Hot Topic Friday: March, 22 Newsletter

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect



Happy Friday everyone! I wanted to share with you some HOT TOPICS that have caught my attention this week. 

Hot Topic 1: Goldman Sachs CEO reveals the valuable job skill he now struggles to find. 

What it’s About:

CEO David Solomon talks about what Goldman is looking for in talent that may surprise you. The following quotes are instructive:

“’I’ll tell you one that we’re finding less and less inside the firm that I think is an important skill set… Is an ability to write,’” – Solomon in response to a question from Yahoo Finance.

“’The other thing I’d point to that’s so important is there is a real emphasis when people are interviewing around academics and I.Q. I think it’s way overweighted… There should be equal emphasis on E.Q. and how you interact with people, how you relate to people, and how you connect with people.’”

Why it’s important:

Goldman arguably hires to the “best and brightest.” They are totally a service business based on applying top talent. When Solomon says they’re giving more attention to writing skills and EQ, it reminds us that these are important areas even bankers should personally invest in.

Hot Topic 2: The 8-Year-Old Homeless Refugee Chess Champion.

What it’s about: 

NYT opinion columnist Kristof reports on a story of how we can overcome circumstance to excel. Tapping into our passion and aptitude within a supportive environment is a winning combination.

“In a homeless shelter in Manhattan, an 8-year-old boy is walking to his room, carrying an awkward load in his arms, unfazed by screams from a troubled resident. The boy is a Nigerian refugee with an uncertain future, but he is beaming. He can’t stop grinning because the awkward load is a huge trophy, almost as big as he is…This homeless third grader has just won his category at the New York State chess championship… What’s even more extraordinary is that Tani, as he is known, learned chess only a bit more than a year ago. His play has skyrocketed month by month, and he now has seven trophies by his bed in the homeless shelter.”

Why it’s important:

Much of the news last week focused on wealthy families buying access to great universities, either illegally through bribes or legally through donations. This put a bad taste in our mouths. We need Tani stories, and to fight for the benefit that comes from the struggle. Tani wasn’t “rescued” by so called “bulldozer” parents. He was given the opportunity and HE did it. Whether at home or work, let’s not rob people we care for of the bumps. They build character and ultimately confidence… But not when we rush in to take away the pain associated with learning. 

Topic 3: The Right Way to Follow Your Passion.

What it’s about:

There is lots of discussion about the importance of being passionate as a vital and distinguishing characteristic. Yet, there is a difference between harmonious and obsessive passion. Passion should not be valued as “good” by default. NYT contributor Brad Stulberg says

“Put simply: Passion can be a gift or a curse… The good news is that the form it takes is largely up to you… Jeff Skilling, of Enron, and Elizabeth Holmes, of Theranos, oversaw two of the biggest corporate frauds in recent American history. Before the scandal-ridden downfalls of their companies, both were widely celebrated for their passion and obsessive drive, something Ms. Holmes said was a most important asset. Alex Rodriguez and Lance Armstrong, two of the most notorious cheaters in sports, were also two of the most passionate competitors… What all of these individuals have in common is that their passions went awry because of an incessant focus on results, results, results. When the results weren’t meeting their exceedingly high expectations, they turned to unethical behavior to close the gap.”

Why it’s important:

There is an argument for results being everything. And yes, leaders must get results, but NOT without the guidance of values that advance humankind. Stulberg notes: “Obsessive passion — fueled by a longing for external results, recognition and rewards — trouble lies ahead. That’s because people typically crave more. More money. More fame. More medals. More followers.” When we focus with meaning, deep purpose and have harmonious passion, it often leads to great results, but not at the cost of our decency.

And finally! We’d like to introduce you to our mascot, Cecil. 

Here’s Cecil’s Bleat of the Week: 

“The greatest life-lie of all is to not live here and now.” Excerpt from
The Courage to Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga.

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

Culture Cast – Peer-to-Peer Leadership Works Best in Today’s Organizations

Personal leadership Podcast


In season 3, episode 7, Lorne and Lynette discuss moving away from command and control in leadership to make an even bigger, more effective impact with a peer-to-peer system.

Organizations are simply moving too fast for traditional leadership systems to be as efficient and effective as they need to be. Both leaders and team members should be comfortable enough to let go and adopt peer-to-peer models that work.

Team members are hired to be free-thinkers and creators, and it’s their responsibility to look for opportunities to contribute to solving big issues at work, not just doing assigned transactions. Abandon the “what are they going to do about it?” and “that’s not my department” attitude.

When team members’ ideas can get out and be implemented, they can be put into the community so it becomes a bigger and better idea, which is more gratifying for both the individual and the organization as a whole.

Please feel free to subscribe to this YouTube channel, follow this podcast on Soundcloud, as well as iTunes, and 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,

We look forward to sharing Season 3 of Culture Cast: Conversations on Culture and Leadership with you every Wednesday. 

Imagine if Amazon Competed in the Higher Education Marketplace?

Abundance Accountability Respect


The Challenge: You and I need continuous formal learning, and postsecondary education as it exists may not be able to give us what we want. Are you personally preparing for a lifelong investment in new learning, skill upgrades, career pivots and more? One of the hot areas at SXSW was the explosive new learning services and models that will compete or partner with traditional post secondary institutions. Companies like General Assembly, 2U, and BoxSpring Entertainment are disrupting education and tapping into this vast market. Getting a degree is a ticket, but it doesn’t mean that one has the skills employers require. The price tag students are currently paying (for example, $400k for an undergraduate degree at Harvard), is mind blowing and raising big “value flags.” And getting out of college with an undergraduate, or even a postgraduate degree, is just the first stage of a continual lifelong personal learning investment. Students are becoming more demanding and want to know how to do what they need to do… And they want to be able to learn in the way that is best for them, NOT for the provider. Hence the market is ripe for major disruption. As noted in a recent Inc. magazine article, “Compare Amazon’s ability to deliver what you want, how you want it, and when you want it, to that of the average college or university. Or even to the growing number of online universities, hybrid universities… And especially to the ‘traditional’ institutions that offer online learning options. Amazon would crush those folks.”

Story: Let’s look at what these learning disruptors are offering.

BoxSpring – Disrupt & Construct: At Boxspring we believe that learning is a privilege and can be joyful. We listen, we ask, we share, we challenge. We set our purpose and we advance.We do this openly, in collaboration and with respect. Are you ready? Feeling boxed in by old styles of training? Spring into action with a new way to learn.”

2U: We are in the midst of a transformational era in higher education. Technology is reshaping how we work and fundamentally redefining what it means to have a career, forcing us all to become lifelong learners.

In the face of this new reality, leaders across academia are confronting a clear challenge: how to fully embrace the digital era while preserving the best of what has defined their institution, often for centuries.”

I’m just giving a couple of examples for flavor. How exciting. I’m signing up to participate in the disruptive world of postsecondary learning! How about you?

What we can do about it:

  1. It does not matter what business, career, market, or work world you live in, prepare to personally invest EVERY year in more formal learning. This will be a material item in your monthly budget. If your employer invests in you that’s great and they should. But do not wait around.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the many new offerings in learning. Your traditional colleges better be digital and treat you as the customer to get your attention.
  3. If you are a traditional learning provider, it’s time to disrupt yourself.

Think big, start small, act now,

– Lorne

One Millennial View: I found a ton of value in physically attending a four-year post secondary educational institution, but that’s largely due to what you learn outside of the classroom. Dorm life, Greek life, and figuring out how to navigate around a campus, all while living around 30,000 other students isn’t really something you can learn online. A diploma is proof that you can juggle a schedule, meet deadlines, and likely survive in the work world. But we’ll see if this newest generation attending middle-school at the moment will be influenced and persuaded by disruptive, digital secondary education options. One huge setback for digital learning is the social aspect? College is also really FUN. Perhaps BoxSpring or 2U should offer WeWork spaces for strictly college aged kids to go digitally learn, and also meet new people/join social clubs/get these kids out of their parents’ house. 

– Garrett

Blog 976

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis


Lead in With Lorne – Walking by the Birds#i*

Personal leadership Podcast


In this episode of Lead in With Lorne, the topic is “walking by the birds#i*.” It’s a fun but valuable story regarding the think big, start small, act NOW lesson. We all have birds#i* that we’re walking by every day, but this week is an opportunity to finally clean it up. Watch/listen to get the full story.

Think big, start small, act now.

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. 

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

The Ally Blog Causes Sparks to Fly!

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect


The problem: “Black workers at UPS facility in Ohio faced decades of racial hostility, lawsuit says.” That’s a March, 2019 USA Today headline. “Survey reveals Canada still has a ways to go on workplace discrimination.” That quote is from the Globe and Mail, in case our Canadian audience thinks they have the high ground. Hey, let’s just admit we still have a lot of work to do on the complex challenges related to inclusion and equality. Even as I’m writing this blog, a CNN panel is noting that celebrity democratic candidate, Beto O’Rourke, ticked off a lot of women with his comment about his “thanking his for wife feeding the children at home.” So for the eye rollers out there who are tired of the topic, we DO need to continue the conversation.

Story: As I noted in my previous blog, we are all at different stages on the inclusion learning path relative to what being an Ally is. Garrett and I got some strong reactions relative to the topic. Two of our readers seem to be on different bends in the road. Reader 1: “I’m aware of the stories of people being mistreated and undervalued, but it would be a flat out lie if I’ve said I’ve ever seen it practiced or celebrated first hand. I’m lucky I haven’t been part of it, but it would be disingenuous for me to pretend I’ve seen it.” Reader 2: “To be a true ally, you have to be able to step out of your experience. You cannot say that just because you haven’t experienced it that it doesn’t exist or is a non-issue.”

What we can do about it?

I asked ATB Financial’s Rachel Wade, Director of Equity and Inclusion for her insight . She shares her wise recommendations:

  1. “By being open to feedback and criticism of how we’ve held others up or failed to do so. It’s easy to become defensive. Try to pause and take in the new perspective before rejecting it – even if it stings a little. If you have the urge to respond with something that sounds like, ‘Well, not all <<insert demographic>> people are like that…’ You probably need to reflect a little longer on the sentiment behind the feedback. You are likely being given this feedback because you belong to a group that enjoys the downstream effects of systemic privilege. This is your time to acknowledge this new information and be a true ally.
  2. While allies can stand up for others they should not presume to to be able to take on the first-person voice of groups they don’t belong to first-hand. Don’t look for a pat on the back for being a good ally and make room for disadvantaged groups to speak for themselves.
  3. We can belong to both privileged and disadvantaged groups at the same time – this is where the intersectionality of of our lived experience and diversity becomes layered. In some ways we may be in need of allies and in some ways we may be able to be strong allies. Being disadvantaged in one way doesn’t mean you opt out of understanding the disadvantages of other lived experiences.”

Each of us is the “other” at sometime in our lives. It’s important to remind ourselves. Thank you Rachel.

Think Big, Start Small, Act Now!


One Millennial View: Rachel’s insight says it best. I’m a person who likes to fix things, but I have to accept that there is no immediate remedy that’ll satisfy everyone. At least if there’s more awareness, then maybe it can reduce the anguish.

– Garrett

Blog 975

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis