How to Earn More Trust at Work

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect

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Story: Throughout my career I’ve heard people blurt out, often in exasperation, “I just don’t trust ___!” TRUST is one of the most fleeting and challenging values amongst people at work. What can we practically do to address this? Respected leadership consultants Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman recently published important work on trust based on substantial research. Three key elements emerged: Judgment, Relationships and Consistency. Of the three, which do you think had the biggest trust impact?

Key Point: Positive relationships have the biggest impact on trust, period. The authors note:  “Intuitively we thought that consistency would be the most important element. Saying one thing and doing another seems like it would hurt trust the most. While our analysis showed that inconsistency does have a negative impact (trust went down 17 points), it was relationships that had the most substantial impact. When relationships were low and both judgment and consistency were high, trust went down 33 points. This may be because many leaders are seen as occasionally inconsistent. We all intend to do things that don’t get done, but once a relationship is damaged or if it was never formed in the first place, it’s difficult for people to trust.”

My observation is that building and maintaining positive relationships requires our personal energy and intentional investment. Yet, people too often under invest in caring about the situation or concerns of people who work around them. We obviously know relationship building is important, still we seem to show up most when WE need something. That does little to inspire trust. Are you known as a builder and investor in positive relationships? Do people trust you?

Actions we can take:

Based on Zenger/Folkman’s findings, investing in and building positive relationships for increasing trust includes (but not limited to): Proactively staying in touch on the issues and concerns of others; balancing results with concern; generating cooperation; resolving conflicts; giving honest feedback in a helpful way.                              

  1. After reading this, take one small action to proactively invest in an underdeveloped relationship at work.

More investment in positive relationships,

Lorne

One Millennial View: We’ve talked a lot in these blogs about the value of giving people respect, in contradiction to the more popular take that someone should have to earn our respect. Trust, whether we like it or not, is still very much an “earned” value, and that’s completely understandable to me. How are we supposed to put trust in someone we don’t know, let alone don’t have any relationship with? We all put in the hours at work to earn a paycheck, but perhaps trust is another valuable currency that deserves a few hours of our time each week too.

– Garrett

Blog 966

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

What if I Did Opposition Research on You?

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect

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Story: Over the last few weeks, I’ve heard more vigorous commentary and support for the concept of opposition research. Most often it is in the context of the rough and tumble world of politics. For example, “if they would have done their opposition research, they would have found that out earlier and clobbered the person on the other side.” So I was thinking of starting up an opposition research firm specifically for the workplace. Maybe I could call it: “F YOU UP” Our mission statement: “We find out everything and crush who’s in your way.” If you contact my firm, let me know who you’re competing with for a position at work, and we will dig up the dirt including but not limited to old yearbooks, teen years, so-called expunged legal records, divorce filings, finance issues, medical records, anything we can find on the dark web, and of course all early social media. We then promise to have bots/trolls place our salacious findings everywhere your bosses and colleagues can see it. We promise to crush your opposition!! (Money back guarantee). But wait, there’s more. For no extra cost we will throw in opposition research on one long time friend. Wouldn’t it be cool over dinner to drop a little “turd in the punch bowl?” “Hey, tell me about when you _____,” then watch ‘em squirm!

Key Point: I’m obviously being totally facetious. I do get that politics is a win-lose game. I also recognize that one has to be “street wise.” However I am concerned that we could lose our balance on this matter. Most of us thankfully do no not break the law or overstep a reasonable moral code. If we do, the system, while imperfect, is there to address it. It also includes punishment and eventually forgiveness along the way. As human beings, we make stupid mistakes and hopefully learn and move beyond. Thankfully we get to wrestle with many of those privately. With the exception of the most egregious situations, we deserve to evolve so our life of contribution is measured by all we’ve done to make the world better. The idea of catching people doing things right versus researching to find what they’ve done wrong is of much more value to all. (Btw, if we knew about and publicized every stupid thing current CEOs did in their past, I believe we would have 100 percent turn over).

Actions you can take:

  1. Don’t be a gossip at work (or anywhere). Ask yourself who is being served by such talk.
  2. Think of competing against yourself to become a better contributing human being first. (Of course, protect yourself from someone who may hurt you).
  3. Let people see your strengths. Be abundant. DO NOT try to make yourself look better by making others look worse. It decays our collective soul.

For You in Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: Character assassination by way of opposition research is in most cases, for lack of a better word, lame. Imagine hypothetically if instead of putting in the work to prepare for the Super Bowl, the Los Angeles Rams successfully protested to the NFL about the New England Patriots’ alleged former on-field indescretions. The NFL forces the Patriots to forfeit, and declares the Rams world champions by way of disqualification. Even though they did lose in real life, no competitive Rams player would want to win that way. In the workplace, if there are promotions by way of using opposition research to make others look worse, then where’s the personal satisfaction or morality in that? 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

Why Purpose Matters When Cheers Fade and Pain Increases

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect

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Story: I have personally been involved with a professional sports franchise that brought current players and alumni together. When you put professional athletes from multiple generations in the same room, one sees the difference. The guys in Armani suits drinking fancy martinis look very different from beer drinking men in baggy old slacks. Virtually all current tier one male professional athletes are multi-millionaires. Their brothers from the past are starkly different. And many who starred in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s are below the poverty line, some even on welfare, with lousy health to boot. Lots of retired NFL players make the past athletic landscape even more ugly with serious opioid addictions that often lead to detrimental and painful outcomes. Read this Sunday NYT article for a staggering description of this NFL situation.

Key Point: Pro sports provide a poignant micro picture of what happens when people leave the spotlight. It is less dramatic in corporate life. However, I can assure you that people who wrap up their entire sense of purpose and well being into their work will be disappointed in a somewhat similar way. Executives will find that their “email prestige” stops almost overnight, and the loss of an executive assistant, expense account, and a full calendar of meetings leaves a world potentially more empty than anticipated. People at other levels will be surprised at how replaceable they are and the promise of staying in touch with most teammates inevitably fades, regardless of how well intended the commitment.

Actions we can take:

  1. It is vital that we keep developing ourselves. NO ONE else owns your career development. Do not depend on anyone waking up thinking about what your next steps are going to be, or how your personal equity is increasing.
  2. Remember that your job is usually NOT your life’s purpose. Hopefully it is a medium to act that out, but it’s generally NOT why you are here. You can lose a job, a career even, yet always retain your purpose and values. Discover that personal purpose. Be intentional about your values.
  3. If you are doing anything that brings so much pain that you find yourself with an addiction, it is not worth it. No amount of money can ease that kind of pain.

After the spotlight,

Lorne

One Millennial View: I remember being fascinated by an up-and-coming comedian telling a story on a podcast where he opened for a larger comedian at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. One minute he’s performing in front of 20,000 people at a legendary venue, and then when the show was over, he returned by himself to his quiet apartment in Queens. The next weekend, he was performing the same material for an unenthused gathering of 20 people in a small club in upstate New York. The giant contrast is a blunt reminder of the ups and downs we can all experience in our careers. Still, whether it was for 20,000 people, or 20, the purpose and values underlying his job remained the same. In this case, it was to spark laughter, but even with an enormous contradiction of audience size, he never asked that funny question, “what am I doing with my life?”

– Garrett

Blog 964

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

Why Leaders Should Resist Phony Management Buzzwords

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect

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Story: Organizations are notorious for throwing new management buzzwords and concepts around like a manure spreader gone out of control. Someone at the top of the house emphasizes a new phrase or concept and BINGO, within weeks it’s in almost every company presentation. If you don’t liberally sprinkle around the newest phrase, you find yourself on the outs with the “cool kids.”

Key Point: I do love jumping on emerging leadership insights when they’re supported by solid research. (In fact, I have to be careful not to be one of those buzz folks myself). Carol Dweck’s work on a FIXED MINDSET versus GROWTH MINDSET is an example. The upside is provoking people to think, learn, unlearn and act more effectively. But the downside can be oversimplification and the tyranny of people faking a phony level of understanding. It is seductive to chase shiny new things and search for a magic management elixir. However, we have to be mindful of the harm of political tyranny outweighing the good of thoughtful application. To illustrate, let’s look a little more at GROWTH MINDSET.

As noted by one of Dweck’s colleagues Eduardo Briceño, “growth mindset is the understanding that personal qualities and abilities can change. It leads people to take on challenges, persevere in the face of setbacks, and become more effective learners.” However, Dweck defines the risk of having a FALSE GROWTH MINDSET. “Saying you have growth mindset when you don’t really have it or you don’t really understand [what it is]. It’s also false in the sense that nobody has a growth mindset in everything all the time. Everyone is a mixture of fixed and growth mindsets. You could have a predominant growth mindset in an area but there can still be things that trigger you into a fixed mindset trait.”

Actions we can take:

  1. When embracing new concepts, allow yourself and others to soak in the understanding and meaning. This requires an investment of time, conversation, exploration and thoughtful introduction into the relevant community. Be wary of overnight trends that could distract and soon vanish, leaving a garbage trail.
  2. Resist the tyranny of jumping on superficial management buzz and bandwagons. Plain, clear language is best. When we introduce new words, thoughts or approaches, appreciate that regurgitation is not necessarily true understanding.

Less fake buzz in leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: New phrases and lingo can be fun. Millennials can seemingly upgrade social status by being ahead of the curve on this. But it’s like a car, as soon as you drive it off the lot [share it, say it], it starts rapidly depreciating in value, and time starts ticking to find a new model to replace it. The same goes for phony buzz at work. To some, it’s cheap and disingenuous right out of the gate. Let the concept sell itself because it has genuine longevity and value, not because it has a temporary ring to it.

– Garrett

Blog 963

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis  

 

Is the ‘Hustle Culture’ a Swindle?

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect

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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,

Lorne  

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.