Make a Fist, Stay Still and Squeeze!

Abundance Accountability Respect

FlipboardTwitterLinkedInFacebook

Story: Getting major surgery puts you in contact with a range of health care workers outside of just a phenomenal surgeon and operating team. They include a cadre of nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, clinicians, food service folks, receptionists, and custodians. I was in the hospital from pre-operating admission Sept. 6 at 11 a.m., to final discharge on Sept. 8 at 1 p.m. For the record, and to the date of this publication, I couldn’t be more grateful for the health support I’ve received. To keep all of this in perspective, I have a brand NEW knee, and however one defines the entire experience, that’s a WOW! At the same time, if any in one the health industry or any student of culture, leadership and work wants to learn from my experience, there is much to reflect on.

Key Point: I believe there are a few differentiating categories of personas working simultaneously in every organization. This was reinforced during my hospital stay. How is that possible? What are the implications? I would broadly define the groups this way:

  1. The “I’m All In:” This person completes their work with the organization’s purpose and values clearly understood, at the front end of everything they do. They treat you as if you were getting this surgery done for the first time (which I was), and not as just another ho-hum knee replacement. They have enormous compassion. As tired, short staffed, poorly equipped, etc. that they might be, the patient/customer would never know. They make you feel like they were assigned there just for you, and their commitment to heal and make you feel much better as quickly as possible is literal.
  2. The “I’m a Jobber:” This person is there to do a job, and that’s primarily it. They feel a combination of exhausted, overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated. They may like a few of their co-workers, and feel it’s necessary to put up with whiny, entitled patients, as well as the incompetent knobs from other departments that make their jobs tougher. After doing this for ___ years, their best times are pay days and/or shift-end. As a patient, you are viewed primarily as a transaction.
  3. The “I’m a Hater:” This person hides it well enough to keep from being fired. However, they mostly hate their jobs, co-workers, the organization and most of all patients. If you look closely enough, you can see or feel their sneer of contempt. At their very worst, they enjoy showing you who is really in control, even if it causes you a little discomfort. They know they will likely never see you again. “Good riddance” is what they consciously or unconsciously mutter. They actually intentionally sabotage the culture.

So during my customer stay, I experienced the entire continuum of personas. I ran into someone who was totally compassionate about getting ahead of my pain management, and another who seemed way more interested in managing time intervals and dosage. (I.E., “I care much less if you’re suffering than me following the rules, even if pain medication isn’t working).”

I was served by someone who recognized that the crutches I brought in were too short, and even though their shift was nearly over, went out of their way to get me new ones and set them up. Some people around me answered my buzz on the call button with urgent concern. Others treated me like I was a big pain in the behind, and to feel a little ashamed asking for help. One food service person smacked the lunch tray on the counter, way out of my reach. When I politely asked if they could place it on my bed tray, they told me to call the nurse. One person took blood samples with eye contact and a reassuring smile, while another made zero connection – “just tighten your fist, stay still, and release.” Overall, one could not help but feel that much of the discharge experience had little to with healing, and everything to do with paperwork, legal compliance and a push out the door.

I have many more examples of behavior that fits into each personna. And that’s what is both challenging and exceptionally interesting about culture, organizations and work. Companies that are made up primarily of “All In’s” are fundamentally and exponentially better at the individual, leadership and business process level. This is hard to do. Companies made up primarily of “haters” go out of business over time. I think the most common organizations have all three in play. That makes it difficult. In most cases, leaders over simplify by saying they just need to fire, then hire more “All In’s.” Super great leaders and organizations inspire everyone to be an “All In” most of the time. That’s the hard work of the hard work. 

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. What is the category breakdown in your company? (Recognizing that people are not always perfect, but mostly in one category or another). If you’re less than 80 percent “All In,” you are at best, average.
  2. What will you do about it?  

Giving blood in Personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: Yeah, I’m pretty sure we’ve all worked with people that fall into these three categories. It’s disappointing when you hear it exists at a hospital. Goes to show you, even a hospital with enough haters is destined to flatline.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

Wahoo! Microdosing in Retirement?

Abundance Accountability Respect

FlipboardTwitterLinkedInFacebook

Story: While in recovery from major surgery, my interest in discovering and applying effective pain reducing drugs has dramatically increased. What works? Harmful side- effects? Dosage? Frequency? Etc. While wandering around the web learning more on this topic, I read A Really Good Day by Ayelet Waldman, a public defender who experimented with microdosing LSD to find a way, after repeated failed attempts, to address her unpredictable mood swings that were negatively impacting her family.

Microdosing is the practice of taking minute doses of hallucinogens, like LSD or psilocybin (the active compound in so-called magic mushrooms), for therapeutic purposes. The amounts are too small to produce a high, but large enough to quell anxiety or to improve mood, according to users. There is emerging research on the topic that is worthy of attention, and much solid science has yet to be done. If it adds any interest to the topic, Tim Ferriss, best selling author and podcaster, claims that every billionaire he knows (he knows a lot of them) ALL microdose psychedelics. Hmm?

I do not know enough about the drug side of this topic yet to opine. However, I would like to take liberty and expand the definition of microdosing to include non-narcotic actions that might better lead personal transformation. Too often we get less progress towards a desired future state, not because we think too big, but because we try massive doses of change and find it overwhelming. We would likely be better off trying microdosing. For example, many of us would like to become more mindful. Instead of learning everything we can about compassionate mindfulness, what if we start immediately by “microdosing mindfulness.” As an example, simply begin the day with an intention based on the question, “What in the depth of my heart do I wish for myself, my loved ones and the world?” At the end of the day, microdose by briefly and silently reflecting on the alignment between your morning intention and what happened. Additionally, think of one thing from the day you feel good about. That’s it to start. A microdose of mindfulness. This is just the beginning of a mindfulness practice and my argument is that microdosing moves hope into action.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Microdosing connects with my strong feelings about the importance of thinking BIG, starting NOW and acting SMALL!
  2. Microdose with legal stuff… If billionaires can, why not you?

Microdosing in Personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: Fans of Joe Rogan know that he is a passionate user of DMT, which if I understand correctly, musters up a very brief hallucination that allows for maximum levels of reflection, creativity and more. Wild stuff. With the ongoing acceptance of legal marijuana, and an influx of interest in ayahuasca, I wouldn’t be surprised to see spas and retreats in the future that host microdosing packages, not unlike flights of wine at a winery.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

Keep All Your Original Parts!

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect

FlipboardTwitterLinkedInFacebook

Story: By the time you read this blog, assuming all goes well, I will have a new left knee. I’m hobbling around to the point I can barely walk. Thank goodness medicine has advanced to where I have this opportunity. It’s debatable if had I been more careful during my life, whether I would have been able to preserve my original knee. Part of the dubious credit causing a knee problem goes to an opposing college wide receiver, who tore out my knee with a crack back block. I will never forget the distressed look on my Dad’s face when they carted me off the field in an an ambulance. However, at 19 years of age, I shrugged off the injury and felt invincible like young people often do.

Key Point: There are many times in my 40-plus year work life when I took my health too much for granted. After I finished college, my knee healed enough and kindly supported a long and gratifying period where I was a runner. Long distance jogs became my stress relief, and a time for much reflection. The Thanksgiving after being fortunate enough to finish the New York marathon, while still in my early forties, the same knee gave out. Arthroscopy and no more running. Did I do proper physiotherapy? No! Why? The truth was that I was afraid to miss work commitments. I was a new VP in a big company, and felt I couldn’t afford to take time to heal properly. I told myself I didn’t need to. B.S. Even a few years ago, after ignoring carpal tunnel symptoms and waiting too long for full recovery surgery, I was taking meetings by phone an hour after the operation. It was ignorant, and frankly a little arrogant.

Some of you will appropriately shake your heads at my poor judgment regarding the above anecdotes. You are wiser and more emotionally mature on this matter than me. However, I know others are not too different than I have been. For one reason or another, you are putting your health on the back burner. Ask yourself honestly why? In some cases, the very physical nature of a job just puts a lot of stress on the body, and making a living competes with better choices. However, in many situations we ignore or add to health issues that will catch up later in life when we just don’t need them to. A lot of executives fall into this category. Of course, this is easy to better appreciate on the eve of a major surgery.

I hope this message connects with a few readers so you might avoid getting a new body part because of what you will do more of or less of, starting today! Organizations are currently more enlightened about the total well being of employees. And I promise you that the organization will be just fine while you take care of yourself . Later in life, when you’re dealing with the consequences of your avoidance, the organization you “sacrificed” for will be long gone. Organizations are built to replace parts. Human beings are made to keep our originals. Please remind yourself of that!

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Take care of yourself first. This is NOT a new concept to you. However, the courage to act that way me be.
  2. Commit to keeping all your original parts in great working condition as part of your overall development strategy. With exponential advancement in bio medicine, you might even be able to make those originals better.

Original parts in Personal Leadership,

– Lorne

One Millennial View: Thanks for the sage advice that I believe all Millennials should keep in mind. It’s easy to ignore physical injury, to keep running through a pair of sore legs, lifting with a sensitive shoulder, and more. Tending to these issues is admitting that something might be wrong, which is an unwanted setback for anyone. Needless to say, we’ll all be keeping you in our thoughts and prayers as we might contemplate or reconsider the health of our own routines.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

Do You Have to be So Friggin’ Mean?

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect

FlipboardTwitterLinkedInFacebook

Story: This past year when I was at Austin’s SXSW with my co-writer Garrett, I was amazed at the cult-like line up to hear from visionary Elon Musk. His following is incredible. There is an excellent Wall Street Journal article about Mr. Musk published Sept. 1. It juxtapositions the two headed personality of this complicated South African. The Journal writes: “He’s a visionary entrepreneur who promises to take us to Mars, fix LA’s traffic problems, bring electric cars to the masses, and deliver solar power to the world…” AND “He’s an ambition autocrat who over-promises, misses production goals, tweets recklessly, browbeets employees, and now faces an SEC investigation.” My question is why the latter? There are some people who argue that the only way to achieve greatness is to be be thorny, even abusuve to other “lesser” people. Steve Jobs was notorious for it. In the world of sports, New England Patriot football coach Bill Belichick is considered to be quite prickly.

Key Point: I think the truly remarkable people and the ones to be fully celebrated, are those that demand greatness from themselves, and get extraordinary results by inspiring and uplifting ALL people around them. The Journal claims that Mr. Musk, whose net worth is an estimated 20 billion dollars, has lost 50 Tesla Vice Presidents or higher in the past two years. Mr. Musk is a genius, but surely he must acknowledge that that kind of leadership turmoil is going to cause serious short and long term problems.

Apple folks were allegedly quite anxious getting on an elevator with Jobs. It was a short ride, and he often grilled employees on the trip, including the legendary firing of a young woman after hearing her describe her role. “We are not going to need you” was his comment as he strode out of the elevator. I wonder if Mr. Jobs thought about what went through that Apple employee’s mind while he went on his way to sushi? (By the way, I get that you have to get value out of every role and person… But you don’t have to be a prick).

Hey I fully understand that if you are going to put a ping in the universe like Mr. Jobs, you have to be exceptionally genius, great, and perhaps even quirky. And you have to set unusually high bars of excellence. But I genuinely believe you can do that and treat ALL people with respect. When one has immense power like many CEOs do, it is easy to take liberties with the idea of not putting up with “fools,” dispensing with them like Texas roadkill. However, while people like Musk and Jobs are legendary, they actually do need other people to get things done. Why not also become legendary for how you uplift people on the journey? Wouldn’t it be great if people looked forward to running into the CEO on the elevator? And I do NOT believe in the maxim “to win at any cost.” That’s a bunch of bravado spun hooey. Some costs are just too damn high.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Become students of those leaders who make magical things happen while elevating ALL others too. How do they do it?
  2. Do people want to work around you because you get things done with excellence and the way you intentionally develop others too? Why? Why not?

Extraordinary results and uplifting people in Personal Leadership,

– Lorne

One Millennial View: I too have heard about how difficult Jobs was, and how quirky Musk is. Although I’m happy not to have to currently deal with leaders like that, I also think it’s my responsibility as an employee to be above the weirdness of difficult leaders, and learn how to lead better from their mistakes. The elevator ride is only awkward if you decide it’s awkward, and I think you can levitate yourself to a higher position if you try your hardest not to allow quirky jerks get to you.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

Why We Need to Do More and Work ‘Harder’

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect

FlipboardTwitterLinkedInFacebook

Story: There is this strange contradiction going on in many workplaces. People complain about diminishing capacity and feeling lots off stress. Many people feel challenged focusing, and not very productive. They get easily distracted, and do lots of “other stuff,” (most of it on their smartphones) that doesn’t add much value.  And I hear lots of comments like the following from people at all levels, and in different industries: “Frankly, I feel undervalued and unchallenged. I can do way more.” “Everyday I come in and do the same s#!*… I have to talk myself into showing up after years of doing this.” “My last boss gave me lots and tough assignments. It was hard, yet gratifying. My new boss just doesn’t keep me engaged or busy. I’m getting exhausted looking for things to do.” “I’m so busy I’m stressed out. Yet if I honestly evaluate what I’ve really accomplished in a day, it’s not very much.”

You may argue that the people quoted are not very self-accountable. That may be in a few cases. There is also a phenomenon known as Parkinson’s Law. The idea is that our workload tends to expand to fit the time available for its completion. Small tasks that should take two hours to complete will take an entire workday if we have that time available. So, as is often the case, the notion of being stressfully unproductive is usually more complex and as with most things, it is a leadership issue..

Key Point: I think we would have better workplaces and happier, more productive employees if we ALL had more and harder (challenging) work. Ok… Before you get mad and click away, please stick with me a little longer. Chris Bailey is a productivity consultant and the author of the forthcoming book “Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction.” On Aug. 25, in the New York Times, he wrote the following: “When it comes to focusing at work, there is no shortage of scapegoats to blame for our wandering minds. Social media, the ever-churning news cycle, chats with colleagues — these distractions can lead to a working state of mind that is far from focused. But there’s one possible cause of frequent distraction we don’t often consider: Our work isn’t complex enough, and there isn’t enough of it. Complex tasks demand more of our working memory and attention, meaning we have less mental capacity remaining to wander to the nearest stimulating distraction. In his book ‘Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience,’ the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi argues that we’re most likely to enter into that state of total work immersion when the challenge of completing a task is roughly equal to our ability to complete it…  Consciously taking on a greater number of complex projects is a powerful way to enter a mental state I call hyperfocus — an attentional mode in which one task consumes your complete attention. Your mind wanders less often in hyperfocus because you’re more engaged. That means you’re also more productive.”

People that have worked with me know that I give them “20 pounds of work when I know they only have a 10 pound sack.” This is intended to be respectful rather than insensitive. My experience is that people, assuming they know the purpose of the work and feel they are learning, will make great choices. They have little time to wander, get distracted or lost. They also need to have the emotional maturity and my support to know when to rest. My friends at Vega Factor, have done a lot of research and have the data to prove that people who most enjoy their work (play), understand why it matters (purpose), and think it’s important to their future (potential), generated about 30 percent more revenue than the folks quoted above. Makes sense to me.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. If you’re a leader, please design and assign work that is challenging, matters and that there is lots of it. No excuses. Even if there is lots of repetition, figure out ways to make it meaningful and challenging. And if you think it’s just a low paying job and that it doesn’t matter because people are easily replaced, well you STINK!
  2. If you find yourself unchallenged and/or continuously distracted, look in the mirror first. If YOU can’t change the situation, then get the heck out ASAP. You are worth it!

Doing more and challenging work in Personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: They call them “microwave” minutes for a reason. Time moves so slow when you’re doing nothing but watching seconds go by, especially when you’re legitimately hungry. In this case, I think a lot of us are starving for more action, responsibility, and challenging projects. Anyone can sit and gobble up time, but there’s no fulfillment, and that’s no way to feel professionally nourished.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis