Story: Some people who worked with me implementing the Google G Suite platform at my previous company still think it was primarily a technology initiative. However my team’s intent was to create a work renaissance and revolution. My belief is the old power controlling resources, innovation and decision making is dissolving rapidly. New power values are about collaboration, adaption, crowd wisdom, self-organization, radical democracy and transparency, impact assignments, tours of duty, a “find it, learn it, do it” mindset, and more. This workplace transformation is still not obvious to many, and when standing in the middle of a change from well-understood norms to new power forms; it can be disorienting and even frightening.
Key Point: Today, as powerfully explained in their exceptional book entitled New Power by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms, our lab is the world. Digging into that way of thinking can be a super mind bender. One has to embrace learning and unlearning by being a technologist, futurist, transformer and hopefully humanist. The workplace, regardless of industry, is going to feel like it’s in a 8.0 earthquake and no one is immune. As Heimans and Timms state: “Too often, this tension gets lampooned as Old Codger versus Young Turk. AARP versus ADD. But there is a deeper cultural shift playing out as old and new power values do battle at work.” This blog is just an appetizer. I hope to inspire you to learn and unlearn much more about new power.
Lead Yourself Moves:
Learn what it means to think and act more as a Founder: Create things, feel ownership, live with transparency, learn to navigate being all in/always on, and to drive constructive movement.
Think of yourself on “tours of duty” versus a career or job.
One Millennial View: I’m very curious to learn more about this, and do harbor an appreciation for some “old power” values. For example, I believe in the credibility of a boss with experience, I think competition among co-workers is healthy and motivating, and while transparency can be awesome, forcing everyone to reveal how much they earn teeters on the line of “that’s nobody’s business but my own (my boss and HR’s), and impolite for anyone to ask.” Some other new power values are great, and I look forward to learning/unlearning more.
We invite you to take a couple minutes to watch/listen to our new podcast, Lead In with Lorne Rubis: A Leadership Story to Start Off Your Week.
This week’s podcast discusses how Autumn is a metaphor for change/reinvention, with a personal story attached. Enjoy it on the YouTube video embedded below, and stay tuned for it to be available to access/subscribe to on iTunes and other audio options soon. We hope it enriches your Monday morning.
Story: The following note (I’ve removed information that might disclose the person’s identity) was unexpected, and came from someone I’ve not connected with very much over the last couple of years. It made me a little choked up.
“I wanted to reconnect to say what an absolute privilege it was to be a part of your team. I joined… and was bug-eyed in awe over your vision for [the company]. How did I get so lucky to work at such a place? In my early days we were having a big meeting/discussion about trust, and I questioned why — in that case — we would put new people through a 6-month probation period. You promptly nixed probation, period. Your vision for [the company], your ability to share that vision through story-telling, and most impressively your rallying of the team towards that vision has been something truly remarkable to be a part of. The legacy that you have left behind are precious gifts. Lastly, throughout everything, you were always 100% genuine you. From your smile & laughs, to your dance moves, to your time for a quick hello… Your presence emanated throughout… And paved a foundation that I feel very fortunate to still be… I’m a better team member because of you, a better contributor to [the company] and a better person. I look forward to continuing to hear your words of wisdom, and hope that our paths may cross again.”
The best gifts I’ve received from people at work have been in the form of a lasting memory. People who have taken some time to write a precious note like the one above is an example. In a few cases (like the painting I received from a team of colleagues), something material will also be treasured. The same can be said for a few awards that recognize legacy contribution. I can still remember receiving a prestigious Chairman’s award with two other colleagues for something called the “Cottage Strategy.” The work led by this group of people transformed a Fortune 50 company’s approach to the market. The walk up to the stage to share in the award is forever embossed in my mind. Yet, the gifts that have actually changed my life the most are the ones like the excerpt above, where someone has personally told me that I’ve made a difference to them.
Key Point: I think that a Starbucks card or bottle of wine are nice holiday season gifts, I really do. And I’ve been grateful when I’ve received or given them. Still, the gifts that keep on giving as the cliche goes, are those that cost nothing but your thoughtful time, and are truly priceless to the receiver. So who at work (besides your boss) might you give a big bright present made up of your most sincere gift of appreciation? What thoughtfully crafted words will you use to tell someone how much they’ve made a difference in your life? That gift will be opened many times.
Lead Yourself Moves:
How about if you take a quiet moment during a very busy holiday season to tell someone, in detail, how they’ve positively had an impact on you? It could be digital or actually a handwritten card. It will go into that person’s “big head file,” and on the day they really need it, it’s there to reopen. No returns or gift receipts required.
Lead Others Moves:
Take a moment to tell every direct report how you SEE them, and how much they matter to you and/or the organization’s or group’s purpose.
Lasting Gifts in Personal Leadership,
One Millennial View: There’s a reason secret Santa gifts are often gags, they aren’t expected to mean much or last very long. While the fish shaped neck tie or dollar store trinket is always fun, a meaningful note probably won’t wind up in the trash before New Years.
We invite you to take three minutes to watch/listen to our new podcast, “Lead In with Lorne Rubis: A Leadership Story to Start Off Your Week.”
This week’s podcast discusses the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone, with a personal story attached. Enjoy it on the YouTube video embedded below, and stay tuned for it to be available to access/subscribe to on iTunes and other audio options soon. We hope it enriches your Monday morning.
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Watch for the premiere of the Lead In With Lorne Podcast: A Leadership Story to Start Your Week, releasing Monday morning, Dec. 3.
Story: What the heck can we do about the rapidly emerging loneliness issue, as it relates to the workplace? “‘Despite sitting on a floor with hundreds of other people, work can feel really lonely,’ says 31-year-old Sarah, who works for a prestigious advertising agency in central London. ‘The company is huge but my team is small and we don’t really work together. I’m naturally quite shy too, so it can be hard to speak to start a conversation with someone in another department. I often feel left out and excluded…’ ‘When I’m at work now I’m just ‘head down.’ I never have time to go for lunch with people or pop out for an impromptu drink. People have stopped asking me now and I do feel like I’m missing out. Work used to be much more sociable.’” These quotes are from this article in The Telegraph, a well respected UK newspaper in a country that actually has a Minister of Loneliness. England has the research to understand that loneliness, including its residency in the workplace, is a major health and happiness matter for the entire British community. This insight applies to North America.
Most experts on the subject note that loneliness is not simply a disposition or personality trait. Rather, it consists of a person’s feeling about the adequacy and quality of his or her relationships in particular situations. It is also challenging to identify loneliness at work, in part because we assume being around lots of people is an antidote by itself. This is NOT a valid assumption. Loneliness likes to disguise itself too. Research into companies reporting high levels of exhaustion found that while employees were in fact exhausted, it wasn’t just because of the pace of work. They were actually exhausted because people were lonely, and that was manifesting itself in a feeling of exhaustion. As Peter Senge notes, “cause and effect are not closely related in space and time.”
So what can we do about this? Obviously the matter of workplace loneliness cannot adequately be addressed in a short blog. I hope these words increase awareness worthy of more discussion. At the same time, there are some things we can do in the spirit of thinking big, starting small and acting now. People that study loneliness recommend CLOSENESS as a meaningful antidote to loneliness. This is a feeling of being both understood AND valued; what we’re all really craving when we are lonely.
Lead Yourself Moves:
We can each do something about our personal loneliness. Kira Asatryan, author of Stop Being Lonely, emphasizes: “You can create this feeling of closeness with anyone else who also wants to feel it. Closeness doesn’t have to be something that happens randomly or by accident—it is within your control to do something about it.” See that person, tell them you care about their happiness and well-being. Knowing and caring is a powerful combination.
Lead Others Moves:
If you accept the obligation to lead others, I strongly believe you have a responsibility to get CLOSE to the people who work for and around you. This means to really know them (personally connect) AND provide an opportunity for each to fully contribute so they feel a sense of meaningful belonging. Create closeness! That’s part of your job as a leader.
Closeness in Personal Leadership,
One Millennial View: Yeah, this is certainly a complicated issue that doesn’t have an easy or short answer. You can’t really force team lunches or happy hours with any guaranteed positive results, and in my opinion, there is nothing more unstimulating than an office “icebreaker” session where we waste an hour learning that Brad has three cats, and Kim likes to scrapbook. It’s such a lazy effort at this point. But we can take our own steps to develop natural progression to desired closeness, and even a small start is a step further from the loneliness of doing nothing.