Culture Cast Podcast 9

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Hey Character Triangle fans! Listen to this latest Culture Cast podcast featuring Lorne Rubis and Lynette Turner, where they discuss the blog “Thinking Harder and Smarter.” Topics include delivering and accepting feedback, and, well, “thinking harder and smarter” when confronted with all sorts of situations at work. Please listen here or look for it via Soundcloud and iTunes and don’t be shy to comment and give us a rating (preferably 5 stars), it really helps us out! 

Please listen to it on SoundCloud here

Or on iTunes here.



Slaying Dragons… Continued

Key Point: This series of blogs has focused on the Seven Dragons underlying fear, as introduced by Laurie Skreslet, Canada’s extreme climber and the country’s first to conquer Everest. He obviously knows a lot about facing fear. He learned about the Seven Dragons from wise, story telling Tibetans, upon spending many years with them (please read our last two blogs for the complete picture). In the last blog, we focused on the gateway fear “STUBBORNNESS,” and another, “ARROGANCE.” Let’s tackle the next three: 


One of our core values at ATB Financial is to be confident and humble. That’s living the best part of this Dragon. However, when we cross the humble line to beating ourselves up, we’ve been overtaken by a belief that we are somehow not good enough. We pound and blame ourselves; even resorting to calling ourselves names in those very painful, private self deprecating moments. 


This Dragon shows up big and fiery in the Western world. When you ask people what’s on their mind, they often describe themselves as being overly busy, overwhelmed and even out of control. The positive aspect of this Dragon is when we recognize the triggers related to being “overwhelmed,” we often become aware, focused and able to achieve a great deal. The negative aspect is frustration, intolerance, distress and even rudeness while demanding that the world operates on our schedule.


The positive aspect of this Dragon is selflessness, taking action on behalf of others with little thought of personal benefit. There is tremendous generosity and even abundance attached to this dragon. However, a very negative aspect of martyrdom is victimization: Sacrificing one’s own needs and wants, and/or becoming a slave to the expectations of others. The fear is that somehow we will only be worthy when we have exhausted ourselves in the hope that people will recognize how much we have thanklessly given. “Poor us… Look how we just give, give, give without any appreciation.”

Character Moves: 

  1. Face Self-Deprecation: All blame is waste, including self-blame. We are good enough. We deserve our deep self-respect. Beating ourselves up equates to zero value. So why do it? Stop it. 
  2. Face Impatience: We are active participants in the world and yet we only own one worldview. Our priorities and schedule is unique to us. Often our fear of “missing out” or “being out of control” is a made up story in our own heads. To overcome the fear associated with impatience, it’s important to take that long, deep, reflective breath before acting. Keep that middle digit in your hand nicely tucked away. P.S., managing this fear has spawned a huge increase in practicing meditation. Try it. It works. Why are you really so impatient? 
  3. Face Martyrdom: Be abundant. When you feel an urge to want something in return for giving, it’s a signal to say quietly say, “thank you,” and generously give without expecting anything. Do not connect giving to reciprocation. Give because you want to, not because you need to prove your worthiness or love. Feeling like a victim, while emotionally real, is ultimately useless to you and others. 

Fighting dragons in The Triangle, 


One Millennial View: I hear Millennials deal with these Dragons on a regular basis due to a sense of feeling powerless in a “have it now” world. We can get same day delivery on Amazon Prime, right? So we must be doing something wrong if we don’t seem to achieve personal and professional goals immediately too? After all, you just saw on Facebook that kid from high school who failed his driving test four times, just got a huge new promotion. Then, some quiz you just took on Buzzfeed says you’re going to die alone. Really? My point is, as one of my favorite music groups says, “you want somethin’ bad, you gotta bleed a little for it.” Just keep giving it your best go. 

– Garrett Rubis

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Value Card Versus Business Card?

Key Point: As we learn more about real contribution, it is very important to focus less on your job title and contact information on your business card. Instead, demonstrate the “actual value” you’re able to provide employers. Who really cares what the title on a business card is these days? And with digital identity, many people don’t really care about business cards at all. At the same time, I do believe, words like “president,” “director,” “manager,” “partner,” “Dr.,” etc. carry some introductory weight. But as we determine the benefit of a relationship with others, proof and evidence of “value provided” is what really counts.

It is really interesting to be back interviewing for a job after eight years of being a CEO of an international, privately held, profitable company.  I am, by business card criteria, very accomplished. I have CEO and president in my title, three times. COO once, and VP three times. I also have the titles of “founder” and “partner.” I might as well have the title of “Supreme Intergalactic Commander.” The reality is that people who are interviewing me only care a little about those titles. However, they are laser fixed on my ability to demonstrate how I solved problems and achieved results. And they are very sophisticated in separating wheat from chaff.

 Character Move:

  1.  Wherever you are in your career/ job, document problems solved and results achieved. Do it as you go, not after you have left.
  2. Develop a “value offered card” more than a “business title card.” Be great at a few things… Benchmark to be the very best. Practice, practice, practice, and ten years later, few will have your results and skill. This will hopefully allow you to monetize the equity you have built in yourself. (Think ahead… Is anyone going to care about what core skills you currently have a few years from now?)
  3. Most of us are NOT great at everything. Be honest about areas that are not strengths. However, let’s commit to being THE best at what we’re good at and like to do.
  4. Someone out there likely needs what you are good at and like to do. That value, in the western capitalistic society we live in, usually is expressed in monetary terms. For example, the value we bring to the largest group who needs/wants what we have to offer, usually results in the biggest monetary pay out.
  5. Build a value card more than a business card.

Value card in the Triangle,

– Lorne


2012 Character Triangle Resolutions

Key Point: what are your 2012 Character Triangle resolutions? Commit to these three things (all in your control) and you will make real progress making the Character Triangle have an impact for you and others in 2012 and beyond.

Accountability Resolution: Begin each problem solving meeting in the New Year by describing the issue you want to address for improvement. Start the dialogue by specifically and meaningfully defining FIRST what YOU personally could do to contribute to a resolution. Propose specific ways of how you would go about doing so. THEN ask your teammate(s) to follow suit by having them outline their personal recommendations. Discuss, amend and conclude by connecting each self accountable approach into a joint plan of improvement action.

Respect Resolution: Learn how to use and apply one of the most practical and easy to use listening/problem solving tools and methods. It is called S (situation) T (target) P (proposal): STP. I have had executives tell me years after they have started using it that it remains their most useful tool. Go to my web site and check out the resource section for a quick video tutorial and a PDF explaining how to use it. Or, check out the appendix in “The Character Triangle.” Using STP and the Respect value is reinforced through better listening, dialogue and less negative conflict. Practice the STP until it becomes second nature.

Abundance Resolution: On 30 consecutive working days write a personal note of “thank you” to one person in the company. Be very specific in what behavior you want to say thank you for. Describe what their action meant to others, the company and you in your role. Be timely and spread this across all levels of the company. Schedule this commitment onto your calendar so that you treat this “thank you” activity as a very important meeting.

Commit to the above three actions purposefully and I promise you will see real and measurable positive outcomes.

Three New Year’s Resolutions in the Triangle,



Lorne Rubis

Lorne Rubis

The constant in Lorne’s diverse career is his ability to successfully lead organizations through significant change. At US West, where he served as a Vice President / Company Officer, Lorne was one of only seven direct reports ...
Read more about Lorne Rubis

Listen to Lorne's latest podcasts

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Asking for feedback: The why

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The Character Triangle Companion


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The Character Triangle

Character Triangle Book CoverBuild Character, Have an Impact, and Inspire Others



Character Triangle

Our character is exclusively ours. We define it by how we think and what we do. I believe that acting with Character is driven by what I call the Character Triangle.

What, exactly, is the Character Triangle (CT)?

The CT describes and emphasizes three distinct but interdependent values:

Be Accountable: first person action to make things better, avoiding blame.
Be Respectful: being present, listening, looking again, focusing on the process.
Be Abundant: generous in spirit, moving forward, minimizing the lack of.

Read more about the Character Triangle


Be Accountable

Be Respectful

Be Abundant

Free Resources


The Character Triangle Companion Worksheet

NEW! The Character Triangle Companion Worksheet – Google Docs Version


Mind Your Own Business Radio – with Debi Davis, WLOB 1310 AM, 3/10/12 radio interview of Lorne Rubis


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