Why Inclusion Equals Courage in Leadership

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Podcast Respect

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Story: Many of you may not remember the tragic and heinous events that make up the Matthew Shepard saga. It’s been 20 years years, and the ashes of Shepard are just being laid to rest. Note the following from Michelle Boorstein of the Chicago Tribune:

When Matthew Shepard died on a cold night 20 years ago, after being beaten with a pistol butt and tied to a split-rail wood fence, his parents cremated rather than buried the 21-year-old, for fear of drawing attention to the resting place of a person who had become a global icon for combating anti-gay hate.

With the anniversary Friday of their son’s murder, the Shepards have decided to do just that, interring his remains inside the crypt of the prominent Washington National Cathedral, where gay-equality activists say they can be a prominent symbol and even a pilgrimage destination for the movement. Although the cause of LGBT equality has made historic advancements since Shepherd was killed, it remains divisive anew in many parts of a country re-embracing tribalism of all kinds.”

Key Point: It’s been 20 years since the horrific murder of Matthew Shepard, and yes, we have seen much progress regarding diversity and inclusion overall. However, as stated in the Tribune article, there also seems to be a re-embracing of tribalism. And that is troublesome.

Last blog we highlighted the call for leadership COURAGE. This is the time for acceptance and full inclusion of ALL of our human differences. We should be intolerant of hate or intentional harm towards others, while we accept AND embrace our human differences. These principles can exist in parallel. It is our individual uniqueness that adds to the optimum richness of any community. Diversity, as they say, is being invited to the party while inclusion is being asked to dance. And you know how important I believe it is to dance with each other. The last company I worked for introduced this value: “Courageously be yourself and a true ally for others. Together we can create a place where we can ALL belong.” 

Lead Yourself Move:

  1. Each of us has to show up and be our true selves. Being brave starts at a personal level. The concept of “closets” for hiding a part or most of us is not helpful. Courage is very personal. Inclusion is an antidote to loneliness. 

Lead Others Move:

  1. How do you create conditions for inclusion in your group? How do you teach others to be an ally? Be courageous and set the example. Declare your inclusion value! Never use words that hurt, including calling people names or mocking their behavior. For example, when the President of the United States calls a woman on Twitter “horseface,” or rudely mimics a reporter with a physical disability; he does not deserve to be in a leadership role. Attacking others at a personal level divides us all.

All others in Personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: This one made me think. If I’m being honest, I’m thankful to sincerely note I’ve only worked at places that embrace diversity and inclusivity. While it’s important to remember and acknowledge terrible events like Matthew Shepard’s murder, I wonder where the value is in suggesting a lot of people in 2018 are becoming so tribal. Where? My neighborhood is full of diverse residents that all wave to each other despite different socioeconomic standings and ethnicities. When away from the social media trolls and negative news, the birds are still chirping. If we’re being realistic, we know individuals will always fight, and mean words will be exchanged. It may be uncomfortable, but it’s understandable. When humans are trying to verbally hurt each other, abrasive language is used. However, I don’t believe we can let words between a couple individuals impact, divide, or influence entire groups. To me, that’s more dangerous than any word. There has been a ton of both legal and social progress since Shepard’s death in 1998. While it’s necessary to understand more work needs to be done, I think encouraging and celebrating the positive nature of most is a better way to bring people together.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

How Brave Leaders Make Courageous Cultures!

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Podcast Respect

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Story: Our readers and wonderful followers know that Garrett and I have been pleading for the themes of courage and compassion to emerge on center stage, regarding matters of culture and leadership. And many of you know, I’m a big Brené Brown fan. She lives what she writes, and puts in the research to back up her work. Dare to Lead is her new book, which I highly recommend. Here is a tiny taste of a few big ideas that sprung from her research:

“YOU CAN’T GET TO COURAGE WITHOUT RUMBLING WITH VULNERABILITY.

The foundational skill set of courage-building is ‘rumbling with vulnerability.’ Our ability to be daring leaders will never be greater than our capacity for vulnerability.

SELF-AWARENESS AND SELF-LOVE MATTER. WHO WE ARE IS HOW WE LEAD.
The greatest barrier to courageous leadership is not fear—it’s how we respond to our fear.

COURAGE IS CONTAGIOUS.
We have to be vigilant about creating a culture in which people feel safe, seen, heard, and respected.”

Key Point: I believe that leadership effectiveness and impact is ultimately defined by acts of everyday bravery and courage. I am also with Brown on the premise that the behavior to drive courageous leadership is observable and teachable. She goes on to say via her website: “I’ve spent twenty years studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy, and I recently completed a seven-year study on brave leadership. Leadership is not about titles or the corner office. It’s about the willingness to step up, put yourself out there, and lean into courage. The world is desperate for braver leaders. It’s time for all of us to step up.”

Lead Yourself Move:

  1. Read and/or listen to Dare to Lead. Challenge yourself to learn from the research, and pick an area you can work on. You may want to start by taking this assessment. Think big, start small, act now. Be more self aware!

Lead Others Move:

  1. If we have the privilege to lead others, we have a responsibility to step up, put ourselves out there and lean into courage. Do you know what that means? Do you know what to do? What will you do next? Will your team feel it? 

Courageous leaders in Personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: This awesome message is one of those things – like “step out of your comfort zone” – that falls on a ton of deaf ears. We understand the concept, we see the possible benefits, but we fear the potential failure. Perhaps we Millennials should think back to the “truth or dare” days, and apply that same type of pressure to “double-dog dare” ourselves to be brave in our current and future roles. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

Do You Have a Waffle House Strategy?

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect

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Story: How bad is Hurricane Michael? (A category 4 storm with sustained 150+ mph winds). Waffle House reportedly closed down 30 restaurants in the storm’s path for the foreseeable future. That’s a WOW! Why? Waffle House, the 24/7 comfort-food chain, is notable for keeping the doors open when hurricanes and other natural disasters strike.

With a couple thousand locations across the United States, one of the biggest risks that the Waffle House faces regarding its culture and business model is the unpredictability mother nature. And whether during a major hurricane like Katrina, or a crazy ice storm such as Snowmageddon 2014, Waffle House will go to great lengths to keep as many locations up and running (even when the power is out, roads are impassable, and all other restaurants are shut down). The Federal Emergency Management Agency even measures the severity of a storm’s damage by something called the “Waffle House Index.” When a Waffle House restaurant shuts down, it’s really bad.

Key Point: Waffle House is a great example of making culture REAL, and not just a hollow, public relations or marketing slogan. The restaurant’s “Always Open” philosophy across its 2,100 plus locations in 25 states, is a strategic and very intentional initiative. They stay open and/or rapidly re-open during disasters because they seriously and deeply plan for it. From the CEO down, they live it! Most organizations would benefit from reviewing the Waffle House Storm Playbook. Check out the following as a brief sample:

“Before the disaster: Waffle House mitigation and planning best practices:
… Every executive in the organization is trained on how to run a restaurant on the front lines so they can be dispatched to help when disaster strikes. The company has a carefully-scripted disaster recovery playbook they dutifully follow or adapt…

During a disaster: How Waffle House responds to disaster:
… When a storm is inbound, an all-hands-on-deck alert goes out, disaster response ‘jump teams’ organize, and important resources and manpower are staged so they can be dispatched quickly when needed….

…Waffle House ships generators and gas supplies to affected locations to power the stores, to keep food from spoiling and systems running…

Revise and improve:
… The organization analyzes what worked and what didn’t, then further refines the disaster recovery playbook so they can better respond the next time around…”

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Do you know your organization’s disaster playbook? What would you be required to do in an emergency? Is it written down? You may want to visit Waffle House’s plan as an inspiration.
  2. What is your personal family’s disaster playbook? What would you and loved ones do if suddenly there was no internet, power, mobile phones, food/water disruption? Any of the above?
  3. The following is a takeaway comment regarding Waffle House: “When disaster strikes, you’ll feel the heat during the crisis, your brain might get scattered, and you’ll likely feel smothered by the pressure. But having a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place in advance will have your organization covered, allowing you to better respond to whatever life throws at you.”

No waffling in Personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: That takeaway from Waffle House is especially clever. For those unfamiliar with the restaurant, “scattered,” “smothered,” and “covered” are just a few of the popular ways people can order their hashbrowns. Not unlike its food, a well-lit Waffle House offers comfort for thousands of customers in hurricane prone regions, and the company clearly gets it. I don’t know about you, but for my company’s safety, I rushed through a 5-part required online seminar that I passed in about 15 minutes. It’s likely a lot of us can improve our own disaster playbooks. If at all possible, hash one out at your local Waffle House.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

The Gift of Becoming a Teacher

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect

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Story: Can you see in your mind’s eye the visual of a person who is phenomenal at their craft? It may be the carpenter, baker, or proverbial candlestick maker. Each area of work is populated by a few of these folks. In most cases these people were not prodigies. They just worked with relentless purpose and intentionality, often struggling to get better before eventually becoming masterful. And somehow over time, those around them come to appreciate the exceptional nature of their work and acknowledge accordingly. The purposeful craftsperson consciously or unconsciously becomes the teacher. They show the way and others become willing students.

The picture connected to this blog is of a beautiful painting given to me by a group of former teammates. It represents a “call to action” that impacted these folks, and the company in a very positive way. For me, it is way more than a gift. It is a symbol of living with purpose, imperfectly honing a craft and the generous recognition thereof. Throughout my working life, I have devoted my craft towards advancing people through leadership and culture. I have a deep belief in the value of creating conditions for people to thrive. And over my career I have had ups and downs in successfully doing so. I have miles of self-improvement still in front of me. Yet, whether as a teacher, VP of Sales, CEO or CPO, it’s been my mantra in every role and industry. The purpose and process to establish a craft that is for the advancement of others has always been the light that has guided me, and given me much more in return. I am now, after 40 years, slowly being invited to teach. I am so grateful for that honor.

Key Point: Most of us will have many different jobs and even careers. However, while the medium may change, we can continue to apply purpose, values, craft and process that eventually leads to personal payoff in the best sense of the word. Over time, the community realizes our value and like a journeyman in any field, we earn the privilege to teach and give. The biggest gift we receive in return is the interest of others learning from us. And sometimes, when we’re exceptionally fortunate, they may even send us something to commemorate that we were together and made an indelible mark.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Think of your purpose on Earth as a craft to contribute to others. Continue to consciously work on it, be clear and consistent on your values, and one day you will be given the gift of people wanting to learn from you.
  2. Think of this as a marathon. Most times it takes years of practice to hone a craft to the point of others wanting our insight.
  3. Enjoy the ride. There is a literal or metaphorical painting for you down the road. It celebrates the journey and everyone who participated with you along the way.

Celebration of a craft in personal leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: How cool is that painting? You can tell the level of talent, creativity and hard work that seeped into that canvas. While I know I’ll never be able to paint like that, I hope I can figure out my own craft in something that’ll leave a lasting impression. While not everyone’s craft will physically be displayed somewhere special, it can still be a goal to make your teachings hang in the minds of future students.

– Garrett

P.S. if you have the chance, please check out our latest Rubis And Friends podcast on Five Star Performance.  Let us know how we can improve for our next episode which will be recorded on Sunday, Oct. 7. 

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

Keep All Your Original Parts!

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect

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Story: By the time you read this blog, assuming all goes well, I will have a new left knee. I’m hobbling around to the point I can barely walk. Thank goodness medicine has advanced to where I have this opportunity. It’s debatable if had I been more careful during my life, whether I would have been able to preserve my original knee. Part of the dubious credit causing a knee problem goes to an opposing college wide receiver, who tore out my knee with a crack back block. I will never forget the distressed look on my Dad’s face when they carted me off the field in an an ambulance. However, at 19 years of age, I shrugged off the injury and felt invincible like young people often do.

Key Point: There are many times in my 40-plus year work life when I took my health too much for granted. After I finished college, my knee healed enough and kindly supported a long and gratifying period where I was a runner. Long distance jogs became my stress relief, and a time for much reflection. The Thanksgiving after being fortunate enough to finish the New York marathon, while still in my early forties, the same knee gave out. Arthroscopy and no more running. Did I do proper physiotherapy? No! Why? The truth was that I was afraid to miss work commitments. I was a new VP in a big company, and felt I couldn’t afford to take time to heal properly. I told myself I didn’t need to. B.S. Even a few years ago, after ignoring carpal tunnel symptoms and waiting too long for full recovery surgery, I was taking meetings by phone an hour after the operation. It was ignorant, and frankly a little arrogant.

Some of you will appropriately shake your heads at my poor judgment regarding the above anecdotes. You are wiser and more emotionally mature on this matter than me. However, I know others are not too different than I have been. For one reason or another, you are putting your health on the back burner. Ask yourself honestly why? In some cases, the very physical nature of a job just puts a lot of stress on the body, and making a living competes with better choices. However, in many situations we ignore or add to health issues that will catch up later in life when we just don’t need them to. A lot of executives fall into this category. Of course, this is easy to better appreciate on the eve of a major surgery.

I hope this message connects with a few readers so you might avoid getting a new body part because of what you will do more of or less of, starting today! Organizations are currently more enlightened about the total well being of employees. And I promise you that the organization will be just fine while you take care of yourself . Later in life, when you’re dealing with the consequences of your avoidance, the organization you “sacrificed” for will be long gone. Organizations are built to replace parts. Human beings are made to keep our originals. Please remind yourself of that!

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Take care of yourself first. This is NOT a new concept to you. However, the courage to act that way me be.
  2. Commit to keeping all your original parts in great working condition as part of your overall development strategy. With exponential advancement in bio medicine, you might even be able to make those originals better.

Original parts in Personal Leadership,

– Lorne

One Millennial View: Thanks for the sage advice that I believe all Millennials should keep in mind. It’s easy to ignore physical injury, to keep running through a pair of sore legs, lifting with a sensitive shoulder, and more. Tending to these issues is admitting that something might be wrong, which is an unwanted setback for anyone. Needless to say, we’ll all be keeping you in our thoughts and prayers as we might contemplate or reconsider the health of our own routines.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis