Fight For Each Other and Against Indifference!

Books Resilience Respect

FlipboardTwitterLinkedInFacebook

Update: Please check out our new Rubis And Friends podcast, and subscribe to the YouTube channel. Future podcasts will be broadcast live, every Sunday at 4 p.m. Mountain Time! (With the recorded episode uploaded the following day). 

Story:The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of beauty is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, but indifference between life and death.” That is a famous quote by the late Eliezer “Elie” Wiesel, a Romanian-born, American-Jewish writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate, and Holocaust survivor. He authored 57 books, written mostly in French and English, including “Night,” a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps, where he lost his parents and younger sister. Sadly, his charitable foundation and personal estate were also victimized financially by the scandalous Bernie Madoff. However, as with every other incredible life challenge experienced, the venerable Wiesel shrugged it off and took us all to a higher plain of understanding regarding the human condition. If you want a greater insight into Wiesel the humanist, listen to this podcast with Oprah.

Key Point: The reason I connect Wiesel to the world of organization culture and leadership is a tribute to his prime message, which goes far beyond the eternal horror of the holocaust. Wiesel’s most urgent plea was to guard us against INDIFFERENCE. And there are many emerging forces that can feel beyond our reach and make indifference more seductive.

Based on the premise above, I strongly urge you to read Yuval Noah Harari’s powerful new book, 21 Questions for the 21st Century. The author notes: “My new book will aim to answer the overarching question: what is happening in the world today, what is the deeper meaning of these events and how can we individually steer our way through them? The questions I aim to explore will include what the rise of Trump signifies, whether or not God is back, and whether nationalism can help solve problems like global warming.”

Bill Gates reviews Harari’s book in this past Sunday’s New York Times, offering this assessment: “What does Harari think we should do about all this? Sprinkled throughout is some practical advice… Life in the 21st century demands mindfulness – getting to know ourselves better and seeing how we contribute to suffering in our own lives. This is easy to mock, but as someone who’s taking a course on mindfulness and meditation, I found it compelling.”

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. More than ever, as we see this disruptive convergence between Artificial Intelligence and Bio Science turn every assumption about work and living upside down, each of us must actively engage in the process of creating cultures and workplaces we desire! (And when you read “21 Questions,” it will make you shake your head a little).
  2. We cannot allow avoidance and indifference to become our default position in a world where the rich technological “haves” overwhelm the rest of us as the “have nots.” We all have a voice, and deeply caring about each other as people first will help us find the best paths forward!

No Indifference in Personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: Interesting. I think we’d be lying if we were to say it wasn’t easy to be indifferent about many things. That said, I think it plays to the respect aspect of this blog to give due attention what we are indifferent about, ask ourselves why, and revisit the question. 

– Garrett

 

Shaking and Rumbling Before the Breakthrough

Abundance Resilience Transformation

FlipboardTwitterLinkedInFacebook

Story: Chuck Yeager, the famous US pilot credited as the first to soar through the sound barrier, describes the unbelievable ruckus before the actual breakthrough. Accounts by Yeager and numerous others describe the incredible shaking, rocking, noise and general turbulence at 700 mph before cracking through. Then, there’s the wondrous beauty, relative silence and smooth sailing in the aftermath.

Key Point: Everyone of us will have numerous barrier breaking experiences in our lives (if we’re fortunate). And right now, many people I know and love, seem to be feeling Chuck Yeager’s turbulent moments. When you’re in it, whatever the circumstances, and however long, it will feel like eternity. It will feel like everything will bust apart and you will literally, in some form, crash and burn. The fact is, unless you choose that outcome, it rarely happens. At the moment, never ending crap and bad luck actually feels relentlessly real. Yet, when one is given the perspective from the future, which we unfortunately don’t have, it will viewed as a blip in our lifetime journey.

Some studies suggest that if you’re under 50 years of age, unless unlucky, you will likely live to be more than 125 years old. Those of us over 50 all have a good shot to beat 100. The few years of shakiness one may be going through momentarily will feel like an anthill in the rear view mirror.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Ok… I get that there are obligations and bills to pay. That is just one problem in a lousy situation, and it often involves taking a huge gulp of humility. Someone I love dearly has a graduate degree and more initials at the end of his name than anyone I know. After his job situation blew up, he spent almost three years as a greenskeeper on a local golf course, humbly waving at executives he knew from his prior role playing 18-holes and drinking beer. I admire him. Five hard years later (after getting laid off again in the oil recession), he’s back at full-swing doing what he’s great at. He’s a better human/leader for it. Allow for carving out the obligation strategy from the overall personal reinvention strategy. 
  2. This personal “shaking” time has to be your sweet opportunity to self-learn AND add to your adaptive resilience. What new content/skills will you acquire? Why? What personal values will you extend, adjust and embrace? What stories will you be able to tell? As you attend to number one above, you need a parallel plan for YOU! DO NOT waste the time just frantically throwing out resumes and network. Of course, you have to do that. But if that’s ALL you do, you’ll just get another job. If helps number one above for a while but…
  3. If you have a friend going through this, for heaven’s sake reach out and be a true friend. Your ignorant silence speaks all the judgment you may be trying to avoid. Don’t worry, it’s not contagious. However, I promise you one thing, even if you confidently deny it at the moment, your Chuck Yeager time will come. I hope your friend that you ignored in his/her time, will be there just to care and listen to you.

Breaking the sound barrier in Personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: Yeah, it’s crazy to understand or grasp the full amount of time we have to be personally and professionally malleable. We Millennials likely still remember school (where everything was given a letter grade and improvements could be managed and calculated accordingly). Now, it’s a little more complicated. But, hopefully our values, positive attitude, work ethic, and goals can help get us through turbulence… Even if it’s shaking for an uncomfortable amount of time.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

The Other Side of Epic Failures  

Abundance Courage Resilience

FlipboardTwitterLinkedInFacebook

 

Key Point: Risk and reward go together like two sides of a coin. If you want to experience great rewards, you need to take calculated risks. The last few blogs have been examples of some personal, epic failures. I want to balance that perspective with some of the rewards associated with taking those risks. Please allow me to share a few of them:

Epic Failure 1: Fortune 50 Company

  • Worked directly for the Chair/CEO and facilitated strategic discussions like determining whether to purchase 25 percent of Time Warner; Facilitated the potential outcome of splitting the company into two distinct entities (growth and value). Both resulted in tremendous value increase for shareholders.
  • Participated in the growth of the wireless/cable telephony business in eastern europe and observed entire countries dramatically change commerce and personal communications.
  • Experienced and observed the board of directors meetings/private dinners of this company and connected with iconic board members like Mary Gates (Bill’s mom), the chair/CEO of Dow, 3M, vice chair of Ford etc .
  • Worked daily with incredibly talented office mates like Tom Bouchard ( became world wide HR of IBM) , John O’Farrell (Now partner in big time Silicon Valley VC, Andreesen Horowitz).

Epic Failure 2: Catalogue IT Company

  • Learned how to sell low margin IT infrastructure to both consumers and business.
  • Established a reference and framework for transforming a mid-size company in mid flight.
  • Led a team of believers to win the contract to procure IT for all of MICROSOFT ($100 million plus/annum), and helped the company crossover to a true IT Business reseller.
  • Experienced the nuances and operating responsibility of running a publicly traded company end to end.

Epic Failure 3: Voice over IP startup:

  • Learned what running a hungry tech startup meant/felt like.
  • Experienced the challenge of selling emerging technology into a legacy market.
  • Appreciated never to take anything for granted and to be grateful for all.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Remember that risk and reward go together and the key determiner of success is YOU. Others may have a view and even data as evidence one way or another. However, the criteria of success that is most important is your own .
  2. The biggest regret expressed by the dying, based on research by palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware, was the wish to have the courage to NOT live the lives others expected. Be intentional about what YOU want to do; not what you think others want you to do.
  3. Consider the following quote by Meg Cabot; ‘Courage is not the absence of fear, but the judgment that something else is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever, BUT THE CAUTIOUS DO NOT LIVE at ALL!”

Have the courage to live in Personal Leadership

Lorne

One Millennial View: It’s amazing to realize how many of the courageous people died in WWI and WWII. Think about it. Now, we’re the generation that lives way after, but hopefully not without remembering those who truly were not cautious and saved the world for us.

–  Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

A Series: Learning From My Epic Failures (Part 3)

Growth mindset Resilience Respect

FlipboardTwitterLinkedInFacebook

Key Point: Timing is everything. And sometimes things happen that can best be explained as plain, bad luck. Epic Failures No. 1 and No. 2 outlined in my last couple blogs, ironically played into No. 3. When I was with the Fortune 50 Company, (US WEST), I met lots of brilliant Telcom engineers and business people. A few of them I really respected started a voice over the internet startup, and they asked me to join the team. This was essentially Skype (before Skype), circa late 90’s, and the “dot.com” world was on fire. I was being recruited by all kinds of startups, and company valuations were crazy high. Stock options/payouts and buyouts/IPOs, were the news of the day. It was a modern day gold rush, and many of the so called .coms were proven to be .cons. They were being hyped with little or no profit performance. Still, the bubble seemed unstoppable, and we believed our new company (AuraServ) was better and different than a lot of the other hype out there.

AuraServ seemed like a no lose deal. Great technology, an excellent value proposition, superb management team, funded by one of Silicon Valley’s premiere VCs, etc. I then was the COO of a technology company (epic No. 2), and had earned a ton of stock options. However, I was in my early 50’s, our girls both in private U.S. universities, Garrett still in high school. Probably not the best personal time to take a big risk. On the other hand, my due diligence determined (along with the assessment of many others I got advice from) that this was a sure bet. And, if I was going to be part of a tech startup, it seemed like now or never? The plan:  I would sell my options upon leaving my current company (a little back up nest egg). Then, with this new voice internet powerhouse, I would experience building a super company with great purpose and potentially make a financial home run, too.

Then it happened: The .com market bubble burst almost overnight and severely discounted and penalized most technology stocks, including the company I left. My stock options were now ALL under water and I had to exercise them within a time frame that was unfavorable (no nest egg and a BIG ouch). And, if you are old enough to remember that time, almost all investment capital immediately dried up. Even though AuraServ was getting customers and meeting revenue commitments, we could not get our next round of funding. Uh oh! We ran out of cash, and out of business. Over 100 employees now without work. Disappointed people I deeply cared for who believed in me. Our family investment, gone! Holy %#!*!  It took me two months without a pay check to ensure every person working for me that wanted to have a job, found one. Now, I had to recover personally. It was a miserable time for me. 

The good news with a supportive wife and family, a little good luck, personal perseverance, and hard work, I bounced back and became the CEO of another company. While the AuraServ outcome was disappointing, I was proud of the results we achieved and learned a lot about myself. I recognize how much I am a blessed and fortunate man with way more than anyone could ask for.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Sometimes all the due diligence and analysis are impacted by events totally out of one’s control. Be mentally prepared that this could happen at any time. Know your risk tolerance. How much are you willing to lose? How resilient are you if the worst happens? Well run organizations intentionally manage risk. We need our personal risk plan too. Do you have yours? By the way, the flip side of risk is opportunity.
  2. The essence of purposeful living involves progressing on things that the market or other commercial endeavors cannot take away from us. Love, purpose, family, adventure, learning… Everything material goes away in time. While we all know that, sometimes we get to practice experiencing it before we die. And I believe we become better for it.
  3. Please read Dan Pink’s new book, “When,”which puts more science behind the issue of timing. 

Grateful and Resilient in Personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: In Tony Robbins’ new book “Unshakable,” (which is primarily about financial wealth), he emphasizes the importance of “real wealth” extending to being emotionally, psychologically and spiritually sound, too. Other wise words I’ve heard recently pertaining to when things get tough: “Tend your garden. No one can take that away from you.” Certainly something to keep in mind when you’re in the grind. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

A Series: Learning From My Epic Failures (Part 1)

Growth mindset Resilience Respect

FlipboardTwitterLinkedInFacebook

Key Point: Why would I waste my many failures by keeping them to myself? Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of my work and many accomplishments over the span of a 40+ year career. I will leave the evaluation of my success to the judgment of others, and the archives of history, if anyone is really interested. My failures, however, are mostly mine to share and expose. I wish my working career was a big “Facebook fairy tale” filled with one perfect picture after another, but you and I know that would be an incomplete description. I won’t bore you with my mundane failures. Instead, I will stick to several of my “epic” goof-ups, what I’ve learned from them, and what I might encourage you to do to avoid repeating. I must note that I hope you get the chance to create your own big screw ups. Like the phrase goes, “you only trip when you’re moving.”

Frankly, I may have been one of the fastest rising executives in a Fortune 50 company, ever. I started as a 38-year-old director in a division, and less than three years later, I was one of seven execs reporting directly to the CEO and Chairman. During my first career planning session with the CEO, he said to me, “it may be a little early to talk about you rising to my job, but we want to make sure you have all the right steps to get there.” I was head of World Wide Quality, lead facilitator of the global strategy, and coordinated all of my bosses meetings. I was “golden.”  Four years later, I left the company, burnt out and confused as to what the hell happened.

Of course, my view and assessment is only one perspective, and I’m sure other characters in this “play” might see otherwise. The punchline is that I believe I lost my way on the personal value I was providing my boss, and political naivety put me at odds with leaders who were much more powerful and skilled than I was. Because I had risen so quickly, I hadn’t established a loyal tribe and ended up being too dependent on my own insights to navigate. As the corporate leader of quality in the company, our biggest domestic division suffered material deterioration to customer service. While I wasn’t responsible for the action that caused it, I lacked the political strength and/or skills to countermeasure it. And my boss, the CEO, became disenchanted that people weren’t listening to my advice. The problem became bigger than me. The Japanese have a wonderful saying that in loose translation states, “better to button the shirt from the bottom up. If you start too close to the top, you might miss a button hole and have to start over again.” Hmm.

Personal Leadership Moves:

1. Remember that potential and past work means very little going forward. You have to constantly be reassessing the value you bring. Your boss has one vote and usually gets input from others. However, that’s a giant vote and if you aren’t helping your boss big time, loyalty will diminish. It can happen over night. Don’t be paranoid, and don’t be naive.

2. When you find yourself faced with one tough, big ass problem, don’t go at it alone. Do not act helpless either, and never point your finger elsewhere. Bring the stakeholders together as effectively and quickly as you can to move things forward. Don’t wait!

3. Remember that your career will have ups and downs. Very few of us get a free ride or catch the perfect wave time after time. Accepting this precept means that when things change, we put ourselves in a position to say: “Thank you… I can hardly wait to see what fate has in store for me next.”

Failing up in Personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: This is a great idea for a series. This reminds me of the Jocko Willink clip, “Good.” I’m not sure if I’ve shared this on the blog before, but, it’s always “good” for a refresher. This is a very eye-opening look at failure, and quite a kick-in-the-pants if you haven’t seen it yet: 

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis