Drinking Out of the Cup!

Abundance Growth mindset Teamwork


Key Point: Winning as a team is intoxicating. Why? Because teams WIN as the playbook or “system” connects all members and departments in an exponentially better way. Great teams, of course, do include superb individual contributions. It’s clear some people have larger roles and play bigger parts in the journey. However, in superb team-based organizations, no “one,” or select few can win on their own. To really be victorious, every part of the system contributes. Typically, one person is selected to pick up the “prize,” yet in truly great organizations, everyone is recognized for the vital roles they play. 

I love hockey, and the metaphor attached to winning the National Hockey League’s ultimate championship, the Stanley Cup. When the winning team prevails, the Cup is hoisted up over the head of EACH player and eventually every other person professionally attached to the organization. This includes the sales people, ticket folks, operations, marketing, accounting, receptionists, ushers, and everyone else who makes the entire system work. And of course, tradition involves drinking some celebratory bubbly beverage out of that very trophy. Winning teams celebrate hard too. 

This week, our company was recognized by Great Place to Work as the No. 2 company in all of Canada. This is quite remarkable for a 5,000 person, boutique financial institution dedicated to serving the province of Alberta. Other outside sources rate us as one of the best companies in North America. We have much to do to get EVEN BETTER. In fact, we won’t be satisfied until we are continuously recognized as the best company in the world. While we aspire to even higher levels, we are a WINNING organization. And just like Stanley Cup champs, it takes the entire system working in full harmony to get the W. It also takes years and intentional development of EVERY part of the institution to achieve sustainable momentum as a whole. It is never just one person, one department, one product or “one” of anything. That’s what differentiates winning teams from the others. I am always amused when other organizations try to copy one or two things. It is never that simple. Winning takes every thing, every person, every detail, every nuance meshed into exceptional performance driven by a higher purpose.

I want to recognize every winning person and process at ATB and invite all to hoist the cup high. We achieve our greatness together. This includes all the people who have built our culture over the past 80 years, and the ones that will continue the legacy after our current leadership is gone. I particularly want to note the people who do all the heavy lifting behind the scenes; often unnoticed. You know who you are. Thank you. 

Character Moves:

  1. Determine where you are in building or being part of a championship team. It takes a methodical and relentless approach to make every part of the system better at the same time. This strategy takes courage and will be criticized by people who think it’s too hard, too much, too chaotic, too ambitious, and/or too big. They will fight to keep you perpetually mediocre. I detest this attitude. Don’t be one of those folks!
  1. Having a winning mindset includes a growth mindset. When you embrace this perspective, you can’t stand just being “good enough.” You hate sameness. You are abundant in spirit and pull/push the entire system forward. You are a winner. I want to work with YOU. 
  1. I apply an eight point system/framework as a guide to team/organization greatness. It is simple to describe, and very hard to execute on. Send me an email to lgrubis@gmail.com and I’d be happy to share it with you. I challenge you to execute on it and unseat us as the best company to work for in the universe. The more winning teams, the better for all. 

No. 1 in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: First and foremost, congratulations to everyone at ATB! As Millennials, we have to imagine ourselves as the rookies, the newly drafted… For most of us, we probably aren’t “first rounder” star players either. But, if we sit back and rely on the one or two all stars to get it all done for us, then we’ll never be able to contribute to that championship because it’ll never be won. And we certainly won’t deserve to hoist the Cup over our heads. Want that win just as much as everyone better than you.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Peer-to-Peer Power 10x

Collaboration Respect Transformation


Key Point: Peer-to-peer power. I thought I understood how important this idea was and then recently watched this principle blossom into something that made me realize it can truly be exponential in advancing both results and culture. 

My organization needed 50 people to lead a major initiative with the mandate to truly revolutionize the way we work; 5,000 plus team members contributing in much more collaborative and productive ways. We did NOT ask for leaders to recommend candidates. Rather, we outlined exactly what attributes we were looking for and invited people to “audition.”  The result was remarkable… Hundreds of passionate, excited prospects emerged, many that we would likely have never “found” through the normal channels. 

When we selected the final 50, they represented every level and other identity domain of the company; region, age, experience, gender, line of business, etc. We then asked them to leave their roles, titles and rest “at the door” as they came together for a 30 day boot camp. Their final output was to present a detailed framework for revolutionizing the way we work; including but not limited to implementing a new productivity technology platform (Google’s G Suite), 10x better processes, measurable milestones, and so on. The “capstone” presentations that represented their work were given thus past Friday, followed by a “graduating” ceremony and celebration. The content of the work was stunningly exceptional. 

As the cohort gathered in a circle to recount how the 30-day boot camp experience impacted them personally and professionally, it was somewhat “jaw dropping” in the most inspirational way. The respect, gratitude, growth and overwhelming sense of collective accomplishment was astonishing. I have seen teams come together in the past, but this was something special… Actually, magical.

The experience and observation reinforced that unleashing more of this peer power is a vital competent of modern organizations. The principles include and are not limited to the following:

  1. Provide for people to raise their hands and audition; transparently invite passion to prevail over managers’ nominations and selections.
  2. Bring people from every part of the company fabric to come together as a dedicated cohort to bust artificial silos into oblivion.
  3. Let titles and position stature become subordinate to the ideas, imagination, and unique skills of a cohort.
  4. Understand that people will come together in deep care and respect for each other if the purpose is clear and values/expectations are intentionally stated.
  5. Recognize that many “hives” of these groups coming together in short powerful sprints will revolutionize the organization.

This is the way work should and will be done. Yes, we will have individual responsibilities and accountability. And we will have a direct “boss.” However, much of our time and contribution will be spent on strategically important initiatives where we can jump in and give our most incredible best. This will involve providing an organization/social platform where a genius collection of skills, attributes, imagination and ideas prevail over traditional vertical structures. How powerful… How democratizing… How profoundly 10x better. It will result in a work revolution. 

Character Moves:

  1. If you could raise your hand and audition for an initiative that could change your organization in a 10x way, what would that be? Who would you like to work with? How fast could you come up with exponential recommendations? What stops you from doing it? How could you change that? 

Peer Power in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: Wow, how cool. Y’know? More and more, I’m under the impression that some people make up their own roadblocks and create reasons they are unable to “raise their hand” and propose 10x improvement. It could be fear, or wanting to maintain comfort, or a million other misinterpretations… But I’d be willing to raise my hand and bet that as long as the objective has the intention to benefit the whole company, anyone can deliver their idea to any higher up worth their salt. Auditioning can be scary, but if you never do it, you’ll never get the part. (Little tip straight from Hollywood, ha). 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

The Stubbornness of Linear Thinking

Accountability Management


Key Point: Thinking exclusively in straight lines gets in the way of innovative and exponential performance. A brilliant article by Bart de Langhe, Stefano Putoni, and Richard Larrick appeared in the May/June, 2017 issue the Harvard Business Review. Their conclusion:

“In recent years a number of professions, including ecologists, physiologists, and physicians, have begun to routinely factor nonlinear relationships into their decision making. But nonlinearity is just as prevalent in the business world as anywhere else. It’s time that management professionals joined these other disciplines in developing greater awareness of the pitfalls of linear thinking in a nonlinear world. This will increase their ability to choose wisely—and to help the people around them make good decisions too “

To make their point, they invite readers to test their linear thinking on the following puzzle:

“Imagine you’re responsible for your company’s car fleet. You manage two models, an SUV that gets 10 miles to the gallon and a sedan that gets 20. The fleet has equal numbers of each, and all the cars travel 10,000 miles a year. You have enough capital to replace one model with more-fuel-efficient vehicles to lower operational costs and help meet sustainability goals.

Which upgrade is better?

  1. Replacing the 10-MPG vehicles with 20 MPG vehicles.
  2. Replacing the 20-MPG vehicles with 50 MPG vehicle.

Intuitively, option B seems more impressive—an increase of 30-MPG is a lot larger than a 10-MPG one. And the percentage increase is greater, too. But B is not the better deal. In fact, it’s not even close. 

Shockingly, upgrading fuel efficiency from 20 to 100-MPG still wouldn’t save as much gas as upgrading from 10 to 20-MPG.

But choosing the lower-mileage upgrade remains counterintuitive, even in the face of the visual evidence. It just doesn’t feel right. If you’re still having trouble grasping this, it’s not your fault. Decades of research in cognitive psychology show that the human mind struggles to understand nonlinear relationships. Our brain wants to make simple straight lines.”

If you want the full-Monty on this concept, please read the entire article. I see the stubbornness of linear thinking in people all the time. However, the fact that our brain wants us to keep things on the “straight and narrow” can often hamper our ability to really challenge, experiment and explore. A non-linear thinker tends to embrace a myriad of unrelated thoughts that somehow connect in ways that might otherwise not have been evident. We know the world is getting faster, and more complex. As leaders, we have to intentionally nurture non-linear thinking within others and ourselves to discover novel approaches to daunting opportunities. 

Character Moves:

  1. Challenge yourself with questions like: What other perspectives are there? Who else is talking about this? How would ___ think about it? How might we___? Have we considered or thought of ___? 
  2. Ask people who have nothing to do with your business or who work in tangential fields how they might approach a problem. 
  3. Momentarily walk away from the problem and intentionally put yourself in a position to look at things from a completely different perspective. What do you see now?

Non-Linear in The Triangle,

– Lorne

One Millennial View: As the HBR article above states, it’s easier said than done, but tackling something from a new and different angle seems to be one of the greatest weapons Millennials have to make waves in a world that ceremoniously and uncreatively “re-tweets.” Go ahead, call another situation “____gate.” Photoshop another “Crying Jordan” meme for something obvious. Your initial results and “likes” might be gratifying, but in my opinion it’s so tired. Can’t we think a little non-linear and do a lot better than that?

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Singularity University and Abundance

Abundance Personal leadership


Key Point: Acting with abundance is a way of life and in my view, THE only way. Those of you that have read my book The Character Triangle,” are aware that I emphasized this vital value of “Abundance,” seven years ago when I first wrote about it. It was very gratifying to attend Singularity University in Silicon Valley last week and to see the slide presented in the photo below. Singularity is a powerful voice of influence and impact regarding exponential thinking and adaptability performance. Organizations setting a breakthrough pace in the world are truly exponentially better than competitors. Abundance is a key value underlying Singularity and a necessary foundation for exponential performance. Note the way Singularity compares Scarcity versus Abundance: 


I particularly want to point out the bottom column comparing thinking small versus having a 10x mindset. Scarcity people scoff at the idea of thinking 10x. They feel it’s unrealistic and get hung up on how literal the idea is, rather than accepting the “moonshot” inspiration as an accelerant. Subsequently, scarcity people get exactly what they think; small improvements of “sameness,” often copying whatever industry practice prevails. This leaves a big “hole” for a competitor, typically a disruptor, to find that innovative breakthrough. They bring the 10x thinking to life and all the “sameness” people stand together watching. 

Character Moves:

  1. If you don’t know about Singularity University, I strongly urge you to find out more about them. If you don’t know what exponential organizations are doing, you’ll learn when they consume your job/business. 
  1. Where are you on the Scarcity versus Abundance scale? Where is your organization on the same? Learn what being abundant really means from a behavioral perspective. If we all acted with an abundant framework, the entire world would be better from a personal and world viewpoint. 

Always Abundant in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: What a great comparative slide from Singularity University. It’s amazing how one could ever choose Scarcity over Abundance when the differences are that clear, but obviously many organizations do. If these were applied to personality traits, which person would you like to have dinner with? The Scarcity minded person, or the Abundance minded person? I’m making reservations with Abundance every time.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis