‘Collabatrust’ & Speed!

Accountability Collaboration Teamwork


Key Point: I promised you ongoing insights regarding how we need to reimagine leadership based on the accelerants and connective tissue driven by exponential technology. My previous blog underscored three big thoughts. So here is another important premise:

Collaboration moves at the speed of trust! In fact, Dov Seidman (Harvard lawyer, CEO of LRN) argues, “trust is the only legal performance-enhancing drug.” People who do not trust each other need all kinds of rules, regulations, contracts, etc. to create a workable platform. On the other hand, when trust in a culture is high, people spend little or no time questioning another’s intent. They start from the premise that people are working for the greater good and purpose (another reminder why having a clear and compelling purpose matters so much). So if accelerants and connectivity is transforming everything, legacy “trust verification systems” rules, inspection, regulations, etc. in organizations must be disrupted too.

If we want to introduce a social platform and tools to drive greater collaboration, we better make sure high levels of trust underscore the ability of people to super collaborate. And the key to building trust is executing what we commit to, guided by very clear and understood values! Both big and little things matter. For example, if a leadership declares a “people first” strategy, the big decisions related to how people are at the front of decisions made establish the foundation of trust. It’s the hundreds of little things, often referred to as “moments of truth,” every day, which confirms trust.

Character Moves:

  1. Evaluate how much you work and live in an environment of total trust.
  2. In a world that is relying more and more on harnessing speed for advantage, what are you doing to create more trust?

“Collabatrust” in the Triangle,


One Millennial View: John Resig of theChive (an extremely successful entertainment site/charity/e-commerce/media outlet), says he only hires people he would like to get a beer with. He prefers that trait over credentials. And he also encourages his team to invite a new employee out each night of the week after they’re welcomed on the team. He says if after the first month, you’re no longer getting invited out, then you’ve done something wrong and you’re probably not a good fit. That method may not work for all companies, but trust me when I say that I can see how that really works for them.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis


Cognitive Diversity and Jumping Off the Log

Collaboration Organizational culture Respect


Key Point: Harnessing cognitive diversity, unleashing creativity and acting on it in the workplace, is every bit as important and transformative as embracing breakthrough digital technology. And as I emphasized in our previous blog, networks and the subsequent connectivity alters everything. So in this context, advanced human networks in organizations need to burst out like festival fireworks. The best organizations are creating new conditions to do that. The following strategic “people tenants” are, in my opinion, vital to open up the gates of those human networks. 

  1. Commitment to cognitive diversity.

I really appreciate the way Facebook embraces diversity. Regina Dugan is a senior executive leading one of Facebook’s most important “big idea” projects. According to a recent Fast Company article, she’s learned that assembling a diverse group of perspectives is essential to the creative process. I totally agree with her following comment:

“The ultimate goal is cognitive diversity, and cognitive diversity is correlated with identity diversity. That means it’s not just about [getting] women in tech. It’s about broad voices, broad representation. But we can’t step away from the idea that in the workplace, diversity also looks like identity diversity. You have to get to the place where you aren’t made comfortable by the fact that everyone is the same, but rather feel inspired by how different we are. We get better problem-solving that way.”

  1. Confidence to create and always ask “what if?”

Imagine an organization where everyone regardless of job description viewed themselves as creators, scientists, artists, and everything in between. Everyday, people would come to “work” bringing a confident “what if?” mindset, zipping past the daily challenges of resistance, self doubt and procrastination with a compelling need to create and continuously reimagine. When we are in the act of moving and building, we flow and generate energy. And when we create, fear and resistance tends to fall away. 

  1. Getting S!#% done by actually jumping.

There’s an old riddle that says, “Three frogs are sitting on a log. One decides to jump off. How many frogs are left?” The correct answer is “three.” One frog decided to jump, but the implication is that the frog never acted on jumping. Winning organizations are not your typical frog. What if the culture of an enterprise expects solid judgment through mindfulness, and values and rewards the jump (regardless of the landing)?

I want to advance our organization through creating and promoting breakthrough collaborative, networked human systems, embracing cognitive diversity, confident creativity and the courage to act. This generates flow and when people and an organization find this movement toward a greater purpose, something magical happens.

Character Moves:

  1. Evaluate yourself and your team on the three elements above. Do you bring your unique cognitive diversity, respectfully seek it in others, confidently create through relentless “what if?” and do you dare to jump off that log?  

Jumping off in the Triangle 


One Millennial View: I seem to hear reason after reason why it’s best to live in a state of discomfort, where cognitive diversity and “what if’s” also exist. It’s not as “safe” or easy, but the worst skydiving story I’ve ever heard is one where someone decided not to jump and safely landed back in the plane. 

– Garrett

Dot. For Work?

Accountability Collaboration Transformation


Key Point: I think we might all need a little help from Dot. Ok, maybe not all you Millennials or kids in the Z generation. However, I’m not so sure this idea isn’t applicable to all generations.

Dot. is a new, animated television show about a young girl cleverly named Dot. She uses technology to enhance both her educational experiences and recreational activities. It premiered this past Saturday on NBC’s preschool-oriented network, Sprout. The show was created by Silicon Valley veteran and best selling author, Randi Zuckerberg, and is targeting children ages six and under. It also aims to help parents who are struggling with how to best integrate technology into their children’s lives. And as a grandfather, I can certainly put myself in the same category, as some of my children are now parents of these wonderful, flourishing, little ones. 

According to Inc. technology columnist Joseph Steinberg, “Dot. shows parents many positive ways that technology can be used by young children to expand horizons and enhance activities, and helps foster discussion between parents and children about technology use. In the first episode – which I watched at Dot.’s premiere party in New York last week – Dot and a friend – armed with a tablet – go on an outdoor scavenger hunt in the woods along with Dot’s father. While Dot’s Dad discusses his own experiences doing a similar activity as a child a generation prior, Dot uses the tablet to both acquire knowledge faster, and to locate the required items faster, than her father imagines is possible; technology does not become a replacement for an outdoor activity – it becomes a tool to enhance Dot’s childhood experience both recreationally and educationally, and serves as a catalyst to facilitate conversation between Dot and her father about technology and its impact on non-technical activities.” 

I think Dot. is going to be a big hit. And after thinking about this a while, why not have a show for us “big kids” too? I’m talking about SHOWING how we might better integrate technology into our complete lives. Our company, like most others, is aggressively launching into the vast opportunity of fostering more collaboration and teamwork. One way of accelerating what I refer to as peer-to-peer power, is through better using technology tools like Google’s G Suite as part of our life. This is way more than old fashioned “training!” We need to see how everyday activities become richer, faster, more meaningful and social, through living the technology. We need a Big Dot. for Big Kids! 

Character Moves:

  1. Watch Dot. if you can, and let your imagination fly. Instead of thinking of the technology as just tools, or resisting it, challenge yourself into better integrating it into everything in the best possible way… To make us better people and colleagues! We’re worth it!

Dot. in the Triangle,


One Millennial View: Keeping up with evolving technology is crucial. For anyone attempting to learn more about technology, thankfully YouTube has become a hub for many “how to,” visual tutorials. If your device is popular enough, chances are someone has posted how it works and what it can be used for. 

– Garrett Rubis

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Alphabet of the Heart

Collaboration Respect


Key Point: Dr. James R. Doty, a Stanford neurosurgeon and director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, has written a book entitled “Into The Magic Shop.” It profoundly stimulates the reader’s thoughts and feelings. I’m going to send copies to our children and read key parts of it to our 8-year-old grandson. The book presents a compelling story (including convincing science), as a road map for living life to its fullest through harnessing the power of BOTH the brain and the heart.

“When our brains and our hearts are working in collaboration—we are happier, we are healthier, and we automatically express love, kindness, and care for one another,” he writes. “I knew this intuitively, but I needed to validate it scientifically. This was the motivation to begin researching compassion and altruism. I wanted to understand the evolution of not only why we evolved such behavior but also how it affects the brain and ultimately our health”. 

Science is helping us understand that the heart has its own intelligence system. When you think about the heart having its own “brain,” well that’s a “WOW.” In fact, the heart sends more signals to the brain than vice versa. The neural net around our heart plays a huge part in informing our reasoning and thinking. As Dr. Doty points out so wonderfully, our individual happiness and wellbeing depends on the brain AND heart working together as a system. The brain knows an awful lot but as the research in the “Magic” book illustrates, it knows exponentially more when it joins the heart. 

Many of us need practice and a framework for prying the heart open. I certainly do. In fact, data shows that many of us are impoverished for meaningful connection. In Doty’s work, he notes that 25 percent of Americans state they do not have anyone close enough to share a problem with. We have work to do here. Hence a the following summary of Doty’s “Alphabet of the Heart.” (For a richer outline, please read the book).

C for Compassion.

Open your heart for yourself and others.

D for Dignity.

Recognize the dignity of every human being.

E for Equanimity.

While acknowledging the ups and downs, try to find an even keel.

F for Forgiveness.

Seek forgiveness from those you have failed and those who have failed you.

G for Gratitude.

Keep in the front of your mind gratitude for all that you have.

H for Humility.

Remember that you are no better and no worse than others you encounter.

I for Integrity.

Value honesty and integrity and use it to guide your actions.

J for Justice.

Acknowledge your obligations in context of social justice.

K for Kindness.

Be kind to yourself and to others.

L for Love.

Let your heart be open to love from within yourself and from others.

Character Moves: 

  1. Open your heart up at work. Life and work are one. We need to practice connecting our hearts and brains in every part of our life; especially in the work place. It is time that the “heart” gets equal billing with the “brain.” We are learning that enormous organization value and a “cult” brand (hence profitability) depends on authentic emotional connections (the heart) between employees and customers… A fully integrated community. 
  2. Doty’s site offers exercises for us to help the brain and heart connect and work as a system. Just reading about this integration means little if we don’t practice. Like anything else of sustainable value, there is no easy path. It’s a “Magic Shop,” but any good magician requires hours of practice to become magical. 

Opening the Heart in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: There’s a reason we hear those sad but sometimes beautiful stories of elderly married people dying within hours of each other, with no perfect explanation other than a “broken heart.” It’s a thing. As Millennials, our “heart” is sometimes the last thing we let cross our minds… It’s supposed to be healthy, ticking and can be an afterthought. I’m interested in learning more about how the heart and brain connect in all aspects of life.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Precisely as We Think and Do!

Accountability Collaboration Personal leadership


Key Point: We often hear the comforting phrase that problems are “rarely as bad as we think they are.” Yet Stoic philosophy points out that they ARE as precisely bad as we THINK they are.

One of the great philosopher Stoics, Lucius Annaeus Seneca, lived 2,000 years ago and was a philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and counsel to the famous emperor Nero. Together with Nero, he helped rule Rome during the first nine years of the emperor’s reign. One of Seneca’s well known quotes: “A man’s as miserable as he thinks he is.” What you think about most of the time, you become. If you see the world and yourself through a lens where life’s challenges and obstacles are viewed as true opportunity, then that’s likely what you will find. This connects with Marcus Aurelius‘ maxim, which essentially states, “what is in the way, is the way.”

The Stoics’ guide us with principles well beyond what sometimes is shallow, perhaps even naive, positivism. It is much more than seeing the glass as “half full.” It involves the following framework:

  1. Seeing things clearly. 
  2. Acting correctly.
  3. Enduring and accepting the world you can’t control, as it is. 

I think we need to attract and develop people who travel beyond self-accountability, resilience, and the many other wonderful values and character traits I often write about. We need these people AND ensure that they THINK about obstacles as THE opportunity to invent, reimagine and find ways to thrive .

The obstacle may be a poor boss, difficult colleague, poor economic environment etc. However, the idea of turning an obstacle around to propel us to a better spot is like rocket fuel… Modern stoicism fuel. 

Character Moves

  1. Recognize that people who can see obstacles with clear vision, a calm mind and then find ways to act in the correct way to take advantage of the challenges, are an inclusive group. You do not need an Ivy League MBA, or be of any group or class. The framework is available to all of us. 
  1. Study people who found a way to turn an obstacle into “the way,” and you will realize that their mindset and action set are there as examples for us to replicate (in our own unique way). Unfortunately, most of us just do not want to embrace the disciplined thinking and action. We too often define much of life’s challenges as insurmountable and unfortunately do not act with correct, disciplined forward action. We get stuck in inertia.

Stoic fuel in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa… Wonder what that whole, “never as bad as you think it’s going to be” reminds me of? Oh yeah… My Millennial View, a few posts back. Funny enough, I whole-heartedly agree that “a man’s as miserable as he thinks he is,” too… Hmm… Here’s how I acknowledge and agree with both. It’s “never as bad as you think it’s going to be” actually partners with “a man’s as miserable as he thinks he is,” because the first controls irrational predictions and fears for the future, while the second is a positive mindset that helps you problem solve in the present. You can’t make positive progress on a present obstacle, if you’re scared motionless by over anticipating a negative outcome. Makes sense to me.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis