Crush Dumbass Rules & Make Them Work for People!

Accountability Personal leadership

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This is the second value in the current 10 ATBs Series.

Story: When I check in at a hotel I regularly stay at, they ALWAYS make me sign the same stupid paperwork that says I won’t smoke in a room (and a bunch of other stuff that I don’t care about). And even though I work for a very successful public company, and pay with a corporate credit card, they take a deposit in excess of my room rate. Our bank, to be fair and brutally honest, also has some dumbass rules. As an example, we are only allowed to email transfer a certain amount of funds per day, even when we have plenty of OUR money in our bank account. To pay an invoice more than $3K, we have to do it over several days. How annoying is that to us and the payee? And who are these rules for? Well, certainly not the customer or service employees. Nope… They are primarily to protect the company.

Key Point: So the the second value in our company (obviously not totally implemented yet, based on the example above ) is to Make Banking Work FOR People. You can exchange the word “banking” for your business. Often times, organizations have a bunch of processes that are there for the organization’s risk-management, NOT for the people who deliver them, or customers who receive them. They have often been designed to prevent the company from being ripped off. So what do companies do to reduce economic pain inflicted by a few? Well, they decide to mitigate by creating a rule (often a goofy one) for ALL? When you ask why or confront the rule/process, the unsatisfactory response is, “that’s just the way we do it.” Or the infamous, “it’s company policy.”

Confront every process and rule by looking through the eyes of people who have to execute, and customers that receive it. When people insist that it must be done a certain way, and you know it sucks, get the data. That will inform you. Push back relentlessly, and design differently.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Look at everything you do through the eyes of people who deliver it and customers who receive it. What is that experience like?
  2. Genuinely ask whether the company really has to do it that way?
  3. Be a maverick and break dumb rules, (except those that are legal or compliance requirements). People will applaud, and you will get ahead.
  4. Remember you are a designer. Every process or rule tells you how really people/ customer focused you are. I bet you people can easily name 10 dumbass rules/processes.

Working for People in Personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: How about regularly re-writing and designing the top-rated “goofiest” rules in your company. Legal can inform you if they can’t be changed due to laws. Other top-rated stupid rules get replaced every month? Or I dunno, maybe that sounds like a dumbass rule. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

Wednesday Q/A on Personal Leadership

Authenticity 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, I’m in a position where I need to deliver bad news to my team. What’s the best way for a leader to approach a situation like this? 
 
“I am such a big believer in trusting in the audience with transparency and truth. People have pretty good BS antennas that they can see through most “spins.” So, be authentic, tell the truth regardless of how difficult, be compassionate and trust that people will be overall appreciative.”
 
2. What kind of criticism about personal leadership do you hear the most?
 
“The biggest complaint I hear about leaders is their perceived lack of courage and self-accountability to confront difficult issues with directness, meaningful specificity and timeliness. They too often confuse patronizing niceness with care. Subsequently the reason they would rather avoid talking about hard stuff is often to protect themselves from the emotional impact. The mental spin in their own mind is to protect others. Instead they make it worse. Leaders have to CARE about others first. That includes addressing the tough issues relative to people.”
 
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.

Don’t Forget About the Don’ts!

Accountability Personal leadership Productivity

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Story: I was listening to a relatively inexperienced leader explaining why he was having a hard time getting stuff done on major projects. As he outlined the obstacles, it was always somebody else’s fault. After the meeting, I respectfully took him aside and told him NOT to do that. Yes, I also positively suggested what he might say and do instead. However, I explicitly and unapologetically told him what NOT to do and explained the consequences. I believe he appreciated the specific examples and frankness of me saying flat out, “don’t do that and here’s why. And here is a way you might approach the matter to demonstrate you are personally self accountable instead of laying off blame on others.”

Key Point: I wonder if we have become so concerned about being so positive and nice that we have gone soft on the “don’ts.” Yes, I know we want to catch people doing things right instead of wrong, and all that well-intended encouragement. Yet the positive “do’s” often become clearer when accompanied by the additional insight supplied by a “don’t.” As a trivial example, “clean up and buss your dishes” might also need an explicit “don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink; rinse and put them in the dishwasher.” It’s obvious, you say? I don’t think so. For some, people cleaning up dishes and putting them in the sink, more than meets the “do.” Yet additional clarity sometimes comes with the “don’t.” “Be more specific on the ‘do’,” you say. Perhaps… Yet, the most efficient and impactful communication might come from the “don’t”. Outlining don’ts doesn’t necessarily mean one is negative, unless that is the only mantra. Lonesome “don’ts” can rapidly drain our energy.

We have 10 explicitly stated values outlined, and we call them our 10 ATBs. They are stated in positive terms like ATB No. 3, which is “Think Yes First.” To have people understand this completely, we tell stories that illustrate what behavior demonstrates this action. We also find stories that demonstrate thinking “no” first, and this better frames up the full value statement. It’s old fashioned “do’s and don’ts” that bookend a more complete understanding. When I watch great sports or music coaches, they balance both. When we engage people respectfully and they understand that our intentions are being fueled by helping them advance, they normally relish a healthy balance of “do’s” and “don’ts.”

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Be more positive than negative. However, recognize that calling out a “don’t” is legitimate, and may be the best way to achieve a more clear understanding.
  2. If you are on the receiving end of a “don’t,” say a genuine “thank you” for the feedback and then look at it more objectively. Don’t be so thin skinned that when you hear a”don’t,” it bothers you. You don’t have to score an “A” in everything. This is easier said than done.

Accepting the value of “don’t” in Personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: This is specifically helpful for my perma-positive generation who just plain LOVES being triggered by everything, and likes to believe they can do no wrong. In reality, there are plenty of rights and wrongs, and do’s and don’ts. It’s our duty to learn these things. If we don’t recognize this, we’re simply lying to ourselves. Sometimes a little gut-check and a “don’t” is exactly what we need to improve.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

Pick Up the Trash!

Contribution Personal leadership Respect

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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 

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.