategy to navigate through the disruptive forces here now and in front of you?
  7. Your best strategy will be to: Defend, innovate, expand, diversify, or self-disrupt. Which one of these will be your lead stance? How confident are you in execution?
  8. You are being interviewed by major business outlets as the best example in 2021 of an organization that truly reinvented itself. Describe in 20 words or less the essence of your strategy ad business model change.
  9. To what extent is your leadership fully equipped to lead this transformation? Where are big gaps and what are you doing about it?
  10. To what extent are team members “all in” with the purpose, strategy, along with having the skills and mindset to fully participate in the transformation?
  11. How effective are you in using data analytics in a predictive fashion to improve both employee and customer experience? How will you be significantly better at this three years from now?
  12. How equipped and ready are you to PERSONALLY transform your organization? How will you transform yourself first as part of leading this?

The above questions were randomly selected, and samples only. The surveys themselves were much more extensive, specific, and connected. They twisted my brain.  And the technology/disruption section was most daunting to me. As an example, many leading enterprises are well on their way implementing Artificial Intelligence to both service customers and employees. It’s happening NOW, not 2021. The reality is, any thinking organization and awake leader is taking their institution through this type of honest reflection and discovery.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. You may or may not be the head of your organization (although 40 percent of our readers describe themselves as CEOs or Managing Directors). Nevertheless, your participation in answering these and similar questions is necessary.
  2. What did you learn about yourself and organization as you answered? What will you do about it?

Answering in Personal Leadership,


One Millennial View: These survey questions are interesting, and it is nice to see how much critical thinking and “brain twisting” these questions demand from corporate leaders. With more A.I. implementation and (of course), more technology we don’t even know about yet, planning more than four years ahead seems difficult. To put in perspective, in 2013, Uber was a brand new service and I was just hearing about Airbnb, Seamless, Snapchat, Venmo, and more. I see why we put an emphasis on learning and adapting.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

More Experimentation and Play



Key Point: As part of building resilient and adaptive cultures we need to make more room for experimentation and play. This seems contradictory to the way many of us have been raised at work. It just seemed like the other day that we were learning new organization principles mostly driven by understanding total quality and lean manufacturing systems. (30-year-old ideas, btw). And the lessons associated with running organizations with these principles in mind still do have a place. However, that way of thinking exclusively has to give way to much more experimentation and play. Companies have to be more like laboratories than factories.

Recently, I spoke at a conference focusing on navigating the future. I talked about the eight cultural ingredients that I use as a framework to build a more abundant and adaptive company. The two speakers that I shared the podium with however, presented insights that made me really think. The two factors emphasized: Experimentation and Play.

Dr. Steve Shepard has written numerous books on technology and cultural adaption. He travels the world and is a leader in helping developing communities embrace technology to advance their cultures and circumstances. His principles are based on providing conditions for “tribal” self accountability, respect and abundance. The villagers he works with learn and apply technology to what deeply matters to them, rather than what outsiders think best. Underlying those values are experimentation and play. When he and his team make tablet computers available (e.g a MIT labs product that costs less than $100 USD,) and connects them to the internet, the village kids seem to intuitively and fearlessly Experiment and Play, most often getting the technology up and running within a day. Yup… Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, the works. More importantly, they rapidly begin to experiment finding ways to make their village more prosperous; (for example, e-commerce for local artisans and much more). As Steve storytells beautifully: “These are also places where technology brings competitive advantage, but it also brings economic growth, transparent government, access to healthcare and education, and perhaps most important of all, hope.”

The other speaker was (Top 40 under 40) Shawn Kanungo, a Digital Innovation guru with Deloitte. He challenged me to think more about play and experimentation than purpose. Kanungo and team Deloitte were asked to help a large organization develop a strategy on how to build a culture of innovation and collaboration. Through ethnographic research, interviews, workshops and mining through data, they analyzed the organization through different lenses: “We discovered that – more than anything else – employees craved the freedom to play, to experiment and to learn. And, when it came down to human motivation, the most surprising fact was that ‘Play’ was MORE important than the organization’s ‘Purpose.’ In Lindsay McGregor & Neel Doshi’s awesome book, Primed to Perform, after surveying over 20,000 workers around the world, analyzing 50 major companies, conducting scores of experiments, and scouring the landscape of academic research in a range of disciplines, they concluded that ‘Play’ is the most powerful motivator – twice as potent as purpose and almost three times more than potential.”

I know enough about the importance of purpose to understand that paying attention to Experimentation and Play is more of an “AND” rather than “OR.” However, these innovators inspired me to learn much more about these concepts.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Let’s challenge ourselves to learn more about translating Experimentation and Play into the workforce. How do we define and apply these concepts? I know I certainly will investigate and even “Experiment and Play” in doing so.
  2. I do believe that “sameness” has a short shelf-life these days. “Old” ideas like “benchmarking” and “best practices” may set us up for failure. Constant Experimentation and Play may make us way more fluid, adaptive and transformative.

Experimentation and Play in Personal Leadership,


One Millennial View: Now that we have the ability to use free tools like YouTube to teach us how to do pretty much anything, we’re often in a state of “Experiment and Play” just learning or figuring out DIY projects. I believe Millennials appreciate as much autonomy as possible, and if we can “Experiment and Play” our way to achieve better results, we don’t need the lesson of “best practices” for anything more than just a starting guideline.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis


Accountability Books Change


For the past few weeks my blogs have addressed some key ways to set your 2013 on the right path – from exploring the notion of Eudaimonia to avoiding burnout at work. Much like the one-off, annual strategic planning of yesteryear, I appreciate that New Year’s Resolutions have evolved into a more dynamic and on-going process.

Sure, January is always an excellent time to focus on our health and wellbeing, especially if the holiday season involved some overindulging. Naturally, the beginning of the year is a great time to think about personal and professional goals for the months ahead. Unfortunately, if you are like 25 percent of the population, you may have given up already. Check out this nifty infographic from via Mediabistro.

The good news is that if you’ve faltered a bit over the past few weeks, you’re certainly not alone. And don’t be discouraged because personal growth opportunities don’t end in Jan. In fact, now is the time to revisit what you want to accomplish. Take a moment to check in and identify what is going well and what isn’t. Would you welcome an approach to a personal development system that is sustainable? Read on.

 One of the biggest reasons people fail on the resolution front is that they haven’t established a foundation for success. Studies show that long lasting changes occur when we shift our habits. You may recall that I wrote about the importance of building keystone habits a few months ago. Making a resolution alone isn’t enough to achieve results; you must turn those goals into positive new habits. When you understand that an effective resolution is a behavior change and a process, you can see how this, along with benchmarks and measurements along the way, become crucial. So this year, I want to give you a reliable method to drive continuous, sustainable, personal improvement.

I am pleased to announce the launch of my new eBook, The Character Triangle Companion: A 30-Day Character Kick Start to an Even Better You. It is designed to help you focus on one of the key principles (Accountability, Respect or Abundance) for 30 days, providing you with the framework to refresh your outlook, improve your relationships and get things done. The best part about it is that you can apply it continuously.

Even better and exclusively on Amazon, it is FREE to you, friends and family BUT ONLY until Feb. 6. After that it will be widely available and retail for $8.99. Click here to download the FREE eBook and get started today.

If you choose to accept this challenge, best of luck to you! Enjoy your 30 days and if you can make the time, let me know how it’s going by emailing me, lorne@lornerubis.com, Tweet @LorneRubis, and/or post to my Facebook page. Here’s to making 2013 a year of sustainable personal character development for an even better you.

Resolution Evolution in the Triangle,



A Time of Renewal?

Accountability Be Accountable Books Personal leadership


Key point: I have done about 20 radio interviews related to my new book and I’m pleased that there has been wide spread interest in the subject of “character” and the unique elements of The Character Triangle. The radio shows have been with stations in urban and rural markets, in literally every region of America and across all spectrums of listening audiences (age, ethnicity, race, religious affiliation, political leanings, etc). Every group feels that The Character Triangle applies to them. It is perceived as practical and inclusive. That is very gratifying. Thank you for being part of The Character Triangle tribe and being committed to your own character development. And thank you for inspiring others by applying The Character Triangle (CT) in your life.

Radio show hosts tell me that audience response has been overwhelmingly positive and the message is received with enthusiasm. The conversation that seems to spark the most reaction is the idea that we as humans are “verbs” and our purpose in life is to constantly develop our character and ourselves. It takes increased understanding, improved presence and observation, skill practice, and eventually habit development. The use of the CT as a playbook is a useful metaphor.

The following radio show is one of my recent ones with a very experienced and long-time successful radio personality, Trevor Crow. She has a Harvard MBA, and is very accomplished in all matters related to relationships. She has been on CNN and a variety of other top-notch media channels. I hope you can find the time to listen to it.

Character move:

  1. Remember that we are verbs and that conscious personal development is a purpose in its own right.
  2. You are not alone; we all need to work on character development. None of us can say we have “arrived” and need no further improvement.
  3. Remember that our character is bounded by the darkest secrets we hold. We need to build from there and that takes constant renewal. Easter, Passover and Spring all remind us that it is a good time for self-forgiveness, redemption and accepting our right to blossom again.

Renewal in the Triangle,



Can You Step It Up? Seriously?

Accountability Be Accountable Books Thought leadership


Key Point: Followers of The Character Triangle know that one of the three core values is Self Accountability. It is a belief, state of mind and set of behaviors that really differentiates people at work (and life).

Two top notch leadership gurus reinforce the Self Accountability concept: Marshall Goldsmith and Dr. John Izzo. Goldsmith was recently recognized as the No. 1 leadership thinker and the No. 7 business thinker in the world at the bi-annual Thinkers50 Ceremony sponsored by the Harvard Business Review. Dr. Izzo recently released his sixth book, Stepping Up: How Taking Responsibility Changes Everything. John’s book shows how stepping up and being self accountable is good for your career, the workplace, and one’s overall well being. The following is an excerpt from Marshall’s blog, interviewing Izzo, in the Huffington Post:

 MG: What is Stepping Up and why is it the right book for our time?

JI: Stepping Up is seeing a need and deciding you are the person who can, should and will do something about it. We live in a time when we face so many problems such as poverty and climate change can only be solved when each of us steps up in our sphere of influence to create change. What’s more victim thinking has become pervasive in our society with everybody pointing a finger at someone else as the source of the problem. What we need are people at work and in communities who step up and decide they are going to create change.

MG: “It’s not my job,” “it was someone else’s fault,” “she needs to change,” and “someone should do something about this or that,” are phrases that you hear often. What is the impact on a person’s career and life when those words become the norm?

JI: Research shows that people who focus on what they can change rather than the external forces that influence them are more successful, less stressed and happier than those who feel like victims. What’s more we can’t fix anything but ourselves, so the moment we focus on what someone else needs to do we lose our power. In the book I suggest that every time you find yourself saying “someone else should do something about… ” you should instead ask, “What can I do about this?” It’s as true in a relationship as it is in a company or a community.

MG: You say stepping up is good for your career but a lot of people believe that people who stick their necks out at work get their heads cut off. Yet you share some fascinating research that suggests the opposite is actually true.

JI: The myth at work is that speaking up and challenging things will get you in trouble. But in the book I show research that shows that the opposite is true. People who speak up and challenge the status quo by bringing constructive ideas for change are rated more highly by their managers and are more likely to get promoted. But there is a caveat. People who finger point and blame are rated poorly so the key is to be what I call a “constructive irritant.” Speak up with ideas rather than blame and always begin by saying “here is what I will do.” Those are the kind of people who get ahead.

Character move:

  1. Challenge yourself to “step up” at work. Are you really stepping up? Bring constructive ideas and act on them for change and improvement.
  2. Do not blame or point fingers (as seductive as it is). Just work off your personal foundation. Step up on what you can control and influence.
  3. Remember that good bosses want and appreciate constructive help. It is good for your career and personal development.
  4. Reread chapter one from The Character Triangle (now carried by Hudson Booksellers at major airports). Watch videos of some of the people Izzo and team feature in the book Stepping Up. Read anything by Marshall Goldsmith.

Stepping it up in The Triangle,