Special Announcement: Culture Cast Podcast is Back!

Personal leadership Podcast


Hello readers and listeners, Lorne and Lynette are excited to announce the return of Culture Cast: Conversations on Culture and Leadership. Please see our video promo below, telling you all what’s in store for Season 3, or listen to it on SoundCloud

Lorne Rubis and Lynette Turner will launch Season 3 of Culture Cast on Feb. 6, with new episodes every Wednesday afterwards. Please feel free to subscribe to this YouTube channel, as well as Lorne and Lynette’s social media platforms for all the latest Culture Cast uploads and announcements.

Lorne Rubis is available @LorneRubis on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook

Lynette Turner is available on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn as well as through her site, LynetteTurner.com.

We look forward to sharing Season 3 of Culture Cast: Conversations on Culture and Leadership with you all!

Is the ‘Hustle Culture’ a Swindle?

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect


Story: If you want to feel the vibe of what’s going in the world of cranked up work, especially the technology market, hang around at one of the Starbucks on Mercer Island, Wash. It’s not Silicon Valley but a darn good facsimile. Situated between Seattle and Bellevue, the coffee shop that was spawned at Pike Place market just down the road, is a commerce hotspot. Executives from companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Boeing, DocuSign, start-ups, venture firms, private equity, etc., wander in casually wearing their $300 dollar ripped jeans for a grande Americano to accompany some business deal. The tables are so close one doesn’t have to be rude to eavesdrop. The couple at the table beside us included a 30 plus year old hustling Facebook executive with a new house and baby. “I’m at work at 5:30 a.m. with 10 plus direct reports, my wife has to go back to work. I get four months for paternity leave but I’m afraid taking it will derail my career…” The convo got even more interesting from there. Ironically, I was reading a heck of an article entitled “Why Are Young People Pretending to Like Work?” by Erin Griffith in the NYT Sunday Business section. I want to share an excerpt:

It’s not difficult to view hustle culture as a swindle. After all, convincing a generation of workers to beaver away is convenient for those at the top.’The vast majority of people beating the drums of hustle-mania are not the people doing the actual work. They’re the managers, financiers and owners,’ said David Heinemeier Hansson, the co-founder of Basecamp, a software company. We spoke in October, as he was promoting his new book, ‘It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work,’ about creating healthy company cultures. Mr. Heinemeier Hansson said that despite data showing long hours improve neither productivity nor creativity, myths about overwork persist because they justify the extreme wealth created for a small group of elite techies. ‘It’s grim and exploitative,’ he said.

Ms.Griffith concludes her editorial with the following: ‘The grim reality of 2019 is that begging a billionaire for employment via Twitter is not considered embarrassing, but a perfectly plausible way to get ahead. On some level, you have to respect the hustlers who see a dismal system and understand that success in it requires total, shameless buy-in. If we’re doomed to toil away until we die, we may as well pretend to like it. Even on Mondays.’”

Key Point: Everyone will leave the organization they’re with some day. It may be completely on our own terms but likely not. And before the door closes, our jobs will be filled and the organization as it should, will move forward without us. So we need to be very intentional about why we’re at work. 

The hustle culture is more likely to be a swindle when we’re not doing what we’re good at, what we like to do and with value that makes us richer in EVERY way. I’ve referred to this as PERSONAL EQUITY and it involves a conscious appreciation of net worth financially, emotionally, experientially, physically and spiritually. If we’re genuinely and constructively evolving, including advancing our relationships with those we love, the “hustle” is likely very much worth it. If not, we may be caught up in an unwitting Ponzi scheme and going with the flow just because.

Actions you can do about it:

  1. Take an honest inventory. Is your Personal Equity improving? Like a good investment portfolio, is it appropriately balanced in all areas? I.E., is your hustle worth it? 
  2. If not, stop kidding yourself and trying to be a modern day striped suit disguised in jeans and sucked in by the free Vitamin Water, and foosball table. 

Hustling for Personal Equity Growth,


One Millennial View: Tell me about it… People who listen to Gary Vee now think that they should spend every Saturday morning seeking garage sales to flip cheap swag for $200 – $300 dollars on eBay because someone, somewhere, is willing to pay triple for that ugly sweater or nightstand you negotiated down to $13 dollars. But are we really doing that? I haven’t. It’s difficult. It’s a lot easier to just watch football or YouTube. But then you ask yourself, why are you wasting time consuming something that doesn’t better you? Jocko Willink makes part of his living posting black and white pictures of his Ironman wrist watch at 4:30 a.m., reminding his thousands of followers how lazy they are in comparison. The hustle game is real, it’s in our face constantly, and it seemingly does work. But make no mistake about it, it’s friggin’ hard, and an Instagram filter makes it very presentable but it doesn’t mean it’s easy. That said, it’s certainly the type of thing worth thinking big, starting small and acting now about. When you’re not hustling, someone else is, and that’s never going to go away.

– Garrett

Blog 962

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis.


Lead In With Lorne – You Will Receive an Email That Challenges You to Be a Giver

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Podcast Respect


Hi readers and listeners,  

We invite you to take a couple minutes to watch/listen to our new podcast, Lead In with Lorne: A Leadership Story to Start Off Your Week.

Lorne discusses how the most successful people are generally givers. This week, you’ll likely receive an email that asks you for something. Challenge yourself to be a giver in this situation.

Enjoy it on the YouTube video embedded below, or audio listeners can hear it on SoundCloud now too (iTunes coming in the near future). 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. 


Uncover Your Company’s Real Culture

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect


A Not So Casual Friday Story: I was recently invited to speak to a legal forum, and I had everything prepared… Except I forgot to ask about the dress code.

So, I showed up in a sports coat and dress pants, but no tie. There’s no doubt that wearing a full suit and tie in North American business settings has diminished dramatically over the last decade. (Some might ask, who still wears ties to work in 2019)?

Well whoops… They do. They wear ties. Every male judge and lawyer was wearing a tie. Not only that, the organization has been around since 1930, and wearing a tie was a ritual and sign of respect. I come to find out, they even have a rule “no tie and you buy everyone a round of drinks.” Great.

To make things a little more awkward, my presentation was on the elements required to build a great culture, and I stood there as a cultural faux pas. Fortunately, they were gracious and also waived my obligation to buy a round. To make a bit of lemonade out of a lemon, I used this tie example to illustrate how dress code and ritual contribute to defining the real culture of a group.

Key Point: Aga Bajer is a cultural strategist, admired colleague of mine, and works out of Milan, Italy. (Read her complete blog on cultural anthropology here). The following are tasty excerpts:

“What do you notice about how people dress, socialise, go about achieving goals, how they communicate? How about the reward systems, conflict, problem-solving and decision making, leadership, stories and heroes, and rituals? Here are some questions you can ask yourself in each of these areas:

Dress code.
How do people dress for work? What message does the dress code communicate? Are there any differences between how people dress in different parts of the organisation? If yes, what does it seem to signify?

How do people socialise – is it done in a structured and organised way or spontaneously and ad hoc? What is the frequency of people’s get-togethers? Who initiates them? Who seems to connect with whom? What seems to be the emotional energy when people meet?

What are the accepted performance expectations? How are goals set, measured and tracked? What does planning look like? Who is involved in goal setting and planning? What is the level of enthusiasm and engagement in pursuing goals? Where does it stem from?

How are information, guidelines, and directives shared between people? Is communication formal, informal or both? Is communication happening organically or is it strategic and well planned? How effective is it?

What gets people promoted here? How are people rewarded, acknowledged and incentivised? How were these reward systems created? How effective are they?

How does conflict express itself? How is it handled? How does it get resolved? What are people’s beliefs about conflict?

Problem-solving and decision making.
How are problems identified? When? Who is usually involved in problem-solving? Who takes the lead? Are issues solved and decisions made through collective brainstorming and discussions or individual efforts? Does the approach to problem-solving work?

How does leadership work? What is the prevalent leadership style? Is leadership perceived to be a position or an action? Is leadership power concentrated at the top or evenly spread across the organisation? What are the accepted leadership role models?

Stories and heroes.
What stories do people share when asked: ‘Tell me a story that illustrates what it’s like to work here?’ What are the stories shared spontaneously in casual conversations at the water cooler? Who are the heroes in your organisation – people considered to be ‘legends’ or outstanding in some way?

What rituals do people engage in? Why do they exist, what purpose do they serve? Do people participate willingly?”

Actions you can take:

  1. As you try and better understand what your culture really is versus what’s published or publicized, be a bit of a cultural anthropologist. Observe and answer Aga’s and other questions.
  2. As you map out what your culture could do more/less of, understanding gaps and blind spots will help you develop your action plan for going forward.
  3. Follow Aga, she has much to offer.

Tie your culture together in Leadership,


One Millennial View: According to USA Today, consumer DNA testing kits like 23andMe were among the most popular holiday gifts given and received in 2018. People really want to know about their personal ancestry, so why not apply similar curiosity towards your company culture? While it may not be as scientifically sound, applying Aga’s questions to your own organization doesn’t cost $125 dollars or require sending your saliva to strangers.

– Garrett

Blog 961

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis


Be Humble Going Forward and Smart Looking Backwards!



Story: I’m enjoying sharing the learnings accumulated in how to build a great culture. I outline 10 necessary elements to really make a culture move forward. Truth be told, the only way I could really map out this framework was having the time to look backwards. When we were creating and building the culture at the last organization I was at, it felt more like a drunken hermit crab heading north on a wide, sandy beach. We staggered, always pivoted, reversed occasionally, yet ultimately passed key milestones. Often it was more luck than brains, and we also made very conscious choices that were instrumental. Along the way, while tactics changed daily, we never wavered off going “north.”

Frankly, we humans are not very good at predicting, but we’re quite skilled at “retrospectively rationalizing” to explain why a business, project, or product succeeded or failed. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs stated during his 2008 Stanford commencement address: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward, only looking backward.”

Key Point: I’m all for planning and recognize the importance of forward looking detail. However, often the very best plans have to change before the ink is dry. Our most important attribute then becomes the ability to adapt and pivot. The same principle applies to starting new organizations. “It’s almost always the case that the greatest firms are discovered and not planned,” says William P. Barnett, a Professor of Business Leadership, Strategy, and Organizations at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. That’s one conclusion from a study Barnett co-authored with colleague Elizabeth G. Pontikes of the University of Chicago. They studied entrepreneurial success rates by researching 4,566 organizations in 456 different market categories over 12 years, and found that entrepreneurs who were willing to adapt their vision and products to find the right market often did the best.

Actions you can take:

  1. Be fearless about pivoting. Stay true to your core purpose and values. However, be prepared to constantly adapt along the way.
  2. Be a great listener and humbly prepared to change tactics and strategy constantly. This is courageous rather than wishy washy leadership. Leave looking smart to when you’re connecting the dots in retrospect.

The wandering path in Leadership,


One Millennial View: I guess there’s a reason why a book called “How to Build a Perfect Successful Company in One Try” doesn’t exist. Name an organization or product that has stayed completely the same since you started following them. I can’t think of one. Heck, by the time I finish editing this blog, there will likely be an update for the WordPress used to publish it.

– Garrett

Blog 960

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis