Mother Mary and What’s Ahead?

Accountability Be Accountable


Key Point: My mother Mary is 88 years old and has seen a lot of changes in her life. Yet, relatively speaking, her experience has been mostly linear or incremental over nine decades. The changes in front of us however, will be exponential rather than linear. So what does that mean?

My sweet mom is a hero to me. She had to leave home at the age of 14 because my grandparents could not practically support her and two other children in a one room, log cabin on a ¼ section of scrub and rocks in northern Alberta. She took a train to Camrose, Alberta (which was like going to Mars), and worked as a chambermaid at the Alice hotel. Her room in the hotel was an old closet she cleaned out so she had a place to sleep. She met and married a shy 20-year-old farm boy at 17, and had me at 20. She and Dad lived on a ¼ section and mixed farmed; no power, no running water, outdoor toilet, and no vehicle. My brother arrived three years later and to make ends meet, my dad would try to work in the oil patch in the fall/winter. This meant him being away while my mom single handedly milked eight cows, did all the chores, looked after two infants, lugged water 30 meters from the well to the clapboard house, and navigated brutal winters… All on her own. I can still remember her delight when we moved to the city in 1956, and she walked around our little rented house flicking the light switches on and off. Her story gets even better… We’ll save that for another day. Thank you, Mom!

The startling reality is that the many changes my mom experienced will feel pedestrian compared to what futurists like Peter Diamandis predict. Examine all of Peter’s forecasts by reading his complete newsletter. In the meantime, here’s a dozen that may blow your mind:


Quantum Supremacy Achieved: The first demonstration of a quantum computation that can’t be simulated with classical supercomputers is announced.


Flying car operations take off in a dozen cities in the world.

The 5G Network unleashes 10-100 gigabit connection speeds for mobile phones around the world.


Robots are commonplace in most middle-income homes, able to reliably read lips and recognize face, mouth and hand gestures.

All toys are ‘smart’ with built-in machine learning.


The first private human missions have launched for the surface of Mars.

The first ‘one cent per kilowatt-hour’ deals for solar and wind are signed.


Car ownership is dead and autonomous cars dominate our roadways.

100,000 people commute by VTOL each day in L.A., Tokyo, Sao Paulo and London.


Solar and wind represent nearly 100 percent of new electricity generation.

Autonomous, electric vehicles account for half of all miles driven in large city centers.


AI passes the Turing test, meaning it can match (and exceed) human intelligence in every area.

Humanity has achieved ‘Longevity Escape Velocity’ for the wealthiest.


Medical nanorobots demonstrated in humans are able to extend the immune system.

Avatar Robots become popular, allowing everyone the ability to ‘teleport’ their consciousness to remote locations all over the world.


Companies like Kernel have made significant, reliable connections between the human cortex and the Cloud.

Robots act as maids, butlers, nurses and nannies, and become full companions. They support extended elderly independence at home.


Longevity treatments are routinely available and covered by life insurance policies, extending the average human lifespan 30-40 years.


Everyday life is now unrecognizable – incredibly good and hyper VR and AI augment all parts of the world and every aspect of daily human life.”

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Learn how the be adaptive in an exponential world. How might you prepare to live on a planet that in 20 years is “unrecognizable?”
  2. Mother Mary might have lived most of her life in an incremental world. However, her resilience and adaptive DNA like that within your ancestors, belongs to all of us. We will need to source every ounce of it. Tap into it with confidence. How exciting!

Unrecognizable moves in Personal Leadership,


One Millennial View: Some of these are crazier than others, but back when us Millennials were playing Snake II on our Nokia phones, who knew we’d one day be annoyed if we didn’t get something called “free wifi?” Robot nannies, Mars colonization, Longevity Escape Velocity, VTOL commuting and AI passing the Turing test sound pretty nuts… But, then again, I just asked Alexa what time the University of Arizona’s NCAA March Madness basketball game was on tonight.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

‘Trickies’ Related to Modern Marketing



Key Point: The world of marketing is getting turned upside down, yet it remains so much the same. Sellers always look to find ways to emotionally connect so we might purchase products. How do we navigate through it?

I just attended the kick-off of the 2018 SXSW extravaganza in Austin, TX. So many insights are washing over me, that I’m honestly struggling a little to sort through what’s going on and how it’s personally impacting me. Let me give you some examples of this headspace swirl I’m in.

  • I had a chance to hang out in a cool, intimate setting on E. 6th St. (Dirty Sixth, they call it), with people like Michael Loeb (a high impact billionaire), and “Mr. Crush It,” Gary Vaynerchuk. I was heartened by their genuine focus on encouraging and investing in leaders and companies that both advance humankind AND make lots of money. They both talked about generosity and abundance. How cool is that?
  • I also was intrigued to hear 18-year-old entrepreneur, Connor Blakley, founder of YouthLogic, school the audience about how Gen Z thinks and acts. He actively helps brands work with high impact social influencers (Ariana Grande, Pharrell, Kendall Jenner, etc). They have an inordinately big impact on brand performance, (ask Snapchat). And if you don’t understand micro-influencers, you are out of the loop.
  • Then I come to grips with Google owned YouTube’s AI driven business model and realize that when I watch a video, their algorithms will move me to more extreme videos. The sad news is that the algorithms seem to point us towards the more intense or inflammatory information, leveraging our natural tendencies to see “what’s behind the curtain.” YouTube knows we have a natural curiosity to dig deeper, because the more and longer we look at videos, advertisement sales go up (see Professor Zeynep Tufekci’s op-ed from this Sunday’s NYT).
  • And then I learn about new research from MIT, and find out that lies or false stories spread farther and faster than truthful content. To make it more uncomfortable, the research points out that real people, often barely credible ones from a “follow” metric, are capable of spreading falsehoods every bit as much as “bots” or trolls. Geez (see this article by Sinan Aral).

Ok, and just to put all this in perspective, I went to a health fair at SXSW and bought, from a classic “snake oil” salesman, what are essentially punched out metal dog-tags that apparently will change my electrical system and right 60-plus years of abuse to my bod. (Garrett was so disgusted with my naivety that he reminded me that his mother once banned me from watching the shopping network after the arrival of the electronic 6-pack abs maker ☺).

So while social media, macro and micro social influencers, bots, trolls, hucksters, AI, learning algorithms, fake news, conspiracies, etc. will explode and become trickier in attempting to manipulate us, we more than ever need value-based leaders and astute consumers of content.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. As a consumer, become more aware than ever that little or nothing shows up by coincidence in our online world. Become more knowledgeable of how big content purveyors like Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc, really work. Nothing is ever truly free. Be aware of the sincerity of influence from people you follow.
  2. Leaders – If you’re not truly advancing humankind in the best way, then ask yourself if your business model is worth selling your soul for. Why, not how, might we make the world better AND make money?

Modern marketing and ethics in personal leadership,


One Millennial View: De-monetization, shadow banning, etc, are also new terms that I’ve learned from those trying to navigate the algorithms of giants like YouTube and Twitter within the last couple years. As recently as March 12, popular vlogger and overall positivity-machine Roman Atwood announced that he was going to stop daily vlogs on YouTube and focus his efforts in a separate direction because he believes YouTube has intentions to force daily vloggers to fade out. (He has 14 million subscribers, btw). It’s wild out there, but thanks to awesome information from festivals like SXSW, and ongoing discussions, we can all attempt to navigate these rapids as best as possible. Hopefully world improvement and money making won’t capsize in the “stream.”

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Mundare, Alberta & Self-Efficacy



Key Point: The story you tell yourself about you is vital. You ARE the author, and like any good tale it usually has a plot with many ups and downs. How will it end?

Mundare, Alberta, has a population of about 800 folks and is the consummate small, prairie town (and as seen above, renowned for producing celebrated Ukrainian sausage). It has also produced one of the world’s most influential psychologists, Albert Bandura. Two eachers taught Albert every course from grade one to 12. Rather than a handicap, Albert framed it as an advantage: He reportedly said, “It enabled me to learn to take responsibility for my own educational development.” In 1977, Bandura published a paper on self-efficacy which changed the way much of the world viewed success and motivation. His work sprung the notion that people with high self-assurance approach difficult tasks as challenges, rather than threats to be avoided. If you believe with every ounce of your being, then you’ll go a long way towards achieving your personal objectives.

People with high self-efficacy are very self-accountable and take steps to make things they want to happen. They do not procrastinate. They start NOW. They raise their hands more, practice more, get it wrong, and try it again. They worry much less about who’s watching or judging. What they DO NOT do is equally important. They do not tear themselves down with self-blame, do not quickly lose confidence, and do not avoid risks. They are resilient and realize it’s never too late to start.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. We are all storytellers and YOUR OWN story, the one you tell yourself, is THE most important one.
  2. Great storytellers are made not born. Believe in YOUR story. Write it out! Put it down on paper. Think big and start small… Most importantly, start today.
  3. Work on developing high self-efficacy by being confident and humble. Accept failure and resistance as just experiences that build more confidence, rather than self-defeat. You write a page in your story every day. What will fill yours?

Your story in personal leadership,


One Millennial View: I’d like to think I naturally lean towards a self-efficacy lifestyle, but that part of my story would be a bit of a fib. I want to, but for me, it’s a challenge and does not come easy. I have to make an effort to concentrate on these steps. That said, I know it’s worth it. After all, it’s tough to tell your story if you try to fill your pages by tapping your pen on a piece of paper. 

– Garrett

Offer a Continuous Buyout?



Key Point: People should want to work for a company, and not feel obligated to stay (and vice versa). As reported by the Financial Post, “Shaw Communications Inc. will eliminate 25 percent of its workforce after about 3,300 employees accepted buyouts, five times more departures than originally anticipated as the company charts its path into a digital future. The Calgary-based communications giant announced… the results of its voluntary buyout program, stating it expects to take a $450 million charge in the second quarter of fiscal 2018 in relation to the massive restructuring. That includes severance and other employee costs, as well as expenses for the initiative it’s calling a ‘total business transformation.’ Shaw offered packages to 6,500 employees in late January. At the time, it said it expected only 650 employees to accept the offer.”

Wow! What does it say about an organization when you give them an incentive to leave and 25 percent want out? Perhaps an even more important question is; how can you miss estimating how many people actually want to leave by 5x? In fact, 25 percent moving on might be a great number if you hope to reinvent your company, and need a major injection of new talent. If I was on that board, I’d be asking some very tough questions. I’d be most concerned with leadership not being more in touch, than the fact that 1/4 of the entire workforce chose the long term uncertainty of unemployment rather than to stay with the company. And saying the offer was too rich is an oversimplification. No one is getting rich on this, or most other corporate buyouts.

It’s easy to take pot shots at Shaw from a distance, and I certainly don’t have the entire picture. Running a cable/communications company in this disruptive environment has to be very challenging. However, I think there is lots to learn from this for all companies. I believe every company should have a standing buyout offer similar to Shaw’s. If people would rather leave – please go. Quitting ON the job, or having the wrong skill/attitude combination, has to be the biggest cost for any company. Surely, having a defined self-selected path out would make it easier for all. The flipside is that companies should also be able to ask a person to involuntarily take a buyout if, for whatever reason, they don’t see that individual as part of the future. In this case, it would be clear that EVERYONE was all-in. At the same time, leadership would be more committed to having a very attractive purpose/vision, great culture and team members would be more self-accountable for bringing their very best every day.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. If you were presented with the Shaw offer (reported to be six months of pay plus one month for every year spent at the company), would you take it? What does your answer tell you? How many of your colleagues would take it? How confident are you with the estimate?
  2. Let’s all work at changing the stupidity of “golden handcuffs,” and the phony time wasted with outdated, Dilbert inspired performance management. You and I are both giving and receiving value, or we’re out. Contrary to many of my recommendations, it actually is that simple and not that hard. And it’s likely over a long career you and I will experience both options. Yay!

Loving buyouts in Personal Leadership,


One Millennial View: I don’t think many people wish to be in the shoes of a leader at a cable company in this Netflix, YouTubeTV, and HBONow era. It must be tough. And, I think us Millennials understand the temptation of ditching a gig for a buyout. Instant gratification? For better or worse, that’s kind of our language. That said, most of us would rather swipe right on a company and not completely want to bail after one date. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Upside Down Leadership



Key Point: Overall, leadership isn’t getting much better. Even though organizations are spending tons of money on leadership development, statistically we aren’t seeing much leadership improvement. According to a recent HBR article: “70 percent of leaders rate themselves as inspiring and motivating – much in the same way as we all rate ourselves as great drivers. But this stands in stark contrast to how employees perceive their leaders. A survey published by Forbes found that 65 percent of employees would forego a pay raise if it meant seeing their leader fired, and a 2016 Gallup engagement survey found that 82 percent of employees see their leaders as fundamentally uninspiring. In our opinion, these two things are directly related. There is a vast upside to human leadership. As data from McKinsey & Company shows, when employees are intrinsically motivated, they are 32 percent more committed and 46 percent more satisfied with their job and perform 16 percent better.”

The idea that there is a vast upside to human leadership is a head scratcher. I guess somewhere along the road we signed up for inhuman leadership? And 65 percent would forego a raise to see their boss fired? Holy cow! So, how might we rapidly change this so-called inhuman leadership?

Based on 40 plus years of real world experience and leading research, I suggest the following:

  1. Allow employees to transparently rate leaders in confidential ways. The data trend would be your friend, or not. If we used a minimum number of input (10 people?) to openly rate leaders, we would see leadership improve dramatically. The audience is usually right. People have a right to great leaders. Continued poor ratings would require leaders to improve or be replaced.
  2. Expect that every leader should ask for feedback FIRST. Leaders like the ability and even expect to give feedback to direct reports. However, modern research reinforces the value of leaders creating psychologically safer environments, by setting the foundation for meaningful conversations and asking how they might improve first!
  3. Change one-on-one meetings to have leaders ask only two questions: How might I help you? What might I do better to advance our purpose?
  4. Adjust the span of leadership control to a minimum of 20 to 1. Leaders spend too much time “checking up” rather than adding value. Most of the time meetings are for leaders’ need to know and command/control. In more modern systems, leaders are more like gardeners than commanders.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. How are you rated as a leader by your direct reports? Would you be recommended to a friend? Family member? If Uber drivers are rated, shouldn’t you, me and all leaders be too?
  2. Get out in front and ask for feedback first. Say “thank you,” and go forward.

Turning things right side up in personal leadership,


One Millennial View: For Millennials, it seems that the most attractive organizations to work for offer as much autonomy as possible. If a leader doesn’t trust that their employees know how to do their job, then why the heck did they hire them? That said, leaders should also be revered. It’s FUN to have a great leader: A mentor you look up to, a person you want to perform well for, and someone with the ability to give you occasional positive acknowledgment or a kick-in-the-pants if need be. Leaders should strive to be bragged about by their employees at happy hour, not the subject of a “screw them” toast.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis