Personal Leadership: The Best Blogs of 2017 E-Book

Abundance Accountability Books Character Triangle Personal leadership Respect

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Dear Readers,

Key Point: We write our blogs for you (and us). You give us the gift of reading them and much encouragement. Thank you!

So, just like last year, we wanted to give readers a “Best of 2017” e-book that we’ve created with 12 of the most well-received and thought provoking blogs.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Please enjoy this e-book and share it with those you care for.

Season’s best greetings, and here’s to a happy 2018!

– Lorne and Garrett

Culture Cast: 8 Ingredients to Build a Great Culture at Work Through Personal Leadership (Part 1)

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Podcast Respect

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Hey Culture Cast fans! In Season 2, Episode 3, Lorne and Lynette unpack and discuss 4 of the 8 ingredients to help build a great culture in an organization through personal leadership values at the workplace. 1. Look at your organization from the “People First” lens. 2. Do people connect with your purpose on a personal level? 3. Build standardization and commitment on values. 4. Be clear about what your expectations as a leader are.

Please listen on Soundcloud and iTunes, and don’t forget to rate and review.

If listeners have any questions or thoughts, feel free to email the podcast at CultureCastPodcast@gmail.com.

Also, please follow the podcast @CultureCastPod1 on Twitter, and advance the conversation.

Culture Cast: Why to Disrupt, Transform and Switch to Google G-Suite

Abundance Accountability Podcast

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Hey Culture Cast fans! In Season 2, Episode 2, Lorne and Lynette discuss their Work Reimagined program that implemented a company wide Google G-Suite transformation. They look inside “why?” they decided to make the transformation, and take a deep dive into change management and how to influence 5,000+ people to make a big, disruptive adjustment. 

Please listen on Soundcloud and iTunes, and don’t forget to rate and review.

If listeners have any questions or thoughts, feel free to email the podcast at CultureCastPodcast@gmail.com.

Also, please follow the podcast @CultureCastPod1 on Twitter, and advance the conversation.

How Groups Can Make Fatal Decisions

Accountability

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Key Point: According to Wikipedia, “Groupthink” is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Most of us are familiar with this concept, yet it thrives and will always be a concern regarding the impact on quality decision making within groups. What are the symptoms of Groupthink? According to the people who teach the Directors Education Program at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, be aware of the following:

  • “Illusions of invulnerability: Members of the group overemphasize the strength of the group and feel that they are beyond criticism or attack. This symptom leads the group to approve risky actions about which individual members might have serious concerns.
  • Illusions of unanimity: Group members accept consensus prematurely, without testing whether or not all members really agree. Silence is often taken for agreement.
  • Illusions of group morality: Members of the group feel that it is “right” and above reproach by outside members. Thus, members feel no need to debate ethical issues.
  • Stereotyping of the ‘enemy’ as weak, evil, or stupid: Members do not realistically examine their competitors and oversimplify their motives. The stated aims of outside groups or anticipated reactions of outsiders are not considered.
  • Self-censorship by members: Members refuse to communicate concerns by others because of fear of disturbing the consensus.
  • Mind-guarding: Some members take responsibility to ensure that negative feedback does not reach influential group members.
  • Direct pressure: In the unlikely event that a note of caution or concern is interjected, other members quickly respond with pressure to bring the deviant back into line.”

This past weekend I was fortunate to be a student in the Directors Education Program and went through a few exercises that highlighted how seductive groupthink is, even to an experienced group of leaders familiar with its dangers. One business case that we used to refresh ourselves had the same elements and conditions that underscored the tragic explosion of NASA’s Space Shuttle Challenger. On Jan 28, 1986, the tenth flight of Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven crew members. Investigation of this tragedy revealed that key people recommended the shuttle not fly due to quality concerns with the infamous “O” rings under cold weather conditions. But Groupthink, including almost every symptom above, resulted in the right decision being overruled; with fatal consequences. While most groups we are part of do NOT make life or death decisions, we still need to fiercely guard against Groupthink. This aligns with the principle I often write about: The ability of high performing groups to fight well.

Personal Leadership Moves:

Familiarize yourself with the Guidelines for Avoiding Groupthink (also from the Rotman people).

  1. “Assign the role of the critical evaluator to each group member; encourage the sharing of objections
  2. Avoid, as the leader, clear statements about your preferred alternative.
  3. Create subgroups or subcommittees, each working on the same problem.
  4. Require that members of the group make use of the information available to them through their subordinates, peers and networks.
  5. Invite outside experts to observe and evaluate group process and outcome.
  6. Assign a member to play the devil’s advocate role at each meeting.
  7. Focus on alternative scenarios for the motivation and intentions of competitors.
  8. Once consensus is reached, reexamine the next (but unchosen) alternative, comparing it to the chosen course of action.”

No Groupthink in Personal Leadership

– Lorne

One Millennial View: I’m thrilled this is a subject being touched on. I personally believe we should be way more focused on promoting the “individual” instead of any type of Groupthink. Everything at work can be considered case-by-case, and if we’re too quick to just “Groupthink,” it can be a lazy and over simplified way to problem solve that can clearly lead to big mistakes.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Pandering HR Can Mess Culture Up

Accountability

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Key Point: People change behavior based on social interactions NOT because of some pay or performance system. Speaking as a former Chief People Officer, I think too many Human Resource (HR) professionals screw things up with good intentions, by pandering to business leaders who want some “silver bullet” HR tool or system to do their work as LEADERS.  When “bosses” don’t have the skill, will, or capability to inspire people to contribute in ways they want, they sometimes plead for HR to come up with that magical “talent performance system” or “ pay incentive plan,” so suddenly we might all snap to attention and behave just the way we are supposed to. By the way, how do you like to be “performance managed?” And don’t you like the idea that because someone “drops a few more pellets,” you and I will somehow jump up like a lab rat to behave differently? (Don’t get me wrong… I like to make lots of money. However, no pay system, however it’s designed, is going to be the prime driver for what I do and stand for).

As leaders, our job is to create a culture, a “social construct” in which people can embed themselves. Being part of that culture needs to become far more important than any punishments or rewards an employee gets. Being a member of the group becomes an end in itself. If you’ve ever been part of a team or group that you deeply care about, you know what I’m talking about. It’s about the gratifying connection of being in a band of sisters and brothers, working towards a meaningful purpose, and never wanting to let each other down.

Jason Korman, the co-founder and CEO of Gapingvoid (an innovative and leading culture design firm), describes culture as a social construct. Ben Hardy, an organization/industrial psychologist, writes about Korman’s views in a great Huffington Post article. The following captures some key points I fully resonate with:

“Change doesn’t happen through training or rewards, Korman argues, it happens socially. Rather than raises, being a part of THIS TEAM is how an employee will gain a deep sense of meaning, purpose, and connection in their life. Thus, according to Korman, leaders need to move their way up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and stop focusing on the base needs. Move up to the esteem needs, the needs for connection, and ultimately self-actualization, which can and should happen as a member of the in-group or social culture. Getting people embedded into the social construct.

So how do you get people embedded in such cultures? If you look at organizations like Zappos, when you become a member you become a ‘Zapponian.’


In other words, a person needs to tie their identity to the group. There needs to rituals and relics. There must be buy-in to the shared beliefs and behaviors that are part of the in-group. There needs to be deep connection-making happening, where people in the group learn from each other, become comfortable with each other, and develop trust. It’s not about punishments and rewards. Once a person is experiencing deep meaning and purpose from being a member of the community, their performance will naturally rise. In other words, once a person is experiencing deep connection and purpose from being a part of something bigger than themselves, you won’t be able to stop them from performing. Why? Because company outcomes will become EMOTIONAL. It won’t be about not getting a raise if an organizational outcome isn’t hit. It will be about the group not fulfilling its mission. When such is the case, good luck stopping people from working until the results happen.

When organizations can create true social cultures, wherein their employees experience a deep of meaning and purpose, and thus org outcomes become EMOTIONAL, then clients and customers will become very happy and business will become highly profitable.”

And yes, HR systems can really help. However, they need to help with attractive “pull” rather than “command” push. Advanced HR leaders know this and design accordingly.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Do you know what and how to grow a great culture? Or do you think it’s just kinda topical to talk about it? How would you go about doing it? Could you outline your leadership construct for doing so ?
  2. If you want to add a cultural framework to your leadership practice, understand how to create incredible purpose that advances humankind and and an environment that emotionally connects people towards travelling to that never-end. It’s hard to do and yet magical when the movement becomes a wave with its own energy system.
  3. I’ve offered our 8 ingredient system for building a great culture . Let me know if you want it and I will share it. If you want me to personally present it to your team or company, as ATB’s Chief Evangelist, I would be happy to do so on a Google Hangout on Air or Google Meet. Send the request to my EA, Kalbert@atb.com. Your investment is to join in serious conversation and make a modest charitable donation through our giving vehicle, ATB Cares. ATB is committed to making banking work for people AND wherever invited, we openly share the learnings of our imperfect journey to help organizations develop more meaningful and adaptive cultures.

Culture in Personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: This seems spot on. As stated above, anyone who’s been part of a team they care about knows that it’s much more about performing to better the outcome for everyone than just one self. That’s why good coaches condemn selfishness. But also, more “wins” for the team at large should also equal more personal victories. So essentially, being an unselfish team player is how you earn the best results for yourself.

– Garrett