Pick Up the Trash!

Contribution Personal leadership Respect

FlipboardTwitterLinkedInFacebook

Story: John Wooden, UCLA’s former men’s basketball coach, is arguably the most legendary hall of famer in the NCAA. One amazing thing about Wooden was his reputation for humility. He was already enshrined in the Hall of Fame as a player, and had an amazing run as a coach (10 National Championships, seven in a row). And what did he do daily? Picked up the trash in the locker room. Why? It was the right thing to do, and modeled the behavior he expected from his players.

Key Point: “Muscle humility”, a term coined by Daniel Coyle, author of the recently released The Culture Code, tells story after story outlining how service driven leaders literally and figuratively pick up the trash as a way of setting the tone for all. A few examples:

  1. There are stories of McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc, who would literally pick up discarded fast food trash every night from the street gutters near a McDonald’s franchise. 
  2. The famous rugby team, The New Zealand All Blacks, have a team value called ”sweeping the Sheds.” The leaders do the menial work, cleaning the locker room and modeling the ethic of togetherness and oneness. (Btw the All Blacks simple but straightforward hiring policy: “NO Dickheads”).  
  3. At the company I work for, we expect each other to clean up after ourselves when we have meetings. Why would we want to have someone else do that for us? 
  4. As part of the interview process for new recruits, some organizations provide an opportunity for prospects to demonstrate how thoughtful and mindful they are about others, by observing how they dispose of what they used post coffee/lunch.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Great and imperfect leaders serve others and recognize it is a privilege to do so. The idea that “Leaders Eat Last” is not an empty metaphor. Rather, as underscored in Simon Sinek’s book of the same title, it is a core value. Be one of those leaders! Be one of those team members!
  2. Picking up the trash frames up the idea that no job is too menial or dirty for any position or title. If you were the CEO of a bank, walked into an area where the ATM machines were housed, and saw the place was a mess, what would you do? I know and have seen what a great CEO does. He cleans up the area. People tell stories of ATB Financial’s CEO Dave Mowat doing just that.

Muscle humility in Personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: I was thinking the other day, one of my least favorite things I’ll hear a co-worker say is, “well, that’s not my job.” 1. Duh. Everyone knows what your job responsibilities usually entail. 2. I’m not suggesting a marketing intern should step in for the legal or accounting team, but that’s not what we’re talking about. It’s usually a small favor to just make things run smoother. Like shutting down a teammate’s computer at the end of the day for them because they forgot. Sometimes “trash” is also just loose ends here and there… One day, you’ll leave a loose end too, and it’s cool if your fellow trash-picker-uppers have your back. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis 

Mundare, Alberta & Self-Efficacy

Accountability Contribution Growth mindset

FlipboardTwitterLinkedInFacebook

Key Point: The story you tell yourself about you is vital. You ARE the author, and like any good tale it usually has a plot with many ups and downs. How will it end?

Mundare, Alberta, has a population of about 800 folks and is the consummate small, prairie town (and as seen above, renowned for producing celebrated Ukrainian sausage). It has also produced one of the world’s most influential psychologists, Albert Bandura. Two teachers taught Albert every course from grade one to 12. Rather than viewing this as a handicap, Albert framed it as an advantage: He reportedly said, “It enabled me to learn to take responsibility for my own educational development.” In 1977, Bandura published a paper on self-efficacy which changed the way much of the world viewed success and motivation. His work sprung the notion that people with high self-assurance approach difficult tasks as challenges, rather than threats to be avoided. If you believe with every ounce of your being, then you’ll go a long way towards achieving your personal objectives.

People with high self-efficacy are very self-accountable and take steps to make things they want to happen. They do not procrastinate. They start NOW. They raise their hands more, practice more, get it wrong, and try it again. They worry much less about who’s watching or judging. What they DO NOT do is equally important. They do not tear themselves down with self-blame, do not quickly lose confidence, and do not avoid risks. They are resilient and realize it’s never too late to start.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. We are all storytellers and YOUR OWN story, the one you tell yourself, is THE most important one.
  2. Great storytellers are made not born. Believe in YOUR story. Write it out! Put it down on paper. Think big and start small… Most importantly, start today.
  3. Work on developing high self-efficacy by being confident and humble. Accept failure and resistance as just experiences that build more confidence, rather than self-defeat. You write a page in your story every day. What will fill yours?

Your story in personal leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: I’d like to think I naturally lean towards a self-efficacy lifestyle, but that part of my story would be a bit of a fib. I want to, but for me, it’s a challenge and does not come easy. I have to make an effort to concentrate on these steps. That said, I know it’s worth it. After all, it’s tough to tell your story if you try to fill your pages by tapping your pen on a piece of paper. 

– Garrett

My Message to Students (And You)

Accountability Contribution Purpose

FlipboardTwitterLinkedInFacebook

Key Point: Live the life you want, NOT the life you think others expect you to live. This advice is based on research from the wishes of the dying. The biggest regret or “do over” mentioned by those in palliative care is that they spent too much time looking for approval from others, rather than being fully intentional. This is easier said than done. Parents, teachers, family, friends, all play a big role on what we could and should do with our lives.

If you examine the slide at the top of this blog, you can see the intersection and sweet spot that most often results in the most happiness. Doing what you’re good at, love to do, give and receive value for – is a great spot be in. My argument is to also work on the very core of that intersection. Work hard to discover your purpose or “why.” What is your life’s mission? (I’m not specifically talking about a job, or even career). What are your core values? These beliefs guide your daily behavior. What are yours? Who are your others – the positive impact people that you hang with? Who cares about your well being? Who are your loving critics? This includes organizations you invest your time in. All this is never ending personal discovery, and constant work. Your purpose, values and others evolve. We are never done.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Write out what you’re good at and love to do.
  2. Outline how you give and receive value (including a pay check or monetary gain).
  3. Outline your purpose and values.
  4. Specifically name five others who help you thrive, and how organizations you involve your time at are contributing to you.
  5. Stand back and give yourself some reflective time. What ah-ha did you get from putting this down on paper?

Finding the sweet spot in Personal Leadership

Lorne

One Millennial View: This is outstanding advice. While we may not still spend time in a classroom, I think the point is that we never stop being students when it comes to personal leadership development. We might internally voice what our values are, know who our others are, and spend time reflecting. But physically creating a cheat sheet for yourself, and outlining this on paper may truly deliver that ah-ha moment you’re looking for. This seems to be a homework assignment with no due date, because the final draft can always be updated.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Women Carrying the Casket

Contribution Kindness Respect

FlipboardTwitterLinkedInFacebook

Key Point: My mother-in-law, Louise Crowley, passed away last week. She was 96, a remarkable human, and someone I’ve known and loved for 50 years. One of her dying wishes was to have her granddaughters (including our proud daughters who also loved her so much) be the pallbearers at her funeral. My wife, her daughter, is giving the eulogy. What statements.

Louise was of a generation where her physical presence was most obvious in the kitchen and in service to eight children, the church and community. However, if one came to the conclusion that that’s where she “lived,” as quiet “wallpaper” in a very male-dominated household/world, you would be very mistaken. Her voice was soft, but her personal strength was harder than diamond. This is her legacy: A quiet voice that boomed out notes of “soft steel,” singing the lyrics of decency and righteousness, setting examples for ALL. Her, behind-the-scene life of service and undying kindness became center stage inspiration for the women in the family, and much needed guidance for us men.

The sacrifices and tireless work of the Louise’s in the world seem to be the underlying foundation of a much needed women leadership movement that is surging globally. The world seems to be crying out for women everywhere to lead in full stride.

On Jan. 4, 2018, Melinda Gates published the following:

“You may never know their names. They work beneath the headlines and far from the spotlight. When they receive formal recognition from bodies like the Nobel Committee, it is the exception, not the norm. But the fact remains: Under the radar, grassroots organizations led by women are quietly changing the world… In recent years, governments like those in the Netherlands and Canada have invested significant resources in women’s movements, and I hope that others will follow suit. You can be sure that Bill and I will. Over the next three years, our foundation will be investing in women’s funds like Mama Cash and networks like Prospera, which provides financial support to women’s funds and grassroots women’s organizations in over 170 countries, spanning Africa to Asia to Latin America.

Imagine what’s possible if the world decides to partner with these organizers as their allies. Imagine how much more we can accomplish if the women who are doing so much to move the world forward finally have our full support behind them.”

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Men: We have an opportunity to redefine our full partnership with women and respectfully build on our collective unique strengths to exponentially advance humankind.
  2. Women: Be relentless in advancing the movement to the full partnership you deserve everywhere; including carrying the “casket” when appropriate.
  3. Louise… Thank you. Your quiet contribution as a woman leader will be a hum in the background forever. You remain.

Women in personal leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: Grandma Louise, whether she knew it or not, had such a positive impact on everyone who knew her. In effort to bring awareness to another great person, I think both men and women Millennials should start taking notice of Tyler Haney. Still in her late 20’s, she’s the founder and CEO of Outdoor Voices (an athleisure brand that is competing with Lululemon and Nike). Her company and motto of “Doing Things” is outstanding, and taking the industry by storm. Getting to know her now is like getting her “rookie card.” I’d like to put less focus on the “men” or “women” thing, and strive to be a “Tyler.” Grandma Louise was.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Pandering HR Can Mess Culture Up

Accountability Contribution Organizational culture

FlipboardTwitterLinkedInFacebook

Key Point: People change behavior based on social interactions NOT because of some pay or performance system. Speaking as a former Chief People Officer, I think too many Human Resource (HR) professionals screw things up with good intentions, by pandering to business leaders who want some “silver bullet” HR tool or system to do their work as LEADERS.  When “bosses” don’t have the skill, will, or capability to inspire people to contribute in ways they want, they sometimes plead for HR to come up with that magical “talent performance system” or “ pay incentive plan,” so suddenly we might all snap to attention and behave just the way we are supposed to. By the way, how do you like to be “performance managed?” And don’t you like the idea that because someone “drops a few more pellets,” you and I will somehow jump up like a lab rat to behave differently? (Don’t get me wrong… I like to make lots of money. However, no pay system, however it’s designed, is going to be the prime driver for what I do and stand for).

As leaders, our job is to create a culture, a “social construct” in which people can embed themselves. Being part of that culture needs to become far more important than any punishments or rewards an employee gets. Being a member of the group becomes an end in itself. If you’ve ever been part of a team or group that you deeply care about, you know what I’m talking about. It’s about the gratifying connection of being in a band of sisters and brothers, working towards a meaningful purpose, and never wanting to let each other down.

Jason Korman, the co-founder and CEO of Gapingvoid (an innovative and leading culture design firm), describes culture as a social construct. Ben Hardy, an organization/industrial psychologist, writes about Korman’s views in a great Huffington Post article. The following captures some key points I fully resonate with:

“Change doesn’t happen through training or rewards, Korman argues, it happens socially. Rather than raises, being a part of THIS TEAM is how an employee will gain a deep sense of meaning, purpose, and connection in their life. Thus, according to Korman, leaders need to move their way up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and stop focusing on the base needs. Move up to the esteem needs, the needs for connection, and ultimately self-actualization, which can and should happen as a member of the in-group or social culture. Getting people embedded into the social construct.

So how do you get people embedded in such cultures? If you look at organizations like Zappos, when you become a member you become a ‘Zapponian.’


In other words, a person needs to tie their identity to the group. There needs to rituals and relics. There must be buy-in to the shared beliefs and behaviors that are part of the in-group. There needs to be deep connection-making happening, where people in the group learn from each other, become comfortable with each other, and develop trust. It’s not about punishments and rewards. Once a person is experiencing deep meaning and purpose from being a member of the community, their performance will naturally rise. In other words, once a person is experiencing deep connection and purpose from being a part of something bigger than themselves, you won’t be able to stop them from performing. Why? Because company outcomes will become EMOTIONAL. It won’t be about not getting a raise if an organizational outcome isn’t hit. It will be about the group not fulfilling its mission. When such is the case, good luck stopping people from working until the results happen.

When organizations can create true social cultures, wherein their employees experience a deep of meaning and purpose, and thus org outcomes become EMOTIONAL, then clients and customers will become very happy and business will become highly profitable.”

And yes, HR systems can really help. However, they need to help with attractive “pull” rather than “command” push. Advanced HR leaders know this and design accordingly.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Do you know what and how to grow a great culture? Or do you think it’s just kinda topical to talk about it? How would you go about doing it? Could you outline your leadership construct for doing so ?
  2. If you want to add a cultural framework to your leadership practice, understand how to create incredible purpose that advances humankind and and an environment that emotionally connects people towards travelling to that never-end. It’s hard to do and yet magical when the movement becomes a wave with its own energy system.
  3. I’ve offered our 8 ingredient system for building a great culture . Let me know if you want it and I will share it. If you want me to personally present it to your team or company, as ATB’s Chief Evangelist, I would be happy to do so on a Google Hangout on Air or Google Meet. Send the request to my EA, Kalbert@atb.com. Your investment is to join in serious conversation and make a modest charitable donation through our giving vehicle, ATB Cares. ATB is committed to making banking work for people AND wherever invited, we openly share the learnings of our imperfect journey to help organizations develop more meaningful and adaptive cultures.

Culture in Personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: This seems spot on. As stated above, anyone who’s been part of a team they care about knows that it’s much more about performing to better the outcome for everyone than just one self. That’s why good coaches condemn selfishness. But also, more “wins” for the team at large should also equal more personal victories. So essentially, being an unselfish team player is how you earn the best results for yourself.

– Garrett