Missing the Moment… Time that Has Gone 

Accountability Be Accountable Purpose Time Management

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Key Point: There is a view that there are few things that one cannot recover from: One is a moment that has passed, and of course another is time that has gone. These maxims are worth reflecting on. 

On Wednesday of this week, I was invited to speak to the college football team I played for 46 years ago. It was a players’ only event sponsored by the team captains. No coaches were allowed, and I was invited as a “distinguished” alumni. They had just finished a very long day of team building, and 80 vibrant young men were chowing down on hotdogs and burgers. What could I say to them that might have any value or interest?

I began my talk by challenging each of them on the notion that this was their moment and time; individually and collectively. There would be no other 2017 team. This moment and time was exclusively theirs to define the “brand” of the 2017 team – and it would last forever. This involves much more that the win/loss record. Yes, winning is important, but it is not everything. What would define the kind of team they would be? Just as importantly, what kind of team would they not be? The choice was totally theirs to make. Of course, coaching and the playbook/program are crucial. However, much of the team’s results and brand would be solely defined by the choice and action of the 80 men in front of me. 

On Thursday, I spent my time with 115 of our new hires at the company I work for, introducing them to our purpose and values. While the context is different, the overall challenge is very much the same. What will they do individually and collectively to advance our brand and be part of a winning team? The moment and time is also wholly theirs as they define their contribution and legacy. 

Too often we paddle through life without pausing to intentionally capture the moment and time. Life slips by us faster than we realize. Before we know it, if we are fortunate, we are in front of younger generations in our advancing years, reminding them of the choices and moment/time they have.

Character Moves:

  1. Be conscious of every key moment and time. Be intentional. Neither can be reclaimed. 

Moment and time in The Triangle,

– Lorne

One Millennial View: It’s almost like this should be a subject taught in high school. Millennials often make excuses for how fast our weeks blow by when we’re routinely doing this-and-that. We say, “30 is the new 20,” and “you’re only as old as how you feel.” That could have hints of truth, but, if we’re being honest, maximum time optimization is not always utilized. Maybe there should be an App that only lets you set your alarm for the next morning if you write down a daily experience that some bots deem worthy of reflecting on.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Do Not Use the ‘C-Word’

Accountability Be Accountable Change Personal leadership

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Key Point: Ok, maybe we should end the abusive use of the “C-word,” and that word is “change.” Honestly, I’m worn out with phrases like “change management,” “change resistance,” “change failure,” etc. Let’s all agree that change can be hard. When we have to do things differently, it makes sense that it’s challenging. Most things worth doing involve overcoming hurdles. Ever run a marathon? Few people before running their first one believe it’s going to be a cakewalk. Yet, if you are dedicated and train, I believe anyone can run the 26.2 miles. It’s only a matter of time. I’ve ran two marathons and always wanted to beat my three hour target. I came close. Were my marathons “successful,” even if I didn’t complete one in less than three hours? Heck ya, as far as I’m concerned. This way of thinking may also apply to organization and personal transformation. 

I really liked Nick Tasler’s HBR blog entitled “Stop Using the Excuse ‘Organizational Change is Hard.’” Here is how he concludes, and I whole-heartedly agree: “We have been learning new skills and adapting to new environments literally since the day we squirmed out of the womb. Every time we feel the impulse to say ‘change is hard,’ we could make a different claim that is every bit as accurateAdaptation is the rule of human existence, not the exception.” 

I have been leading big system adaptation and transformation throughout my career. With the risk of sounding over confident, I genuinely believe I can lead (developing a great team around me at the same time), a giant positive transformation in any environment. Depending on the size of the system it will start immediately and three to five years later it will be measurably better. There are common ingredients and my readers may be familiar with the eight-ingredient system for cultural transformation I’ve written about previously. Here are some minimum conditions that are necessary if you want to join me for the rocket ride:

  1. Be prepared to think and be big.
  2. The purpose or “why” has to really matter and be clear.
  3. Love and breathe adaptation like oxygen. 
  4. Have the ability to change perspective. 
  5. Challenge assumptions and be curious as hell. 
  6. Get s#!& done. I detest procrastination.
  7. Love a relentless pace and get energized by it. Be smart enough to know when to rest.
  8. No excuses. You’re fiercely accountable.
  9. Set targets people think are too high.
  10. When people tell you you’re working on too many things at one time, ask them to get the hell out of the way.
  11. Be compassionate, and accept not everyone wants to go for the ride.
  12. Accept critics, skeptics and quickly remove cynics.
  13. Celebrate milestones and understand that your full work and contribution may not be fully appreciated (that’s part of successful adaption).
  14. Do not accept binary success criteria. Transformation is always on a continuum. 
  15. Embrace the uniqueness and personality of the adaptation process; each is deliciously unique.
  16. Enjoy the highs and embrace the lows; grit your teeth, stay calm, relentlessly move forward.
  17. Breathe, pause, and never stop! 
  18. Avoid leaders like me if this list is exhausting.

Character Moves:

  1. Kill the “C-word.”
  2. Adapt, transform, move; make it who you are and recognize it’s a practice, NOT an event!

Adapting as humans in The Triangle,

Lorne 

One Millennial View: I really like this. Sure, “change” is tough, but us Millennials deal with it on such a regular basis that it should be second nature to us in a lot of ways. For example, every social media outlet has changed dramatically since we’ve started using them, and if you pulled up Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or Twitter’s interface from a few years ago, they would seem outdated. If you’re not adapting as often as an Apple OS update, then you could probably use a reboot.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Dogfooding: The Company & You 

Accountability Be Accountable Management Organizational leadership

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Key Point: “Dogfooding” is a matter of integrity. You likely guessed that this refers to the adage many of us have heard: “Eat your own dog food.” The following outlines Facebook’s approach on the subject:

“Dogfooding” is a common practice of most IT companies for fixing the bugs in the application they create, but Facebook goes a step beyond by using the technique to retain employees, according to a report from The Economic Times. Facebook is using this technique to engage its young employees, with most of them being in their twenties and edgy and/or impatient… James Mitchell, head of the Hyderabad office (India) says, “Dogfooding is one of the best outlets that we can provide for young, enterprising intelligent minds. It binds them to the product and the company very strongly.” He says that Dogfooding is the standard through which voice of the employees can be heard. Facebook employees hack, test, and beat up all their products before (and after) they hit the market.

As per Facebook, Google and other leading companies, it’s strategically important for employees to “dogfood” its own products. And I believe this concept applies to us personally, too. One example is that I strongly believe we personally cannot stay in the high performance zone indefinitely. In full, high-performance, we eventually become fatigued and stressed so we need to intentionally REST. Leading firms like The Energy Group, who study this process deeply, understand and teach groups how to flow from high-performance to rest, and back again. They advise everything possible to avoid prolonged time in the fatigue/stress zone. If one stays too long in this stress zone, well, unintended bad things typically happen to us.

I’ve written about the importance of personal energy management a few times over the years. Most of my readers know my team and I have been leading an intense enterprise initiative since January. It’s been relentless; The thinking, planning and execution. It’s involved many 14-hour days, weekends, travel, and the excitement/anxiety associated with high risk/return movements. So… Dogfooding… Both my team and I need to internationally REST. Take some white space, and reenergize before we step on the gas again.

Character Moves:

  1. Dogfood your company products.
  2. Dogfood your beliefs and values. Both 1 and 2 are about integrity.

Dogfooding in The Triangle,

Lorne 

One Millennial View: Millennials all want to move a million miles an hour towards our goals, and certainly don’t live with much patience. But, even NASCAR crews have to take a pit stop and “check their tires.” If you need kibbles and bits of advice, this is a good one to chow down on.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Great Leaders Are Great Storytellers

Accountability Be Accountable Empathy Thought leadership

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Key Point: If you want to inspire team members, you have to make a personal, emotional connection. One of the key competencies of great leaders is the ability to have team members emotionally relate to a desired future state; ideally a massive transformative purpose (MTP). People literally have to feel, see, and use other senses to “picture” milestones along the way. Data or other so-called points of factual evidence are not sufficient. Emotion needs to be involved. Hence, great leaders are great storytellers. 

Christine Comaford, of the SmartTribes Institute, recently posted an exceptional infographic outlining why leaders need to be great storytellers. Please invest in carefully reviewing and learning from it. See below:

Character Moves:

  1. Every day you have a storytelling opportunity to advance yourself, team, and/or organization. How do you rate on the CURVE model? (Thank you SmartTribes Institute).
  2. Become an intentional storyteller by practicing the CURVE story model. It takes practice, practice, practice. And the end result is: Did you move others to take positive forward action? If not, you’re an entertainer at best and vanilla pudding at worst. Be a more impactful leader by becoming a practiced storyteller. 

Great CURVE in The Triangle,

Lorne 

One Millennial View: This CURVE model is fantastic, especially when it comes to the effects on brain activity, specifically neural coupling and dopamine. A Millennial’s biggest concern at work may just be losing that “thrill,” and slipping into a state of mindlessness that takes away any emotional desire to compete… Oops, we woke up 20 years later and still haven’t progressed. That’s terrifying. That’s surely not the story I want to tell, and it would be beneficial to learn from great leaders who need us to contribute in developing invigorating chapters as soon as possible.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Hiking Through the Happiness Fog

Accountability Be Accountable Thought leadership Well-being

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Key Point: “Mood drives performance.” That’s the deep belief of Jim Moss, a Hall of Fame, gold medal-winning, pro athlete who in 2009 was suddenly rendered acutely paralyzed from a rare autoimmune disease. It is a well-documented story, recounted in numerous publications. With the possibility of living the rest of life in a vegetative state, Jim hacked his own healing, focused on being grateful and learning the science of mood and performance (neuroplasticity). He walked out of the hospital six weeks later. Inspired and profoundly motivated by this experience, Moss went on with his partner Jennifer to co-found Plasticity Labs. Their Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP) is to give one billion people the tools to live a happier, healthier and high-performing life; to scale happiness globally, by building the first ever, mental health and happiness platform

So what is happiness? As Jennifer Moss, co-founder of Plasticity notes in a recent blog: “I still don’t know. But I believe it can be experienced. Like fog, it’s around us. We can see it. But, when we try to hold on to it – it slips through our fingers. Happiness is about a continued investment in building hope, efficacy, resilience, optimism (HERO), along with gratitude, mindfulness, and empathy. As we dig deeper into the ways we can build up more psychological fitness, we’ll analyze how to build up these traits in ourselves and inspire them in others. For many, happiness means the absence of negative emotions, but in the article, I wrote for Harvard Business Review, ‘Happiness Isn’t the Absence of Negative Emotions;’ I vehemently counteract the belief that being happy is only to feel joy, every minute, every day, all the time. I wrote the article to share my frustrations with the backlash on the Positive Psychology movement. After reading one too many articles about why happiness is harmful, I decided it was time to confront the naysayers. But what I believe about this brief history of happiness, is that it’s not about chasing pleasure, but rather, actively engaging in long-term, sustainable life goals that include daily investments in positive work, activities and relationships. However, I liken models to recipes – it’s subjective and rife with human variables built on strongly held biases, genetics and personal experience. Just like a recipe can’t guarantee your bread will rise, a happiness theory can’t guarantee you will be happy.”

So what? I work for a company that believes “good things happen when you pursue happiness.” It is an essential part of our purpose: To create happiness. So, I’m deeply interested in how the happiness science and research is evolving. I do like the way Jennifer Moss and Plasticity Labs are focusing on the HERO model; Hope, Efficacy, Resilience and Optimism; connected to gratitude, mindfulness, and empathy. Their view is that by concentrating on the traits of the model versus happiness itself, it results in the state of happiness being more present and accessible in our lives.

Character Moves:

1. Check out Plasticity Labs (note: I currently have no personal contacts or financial involvement with Plasticity Labs). I’m just very curious and supportive of their MTP; and perhaps you are too? They have great resources and research literature on happiness. And their research reinforces that measurably happy, high-performing workplace cultures earn up to 50 percent more revenue, and have the uppermost levels of both employee and customer satisfaction.

2. Happiness is elusive. We are very early days in the science, although in 425 B.C., the Greek philosopher, Socrates, famously made a statement about happiness: “Strive for honesty, be your best self and have emotional control.” Socrates was one of the first to openly debate that happiness is in our control. Of course, he was also sentenced to death for corrupting the youth with this belief. So the pursuit of happiness has its detractors. How genuinely happy are you? I’m honestly not sure how happy I truly am, and am working to better understand the meaning both as a noun and verb.

Happy Fog in The Triangle,

Lorne

One Millennial View: I wasn’t positive about this, but yup, one little Google search reveals that us Millennials know a whole lot about antidepressants. This Fortune article suggests we may be the “least stable generation on record.” Great! But it’s not hard to check Facebook and realize it’s a world where micro aggressions cause daily outrage, and some of our highest satisfaction comes from a “like” button after sharing topics that get us up in arms. Uh oh. (Meanwhile, it’s the safest, most free and best time to be alive in history) and we have things like Plasticity Labs to assist our happiness. It might be complicated, but in 2017 I think happiness has never been more achievable with the right mindset. As Jocko Willink would say, “get it.”

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis