Hug a Board Member Today

Accountability Management Organizational leadership

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Story: I’m just finishing up Module 3 of the University of Toronto’s, Rotman School of Management, highly touted ICD Directors Education program. I’m learning a great deal from a world class faculty and classmates, all current or aspiring Board members. One thing I’m quite surprised about is the number of Boards that are underperforming relative to CEO succession. That is one of the most important responsibilities of a Board of Directors, and it’s stunning to learn how many examples where that is not the case. (I’m proud to say the Board of the company I work for is an all-star group of directors. They have won prestigious Governance awards for that very reason, and are proving that as we go through our current CEO succession). Ideally, Boards oversee a CEO succession process that has at least the next 20 years covered with potential internal candidates (assuming minimum five year CEO terms). Furthermore, the Board has an obligation to ensure the company has a sustainable strategy and reviews the performance of a CEO in that context. This includes proactively planning for the new CEOs succession the first day they start. This accountability is part of the fiduciary responsibility and duty of care expected of any Board of Directors in public companies.

Key Point: Most of us will never be CEOs or Board members. Yet, we are well-served to know and understand the membership and duties of Boards in the organizations where we work. They set the tone from the top with the CEO. When you work in organizations where the culture, strategy, and results are excellent, you can be quite sure the Board and management are highly functional and well aligned. The opposite is also true. High performing Boards are exceptionally engaged, proactively lead governance, risk, audit, and all aspects of human resources including, but not limited to, the compensation framework. And fortunately, in Canada, the Board is accountable to do their best for the entire corporation, including keeping in mind the impact to employees, customers, shareholders and all other stakeholders. This is more comprehensive than simply looking after the shareholders’ interest. They do all this while being accountable for any liability that might occur. Most Board members commit because they care about the institution and its purpose. Except for a few big Boards of high profile public companies, their pay is not commensurate with the personal obligations, tremendous workload, and potential personal liability involved.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Take some time to know who the Board members are in your organization. Appreciate why they personally have been selected, what they do, and what committees they are on. Recognize that they are there to do their best in good faith, and to keep your organization thriving.
  2. Appreciate that well-run Boards go through a rigorous self-evaluation process, often including tough-minded peer review. If they aren’t performing and continuously developing, the Chair will replace them. They also undertake a very thorough review of the CEO’s performance.
  3. One of the well-used operating guides for Board members  is “nose in, hands out.” The CEO runs the company, while a great Board rigorously shepherds along the way.

Hugging Board members in Personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: This is a great lesson from upper management that most Millennials likely overlook. Even most team managers might have a hard time finger pointing, or naming the Board members in their organizations. Even though the action is metaphorical, it’s tough to hug someone when you can’t even pick them out from a crowd at the next company event.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

Why Your Glassdoor Score is So Important

Accountability Management Organizational culture

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Story: Salesforce.com is flying high at the moment. It’s not intentionally in the award winning business, but it is cleaning up on “trophies” in a variety of prestigious and significant categories. The widely respected Great Place to Work organization has selected Salesforce as THE best place to work in both Canada and the U.S. They are also recognized as the most innovative organization in the world, which is impressive when competing against Apple, Google, Amazon, etc. At the GPTW conference in Toronto last week, a Salesforce executive, during her compelling presentation, pointed out that their research on employee retention was quite straightforward. They lost top talent to companies that had a higher Glassdoor score, and successfully recruited top talent from companies that had a score worse score than theirs. It is that clear and simple. Salesforce’s current Glassdoor score is 4.3 and Marc Benioff, the CEO, has a 97 percent approval rating. For most of the last six years, ATB Financial’s Glassdoor rating was 4.4, and CEO Dave Mowat had an amazing 99 percent approval. Last year, GPTW picked ATB as the No. 2 company to work for in Canada.

Key Point: If it can be rated, it will be rated. If it can be posted, it will be posted. To the extent one believes this premise to be true, what’s rated and posted on Glassdoor should matter greatly to leaders. According to its website, Glassdoor’s mission is: To help people everywhere find jobs and companies they love, through the power of transparency. The company’s numbers from Q1 2017, show 41 million unique users and 5,800 paying employer clients/partners. The average company rating is 3.3, on a five-point scale where 1.0 is very dissatisfied; 72 percent of employees rate their job/company “ok,” and the average CEO approval rating is 67 percent.

Glassdoor holds a growing database of millions of company reviews, CEO approval ratings, salary reports, interview reviews and questions, benefits reviews, office photos and more. Most of this information is shared by those who know a company best — the employees. Add to that millions of the latest jobs — the site allows you to see which employers are hiring, what it’s really like to work or interview there according to employees, and how much you could earn. According to the website, what differentiates Glassdoor from other recruiting channels is the quality candidates and the company’s influence on candidates’ decisions as they research jobs and companies.

Glassdoor’s transparency and integrity is vital, and has to be above being manipulated by trolls, bots, etc., where it might be gamed or faked. From my understanding, they have done a great job in this regard. While smart companies work at proactively encouraging favorable reviews, and are able to respond to negative comments, Glassdoor’s ratings and results are very real and demand serious attention. Would you work for a company that was more or less than___? What’s your minimum number?

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Be aware of your company’s Glassdoor score.
  2. Read the rating/reviews, and have the leadership courage to non-defensively discuss both openly.
  3. Have a Glassdoor strategy. Not for the purpose of strategic trickery, but to really know and understand what current, past, and prospective employees are publicly declaring on this important platform. Then take action accordingly.

Aspiration: Higher than 4.5 on Glassdoor in Personal Leadership, 

– Lorne

One Millennial View: Glassdoor is definitely a useful window into what to expect from the company you might work for. I’ve been surprised to see some of the low, and high numbers from a variety of workplaces. Like with all social media, bots and trolls are likely involved, but if we Millennials are good at anything, it’s filtering through electronic nonsense.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis.

 

Wednesday Q/A on Personal Leadership

Management Organizational culture Personal leadership

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To our readers, 

Welcome to our latest installment of a Lorne Rubis Q/A series. We’ve accumulated some popular leadership questions, and below are Lorne’s answers to them. We plan to release these every-other Wednesday. We’d like to encourage you to participate, see below on how to contribute! 

  1. “Hey Lorne, I’ve just been promoted to a sales manager position and will be responsible for a team for the first time. Do you have any advice for someone stepping into a leadership position for the first time?” 

Yes… Regardless of what leadership level, people around you want to know who you are and what you stand for (your values / personal purpose) and where you’re going (so they can decide if they want to be part of it). The more you can be clear and authentic about the above, the more trust you will develop. And be real. You will be transparently obvious. No one likes a phony. And finally, people will give you lots of room to lead if they believe you deeply care about them first.

– Lorne 

  1. “When attempting to build and advance culture in your organization, is timing important?”

Building and advancing your culture is a never ending intentional focus. It does not have an end. However, there are times (like CEO transitions) or major market shifts when renewed energy or concentration ought to be applied! Key: Be intentional… Be relentless… Think and be humbly BIG!

– Lorne

We hope you enjoyed this Q/A session. We’d like to keep these coming, so if you have any questions, please submit them to CultureCastPodcast@gmail.com, or DM us @CultureCastPod1 on Twitter. We look forward to many more, every other Wednesday.

Offer a Continuous Buyout?

Accountability Management

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Key Point: People should want to work for a company, and not feel obligated to stay (and vice versa). As reported by the Financial Post, “Shaw Communications Inc. will eliminate 25 percent of its workforce after about 3,300 employees accepted buyouts, five times more departures than originally anticipated as the company charts its path into a digital future. The Calgary-based communications giant announced… the results of its voluntary buyout program, stating it expects to take a $450 million charge in the second quarter of fiscal 2018 in relation to the massive restructuring. That includes severance and other employee costs, as well as expenses for the initiative it’s calling a ‘total business transformation.’ Shaw offered packages to 6,500 employees in late January. At the time, it said it expected only 650 employees to accept the offer.”

Wow! What does it say about an organization when you give them an incentive to leave and 25 percent want out? Perhaps an even more important question is; how can you miss estimating how many people actually want to leave by 5x? In fact, 25 percent moving on might be a great number if you hope to reinvent your company, and need a major injection of new talent. If I was on that board, I’d be asking some very tough questions. I’d be most concerned with leadership not being more in touch, than the fact that 1/4 of the entire workforce chose the long term uncertainty of unemployment rather than to stay with the company. And saying the offer was too rich is an oversimplification. No one is getting rich on this, or most other corporate buyouts.

It’s easy to take pot shots at Shaw from a distance, and I certainly don’t have the entire picture. Running a cable/communications company in this disruptive environment has to be very challenging. However, I think there is lots to learn from this for all companies. I believe every company should have a standing buyout offer similar to Shaw’s. If people would rather leave – please go. Quitting ON the job, or having the wrong skill/attitude combination, has to be the biggest cost for any company. Surely, having a defined self-selected path out would make it easier for all. The flipside is that companies should also be able to ask a person to involuntarily take a buyout if, for whatever reason, they don’t see that individual as part of the future. In this case, it would be clear that EVERYONE was all-in. At the same time, leadership would be more committed to having a very attractive purpose/vision, great culture and team members would be more self-accountable for bringing their very best every day.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. If you were presented with the Shaw offer (reported to be six months of pay plus one month for every year spent at the company), would you take it? What does your answer tell you? How many of your colleagues would take it? How confident are you with the estimate?
  2. Let’s all work at changing the stupidity of “golden handcuffs,” and the phony time wasted with outdated, Dilbert inspired performance management. You and I are both giving and receiving value, or we’re out. Contrary to many of my recommendations, it actually is that simple and not that hard. And it’s likely over a long career you and I will experience both options. Yay!

Loving buyouts in Personal Leadership,

Lorne  

One Millennial View: I don’t think many people wish to be in the shoes of a leader at a cable company in this Netflix, YouTubeTV, and HBONow era. It must be tough. And, I think us Millennials understand the temptation of ditching a gig for a buyout. Instant gratification? For better or worse, that’s kind of our language. That said, most of us would rather swipe right on a company and not completely want to bail after one date. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Wing Nuts and Cultural Contribution

Abundance Management Organizational culture

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Key Point: “You’re a bunch of extraordinary leaders and wing nuts.” That was the comment from a leader in the community I was having breakfast with the other day. She was commenting on the success we’ve had growing a phenomenal culture at ATB Financial. Her view is that members of the senior leadership were individually a bit odd; certainly the CEO and me, if not the rest. I took that as a compliment. It got me thinking about the paradox of being alike, yet different.

Wharton’s top leadership thinker, and best selling author, Adam Grant, notes the following:

Hiring like-minded employees can be unifying and motivating for a startup powered by the momentum of its first, disruptive idea. But a growing body of evidence questions that approach for scaling companies, says Grant. ‘Culture fit’ becomes a proxy for non-boat-rockers whom everyone likes, and feels comfortable around. That way, stagnation lies. Grant prefers ‘cultural contribution.’ ‘Instead of asking, ‘does this person fit our culture?’’ he says, ‘We should be asking, ‘What is missing from our culture, and is this person going to enrich it?’”

I agree with Professor Grant. We do need boat-rockers and people that make us think differently. In my view, I want people to be alike on core values like self-accountability, respect and abundance. However, I also want people who challenge the heck of out of me and others. I consider myself to be a respectful challenger, and yes, a bit of a wing nut. And I hope that makes all of us better.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. When you add to your team or organization, give more serious consideration to cultural contribution. What’s missing? How might this next person enrich it? Consciously seek out the diversity they might bring.
  2. Celebrate your constructive wing nuts. You might even be one.

Wing Nuts in Personal Leadership,

Lorne  

One Millennial View: I’ve certainly heard the theory that commonly makes its way into informal conversation: “There’s something a little ‘off’ about CEOs, political leaders, etc.” Some people suspect Elon Musk isn’t even from this planet. Personally, I do not view this as a negative adjective or descriptor. Various cynics even like to attribute high levels of success to stages of narcissism and autism. Who knows? There might be pieces of truth in all of that. But as Millennials, why would we say this? To me, it sounds like an excuse. Is it because we have big hills to climb and it’s easier to preemptively decide we can’t than put in the work (and possibly fail)? We can seemingly comment “#Goals” when we see a desirable achievement on Instagram, but then what? Rationalize that they must be a psycho for putting too much effort into work, appearance, relationships, etc? I sure hope I can rock the boat by being a wing nut, and I care way more for that idea than joining any like-minded group that cares not to try. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis