Hitting the Leadership Triple

Accountability Collaboration Teamwork


Key Point: In my previous posts, I have emphasized the “3 bagger” you have to hit to excel as a leader. This is based on the John Maxwell leadership construct and includes:

  1. You have to get results. No results equals no leadership role (or job for that matter.) If results are won while navigating through thorny problems and/or achieving a big value impact for the organization, then that’s the best leadership evidence. 
  1. You also need to be able to develop constructive relationships. People ideally really want to work for you AND with you regardless of where they are in the company. When people happily sign up or seek to collaborate with you, they usually do so because they believe in who you are and where you’re going. They genuinely think they’re going to learn from you. 
  1. You must be known for developing people. You are not only individually masterful in being able to lead yourself, others and the business. You are a teacher and coach too. (Jack Welch is most proud of the number of people who worked for him that went on to be CEOs of Fortune 50 companies).

So let’s put this leadership construct to test with a real world example. Business Insider (BI) released the scoop that a big “shakeup” at Google was reported Friday… “CEO Larry Page will be stepping back and focusing on the ‘bigger picture,'” shifting more responsibility to his right-hand man, Sundar Pichai. It’s a big promotion for Pichai, who will now be in charge of Google’s core products including search, maps, research, Google+, Android, Chrome, infrastructure, commerce and ads, and Google Apps. Formerly, he was only head of Android and Chrome. 

The BI article also noted that, “earlier this year there was a thread on Quora under the question, “What did Sundar Pichai do, that his peers didn’t do, that got him promoted to the highest ranks at Google?

Former Google product manager Chris Beckmann offered an insightful answer in February. He wrote:

I never reported to Sundar or in his group, but many of my peers and friends did. Besides being incredibly talented and hardworking like many of his coworkers and peers, Sundar did a few things:

  1. Foremost: he led successful efforts for difficult projects that were core to Google’s continued financial success, namely Toolbar and Chrome. Toolbar wasn’t an obviously sexy product but it helped defend the presence of Google search on users’ computers during a critical period following the revelation of Google’s incredible profitability. Chrome extended that mission to improve the user e navigating through experience of the entire web: keep users on the web and you’ll keep them searching on Google.
  2. He recruited, mentored, and retained a great team. Sundar’s team of product managers had a reputation as being among the best of the best, similar to the reputation of the software engineers within Search Quality.
  3. He avoided making enemies. Google has politics like any other large company, and Sundar navigated those politics to make his team successful while inflicting the least possible damage on any other team.” 

In addition to getting an education at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Pichai received a M.S. from Stanford and obtained an MBA from Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. At Wharton, Pichai was honored as a Siebel Scholar and a Palmer Scholar. So obviously Pichai is exceptionally bright and scholarly. But academic performance is only table stakes to “play” in the leadership world (although a top school background does determine the size of the platform). However, from a leadership progression perspective, the playing field levels around ones ability to hit the leadership triple or not. According to Larry Page and Beckmann’s quote above, Pichai certainly does that (note: The buzz is that Microsoft, Twitter and others have actively recruited Pichai).

Character Moves:

  1. Be mindful of your results. Look to work on tough, nasty problems and those that have a big impact. Look for where you can add significant value. DO NOT PLAY a “PAT HAND.” What you did in the past is interesting. What you’re doing now is what counts today. Think big… Even if you’re not doing sexy stuff. What are you responsible for that could really propel your area forward?
  2. Intentionally focus on relationship development. Be aware of what really matters to those who receive your services. Get to know those folks. Genuinely recognize them. Become known as a person who is easy to do business with. 
  3. Keep a list of the A people you would like to work with or for. Keep in contact with them. Always be thinking who could be on your A Team. Work from the premise that you will be able to make that dream A Team come together under your leadership one day. 

Few of us will be in line to lead Google or top tier companies. However ALL of us can get results, develop relationships and coach others. 

Triple A Leadership in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: When playing football, my seasoned, old school head coach would routinely discuss the players he’d want “in his foxhole.” A war reference. Football isn’t war, but those gridiron battles were as close as many of us will ever get, and this reminds me of that. Leadership in the office is similar. Who do you want to fight with? Ideally, someone who ultimately makes you victorious, and has the wherewithal to succeed, survive and ideally thrive. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Smokey Robinson and Friends at Work

Collaboration Organizational leadership Respect


Key Point: How effective are you across multiple generations at work? I really like the way Smokey and Friends, a recently released album, makes me feel. I’ve had the volume turned to 11 a few times. The iconic Smokey Robinson sings legendary songs with artists representing multiple genres and generations… Elton John, Steven Tyler, Jessie J, Mary J. Blige, Ledisi, and others.  People of all ages in harmony with the 70-plus year old Smokey… Hmm. It made think about the current work place. For the first time in history, five generations will soon be working side by side. So what does this mean to you and me?

I believe contextual personal leadership is more important than ever. Especially when it comes to working and managing in multi-generational workplaces. A recent HBR blog by Rebecca Knight speaks wisely and directly to this. Note the following blog exert. Hopefully it sets the stage for a more complete conversation about how to make this mixed generational environment a very positive thing for you and the organization:

“What the Experts Say
: As people work longer and delay retirement, internal career paths have changed. “Organizational careers don’t look the way they did before,” says Peter Cappelli, professor of management at the Wharton School and co-author of Managing the Older Worker. ‘It’s more common to see someone younger managing someone older.’ This can lead to tension on both sides. ‘Maybe there is a feeling of: why am I being bossed around by someone without a lot of experience? On the other hand, maybe the younger person feels insecure and wonders: how do I do this?’

‘It’s important to be aware of generational tension — loosely defined as a lack of respect for someone who’s of a different generation from you — among colleagues,’ says Jeanne C. Meister, a founding partner of Future Workplace, a human resources consultancy and the coauthor of The 2020 Workplace. ‘It’s your job to help your employees recognize that they each have distinct sets of skills and different things they bring to the table.’

Don’t dwell on differences
The Boomer mystified by Facebook; the Millennial who wears flip-flops in the office; the Traditionalist (born prior to 1946) who seemingly won’t ever retire; the cynical Gen Xer who’s only out for himself; and the Gen 2020er — born after 1997 — who appears surgically attached to her smartphone. Generational stereotypes abound but according to Cappelli, ‘they are just not true. There is no evidence that 35-year-old managers today are any different from 35-year-old managers a generation ago.’ Besides, your goal is to help your team ‘move beyond the labels.’ Generation-based employee affinity groups are a waste of time and energy, he adds. Don’t assume people need special treatment and ‘don’t dwell on differences with a group discussion that devolves into: ‘People my age feel like this.’ Or ‘All Boomers act a certain way.’ There’s a lot of variation,’ he says. ‘Get to know each person individually.’”

Character Moves: 

  1. Manage the paradox of getting to know each person individually while understanding but not dwelling on generational differences. (For example, Millennials are naturally digital… Boomers can be digitally challenged). We all know people who match a generational stereotype versus others who completely contradict that view. It would not be unusual to hear: “Canadians love hockey.” Most of us do and yet we likely know Canadians that don’t follow or really care about the game. 
  2. Get to know what is really important in people’s individual lives and the relationship they have with the organization. Where possible work in a way that recognizes the need for standardization and still allow for individual uniqueness. For example, all people must get results at work but one person thrives working from home while another does so in an office environment.
  3. Recognize that “one size fits all” leadership or working is no longer sustainable or appropriate. Standardize on key values or attributes like self-accountability, respect, abundance. These beliefs and way of behaving is applicable to every generation. Dwell on the commonality and threads that weave people together versus stereotyping that may emphasize differences.
  4. Be inclusive and learn from every generation and person in the work place. As an example, learning how someone applies a digital solution to a problem can be as rewarding as learning the principles related to face-to-face conflict resolution. Remind ourselves that we all learn from each other. Avoid the slippery dangers related to stereotyping.  

Multi generational harmony in the Triangle, 

– Lorne  

One Millennial View: I completely agree. As someone fairly new to the workforce in my industry, I WANT mentors and seasoned vets that are generations older to show me the ropes… But we’re all in the same progressive environment, there’s no excuse for an older executive to not be familiar with Twitter, and there’s no reason that I can’t understand, appreciate and utilize the benefit of a jotting down something on a notepad. I might not want to hang out with them on the weekends, but I’d love to learn from a salty, experienced higher up who has seen it all in the workplace… Like Smokey Robinson. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

TOGETHER NOW: Love People & Use Things vs. Love Things & Use People

Abundance Collaboration Happiness


Key Point: Love people and apply the power of TOGETHER. This principle may be so obvious that we are missing fully optimizing the “happiness opportunity” right in front of us. It is accessible and inclusive versus unattainable and exclusive. 

The 30th president of the United States Calvin Coolidge, and Mrs. Coolidge were touring a poultry farm. The first lady noticed that there were very few roosters, and asked how so many eggs could be fertilized. The farmer told her that the virile roosters did their jobs over and over again each day. “Perhaps you could point that out to Mr. Coolidge,” she told him. The president, hearing the remark, asked whether the rooster serviced the same hen each time. No, the farmer told him — there were many hens for each rooster. “Perhaps you could point that out to Mrs. Coolidge,” said the President.

This amusing and perhaps even embellished story is apparently the genesis of something actually called “The Coolidge Effect,” the idea that more and variety (in this case sex) somehow leads to more happiness (moral considerations not withstanding). The research actually proves the opposite. For more on this and other research, please read a wonderful article in the New York Times on what drives happiness and unhappiness. The punch line is that obsessively chasing fame, money and hedonism of all excess leads to unhappiness. This of course has been the wisdom often cited through the ages, and contemporary research validates what the wise have concluded. Nevertheless, it is a constant battle for most of us to keep our egos and priorities in check.

As Arthur C. Brooks so eloquently states in the article: “It requires a deep skepticism of our own basic desires. Of course you are driven to seek admiration, splendor and physical license. But giving in to these impulses will bring unhappiness. You have a responsibility to yourself to stay in the battle. The day you declare a truce is the day you become unhappier.”

Digging for “happiness insight” in a completely different vein, I found another compelling piece of research. This is from a superb HBR blog:

“David Rock, founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute, has identified relatedness — feelings of trust, connection, and belonging—as one of the five primary categories of social pleasures and pains (along with status, certainty, autonomy, and fairness). Rock’s research shows that the performance and engagement of employees who experience relatedness threats or failures will almost certainly suffer. And in other research, the feeling of working together has indeed been shown to predict greater motivation, particularly intrinsic motivation, that magical elixir of interest, enjoyment, and engagement that brings with it the very best performance.” 

We are hard wired to work TOGETHER and connect. This does not mean working side by side, or having lots of meetings, etc. It means actively working together like the joy many of us find preparing a meal in the kitchen TOGETHER. When one takes a step back and honestly examines how organizations work, lots of people are around each other but how much do they really do TOGETHER?

Character Moves: 

  1. The simple principle of loving people and using things versus loving things and using people is a great reminder. Pursuing the value you bring to others each day will help you (and me) stay on the tight track. The counter intuitive irony is that focusing on giving and creating value as a purpose gives most of us the “things we need.”
  2. Examine your TOGETHER quotient and consider increasing it at work and other parts of your daily life. Going to Starbucks, plugged in besides a bunch of other people on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or texting doesn’t count. Around is not together. TOGETHER means connecting hands, mind, and heart where we matter to each other’s success. 

More TOGETHER in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: Finding this balance is definitely tricky. I feel I’m personally trying to move a million miles an hour, and find ways to earn greater success in all elements of my life… Technically almost everything I do can be attributed to the idea of ME getting more for myself… I’d like to look for more opportunities to work TOGETHER while still obtaining my goals, even though that doesn’t always seem practical or possible. It’s that whole “(excess) MAY not buy you happiness, but having none of it will certainly buy you misery” mentality… Fortunately, reminders about the value and importance of working TOGETHER helps me rethink how I can do more of that now, and still keep moving forward in a better way. 

– Garrett 

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Breaking Down Your Personal Silos

Accountability Collaboration Organizational leadership


Key Point: Let’s fix our own personal silos first. Organizations are not living creatures, but like the word “government,” they seem to take on a persona. It’s like there is a big puppet master in the clouds somewhere, pulling all the organization strings.  A common phrase we often hear regarding company behavior is: “The organization has too many silos…” Or “the company is too silo’d.” In fairness, this is often an accurate assessment because people in institutions can act in a fragmented, disconnected, and conflicted way. However, it is worth reminding each other that WE’RE the collectives of how we individually think and act in the workplace. So in that regard it may be worthwhile to reflect on the importance of fixing our personal silos first. After all, if we can’t look at ourselves as a whole system, how can we navigate our contribution in organizations in a systemic, connected way? 

Ok… The following is a bit “heady” for my little old blog. Yet I wanted to introduce you to a more spiritual look at this matter of personal silos. Richard Rohr is a best selling author, who also happens to be an Ecumenical Franciscan. I happen to believe the essence of his reflection is found in Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and/or many other religious/philosophical perspectives too. Here is what Rohr shared in his daily meditation, Aug. 6, 2014 (the beautiful day my granddaughter was born). He describes the behavior and thinking of people who see things holistically (non-duel) versus those who are dualistic or divided. Read his entire meditation if you want a more comprehensive explanation.

“Non-dual people will see things in their wholeness and call forth the same unity in others simply by being who they are. Wholeness (head, heart, and body all present, positive, and accounted for) can see and call forth wholeness in others. This is why it is so pleasant to be around whole people.

Dualistic or divided people, however, live in a split and fragmented world… Fragmented mind sees parts, not wholes, in itself and others, and invariably it creates antagonism, reaction, fear, and resistance—“push-back” from other people—who themselves are longing for wholeness.”

Character Moves: 

  1. Learning how to best contribute to a whole system starts with our ability to see ourselves in our wholeness. That’s why developing our own self emotionally and spiritually (and physically) is necessary to fully serve in any organization. Where are you on your personal wholeness journey?  
  2. When someone fires out salvos about fixing the silos in the organization, take it as a gentle reminder that we each need to work on fixing our own personal silos too. 

Personal wholeness in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: If any group of people wants to work in less of a “silo” mentality, it’s probably millennials… And since we may not have the leverage to spearhead a plan to help increase overall “wholeness” yet, it’s the perfect time to concentrate and develop our own first.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Get Ready to be Publicly Rated!

Collaboration Personal leadership Respect


Key Point: Thanks to the Internet’s relation to everything, there are a number of emerging realities. The following are two of these “truisms.” 1. If it can be publicly posted, it will be. 2. If it can be publicly rated, it will be. (You may remember these from a previous blog). 

As a leader, you are likely to experience public posting and rating of your leadership capability from both specifically known and anonymous sources.

One way or another, leadership performance is going to be much more transparent in the immediate future. Public websites like Glassdoor are just the beginning. So get yourself ready to have your performance level for all people to see. And if you’re not in a formal leadership role, expect your public employee rating to be out there for other people to see too. Yup…. Transparency is more than a buzzword or fad. It is likely to have good and not so good aspects, but overall, it’ll have a positive outcome for leadership and team member effectiveness. 

In a recent book, Leadership 2030, Georg Vielmetter and Yvonne Sell examined the repercussions of the convergence of major forces like globalization, climate change, increased individualism, and accelerating digitization.

Among their findings is that leadership in the future will involve increased personal and business-level discomfort. Leaders will have to cope with the blurring of private and public life – and they will have to forge new relationships with competitors and employees. This requires new skills and mindsets. Ego is on its way out. The following excerpt is from their HBR blog on this topic:

“Leaders motivated by power over others will not thrive in this new world. We will see more “altrocentric” leaders, who understand that leadership is a relationship and will therefore primarily focus on others rather than themselves. Adept at engaging rather than commanding, they see themselves as just one integral part of the whole. Altrocentric leaders will be capable of long-term vision encompassing both global and local perspectives.

David McClelland points out that both emotionally intelligent leaders and their egocentric counterparts tend to be motivated by power; they enjoy having an impact on others. The difference is in the type of power driving them: Egocentric leaders tend to be concerned only with personalized power – power that gets them ahead. Altrocentric leaders, on the other hand, derive power from motivating, not controlling, others.

The altrocentric leader who is intrinsically motivated by socialized power, and who draws strength and satisfaction from teaching, teambuilding, and empowering others, will be able to handle the increased pressure of tomorrow’s business environment. They understand that they need not “have all the answers” themselves, and this mindset and willingness to turn to others for help better equips them to handle the stress of the uneasy chair.

All leaders will see life become more chaotic and overwhelming, and their struggles and management will be more visible than ever. Egocentric leaders will have a difficult time evolving, if they even can, and will be unable to thrive in such discomfort. Organizations need to develop leaders who are motivated by altrocentric leadership. They will be better prepared to succeed in 2030 and beyond.” 

Having industry, job or technical skills will be table stakes and expected. Our personal attributes and ability to connect expected technical skill through others for valued results will become the differentiator. And other people around us will very openly evaluate how we’re performing at this. 

Character Moves: 

  1. As a formal leader get ready to be publicly rated on at least four major areas: A) Ability to develop effective relationships. B) Ability to achieve great results. C) Ability to develop others. D) Ability to attract others who want to work for you.
  2. As an employee get ready to be publicly rated (at minimum) on the following key areas A) Ability to create and contribute lasting value/results B) Ability to build relationships. C) Hunger to continuously grow, improve and develop. D) Others’ willingness and fight to have you on their team.
  3. Be sure your emotional intelligence is high and as noted in the article above: Put your ego on the back burner where it belongs. Learn what altrocentric means for you. 

Rated in The Triangle,


Published and edited by Garrett Rubis

Google O8 Leadership, Glassdoor Transparency and You

Collaboration Organizational leadership Respect


Key Point: I just listened to a presentation from Robert Hohman, the CEO and co-founder of Glassdoor. He is passionate about workplace transparency. Explore the Glassdoor site if you haven’t already… You will instantly understand the value. Hohman emphasized his three beliefs about the Internet’s relation to everything.

1. If it can be shared, it will be shared.

2. If it can be rated, it will be rated.

3. If it can be free, it will be free.

The other day I had the opportunity to visit with Google at their Mountain View campus. Their view about leadership is this: Everyone has the right to expect to work for a superb leader. To put this belief into action, they have established what they call the “Oxygen Eight for Great Managers (O8).” Here’s a breakdown:

1. Be a good coach: Guidance and feedback will push you to grow and still make you strongly appreciated.

2. Empower the team and do not micromanage: Trust and be there to guide/answer questions.

3. Express interest/concern for team members’ success and personal well-being. Be incredibly authentic and caring: Promote individual team member success and ensure everyone on the team becomes valuable.

4. Be productive and results oriented: Be relentless at moving obstacles and making decisions in a timely manner.

5. Be a good communicator: Create extremely open dialogue… Permit issues and concerns that would be concealed in most organizations.

6. Help with career development: It’s about growing, acquiring and sharing experiences, not just getting promoted.

7. Have a vision: Collaborate to create, share and act on a vision.

8. Use technical skills to advise: Have the competence and willingness to roll up your sleeves and help.

Google’s O8 may not exactly fit you or your organization, but in typical Google fashion, there’s a lot of science, irreverent collaboration and research behind each principle that makes each step right for their business model. My premise is that all eight would make great sense for most enlightened companies.

So here is my belief… Clearly stated leadership principles like Google’s O8, PLUS transparency as promoted by companies like Glassdoor, will connect inside and outside of organizations. People will expect to know the leader(s) they are assigned to. They will make choices based on the transparent, authentic knowledge of how effective leaders are measured against openly stated key principles and values. They will want data, unfiltered and honest information about leaders before they commit or become engaged. They will not expect perfection, but will want the real deal. Leaders need to prepare for this open, straightforward, transparent evaluation to be posted in internal company platforms AND on external sites. It will be shared, and you will be rated.

Character Moves:

  1. Be prepared to accept the principles of transparency becoming a more relevant and vital part of being a team member and leader of others.
  2. How do you think you would do against the O8 if peers, bosses and direct reports evaluated you? Why would you want to work for the “you” as rated? Develop a plan to improve your “score” now… Before it’s shared.

Transparent leadership in The Triangle,