Asking For and Giving Straight Talk! 

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect

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The Challenge: One of the cliches of business is: “We need to have better communication.” Who can argue with this ultimate “motherhood” statement? Still, people are weary of worn out, top down communication and management spin. They don’t typically want the polished and carefully worded “speak” from the marketing department. Frankly, when they see an executive post or email, the data says that up to 80 percent of recipients tend to discount the message at best, or ignore at worst. So what can a leaders do about it? 

What I Think People Want: Streaming technology allows us to talk to people in real time from anywhere the internet is accessible. Applications like YouTube Live, Skype, Zoom, Google Meets, Microsoft Teams, and more, give us a platform to have immediate and authentic conversations. In my last organization, I would live stream on various topics with internal or external guests every Friday. It was optional for people to join the conversation, yet we would average nearly 500 people every live session. The episodes were recorded and many more watched/listened to the playback at a more convenient time. I humbly also understood that the community didn’t show up just for my guest or me. They collected on the platform because they became part of the message. The chat was every bit as important or perhaps even more significant. The online participants answered each other’s questions, virtually gave “high fives,” posted great points, editorialized, and much more. It became a communication potpourri of what was relevant to the audience. 

In my new role and organization I’m going to do this even better. Every Wednesday, starting in the fall, anyone in the organization who wants to know what’s going on and/or desires to express a view is going to be invited. I expect this live stream, in its raw, open, uncluttered, transparent way, will take us all to a higher version in becoming one team. I’m going to tell it like I see it and expect the same from everyone. 

Could you livestream with your teams or in your organization? Do it! It’s all upside if you’re real and don’t spin. Trust the audience. They’re worth it. 

Think Big, Start Small, Act Now! 

Lorne 

One Millennial View: How cool is that? As mentioned above, we all have the resources to connect and have a free platform. I’m a giant fan of listening to valuable content, and if your organization can have a voice, why not let it ring with full transparency? Best of luck. 

– Garrett 

Blog 992

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Culture Champions Meet Skeptics and Cynics! 

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect

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At key times during the culture and disruption initiative I’m leading, I’m going to share the strategy, tactics, pivots, etc. with our followers so we all might learn together. It will be authentic, messy and hopefully instructive. Please join us with the overall objective of inspiring a movement to create even greater workplaces and organization cultures. Everyone has the right to thrive in a great workplace. Each of us has an obligation to make it so.

The Challenge: We wanted feedback from the Boot Camp participants and asked for their reactions. We were very pleased with the results and the following is a tiny snippet of responses: 

We asked: In your own words, what impact has the Culture Boot Camp had on you?

Responses:

“It’s challenged me to be a better leader. It connected me better with my colleagues, feeling that we are united in purpose – to work together to make an even greater place for all to be.”

“I have an increased awareness of my own actions (and reactions) to those around me. There is value to rumble with vulnerabilities in both my personal life and at the workplace with my team, we can actually make our work aligned with our own lives, ambitions, spiritual and intellectual beliefs. And that this, in turn makes us better ‘workers’ and successful in the things we love to do most.”

“The Culture Boot Camp gave me a framework and some exemplars of what a strong culture can do and how behavior changes. It is complex, takes ongoing effort, is built on trust, needs clear values and purpose, and will elevate our success significant. I found this experience very invigorating and positive.”

“I think it will be infectious (in a good way) if we do right… If we elevated ourselves with a strong culture, I’m pretty excited about what that would mean… Thank you for instilling a renewed sense of purpose and accountability, within me, to the people I work with everyday.”

Now What? Those following this journey in our blog posts know that our Culture Champions will be out conducting a comprehensive listening campaign throughout the entire organization during the summer. What my team needs to do is to provide parallel support as they run into healthy skeptics, and unfortunately, the not so healthy cynics. The Champions will have had the benefit of the Boot Camp momentum and collegial support from co-Champions. However they are likely to hear a facsimile of the following: “Why are we doing this anyway?” “My boss will never get or support this.” “Ha, this flavor of the month will disappear by winter.” “The execs are just trying to look good,” “What happens after this Rubis guy leaves? Who needs a Culture Officer? Just a stupid expense.” “You guys have drank the Kool-Aid, but don’t expect me to be stupid.” “Instead of high level crap like culture, why don’t they fix ___ first? That’s what matters to me.” Etc. This is expected and frankly understandable. We need to listen to all without being defensive or trying to “sell” anything. Taking the right action based on what we hear will be most important. In the meantime, we can positively add to the momentum based on insights we already have. Stay tuned to find out what they might be. By the way, healthy skepticism is important and helpful. Cynicism on the other hand is destructive and over time most will self-select out of the system. They go elsewhere to be disengaged and miserable. 

Think Big, Start Small, Act Now. 

– Lorne 

One Millennial View: Sounds like these Champions will have their work cut out for them over the summer. It’s good that they are armed knowing that skepticism and cynicism are to be expected. It seems to be that if you’re doing something different that everyone is immediately on board with, you’re not doing it right anyways. 

– Garrett 

Blog 991 

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Culture Boot Camp Report

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect

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At key times during the culture and disruption initiative I’m leading, I’m going to share the strategy, tactics, pivots, etc. with our followers so we all might learn together. It will be authentic, messy and hopefully instructive. Please join us with the overall objective of inspiring a movement to create even greater workplaces and organization cultures. Everyone has the right to thrive in a great workplace. Each of us has an obligation to make it so.

The Challenge: The last blog outlined the importance of a great start to the Boot Camp. That’s important. However one has to land the rest of the content so that it has serious impact, and the participants really connect. The cohort included 25 selected culture champions and about 25 experts from other areas of the college. So how might you do it?

What We Did: The first key content area was to define what organization culture is, and then to observe it in action elsewhere. We asked the cohort to virtually explore six other company cultures virtually (eg. Waffle House to WestJet). By being cultural anthropologists it’s amazing what you can observe by searching online. The next core content focus was to present a cultural framework. In this case it is my 10 Key Elements to Build Adaptive and Extraordinary Cultures.

The important understanding underlying this framework is to think of applying the 10 Elements as a system. Each element is uniquely important AND connects with all other elements to accelerate the culture. The learning included a review of important points underpinning each element followed by sub group exercises and discussion to bring the element to life. We concluded by arming our culture champions with a construct to conduct a cultural listening campaign across the entire college using the 10 elements as a guide. This blog doesn’t do justice to the content, process and amount of planning by all. However, I hope you get the drift.

I promised you a transparent trip with me. We are sending out a feedback survey to all participants… Stay tuned. I will share the good, the bad and ugly. Thanks for joining us for the ride. While every journey is unique my intent is to share a road map you can broadly follow in driving a better culture where you work. 

Think Big, Start Small, Act Now,

Lorne

One Millennial View: I’ve enjoyed this journey so far. It’s great that the cohort was able to explore real examples of other organization culture in action. I’m excited to see how they respond to the 10 Elements, and go about applying them in their listening campaign. 

– Garrett

Blog 990

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Kicking it Off With a Prayer and a Story!

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect

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At key times during the culture and disruption initiative I’m leading, I’m going to share the strategy, tactics, pivots, etc. with our followers so we all might learn together. It will be authentic, messy and hopefully instructive. Please join us with the overall objective of inspiring a movement to create even greater workplaces and organization cultures. Everyone has the right to thrive in a great workplace. Each of us has an obligation to make it so.

The Challenge: How do you kick off a culture “boot camp” with 25 culture champions, and 25 supporting experts, in a way that sets a deep and strong foundation? Leading a cultural transformation takes courage. Once you open up the culture conversation with an entire institution, you can’t just stuff everything back in the box. So the folks attending the boot camp and leading the first phase of our culture initiative, a comprehensive cultural assessment, would really benefit from coming together as one connected team. The way they insert themselves as listening catalysts in the organization will establish their brand as culture champions. It will have a profound impact on how the organization perceives the culture work as meaningful and sustainable. So a lot of thought has to be put into how to begin.

What We Did About It: The college has an indigenous center which is an actual space on campus. One might view this center as the heart and soul of the organization. It is the essence and symbol of diversity, inclusion, courage and resilience that drives this institution. The college and indigenous center also has the good fortune of having Deloris Cardinal, a Cree elder, as part of the faculty, and she kicked us off with a smudge and prayer. In the spirit of indigenous tradition, Elder Deloris “started us off in a good way.”  It was a remarkable moment to become centered. We then moved to our boot camp working room where in one large circle, our marvellous colleague Maureen Parker, led a storytelling process. Each participant brought something that symbolizes a moment in their lives that required personal courage. Building off our beginning prayer, we came together in story. As each of us took the step of being vulnerable and brave in sharing personal story, you could see the group beginning to meld into “one.” It indeed was a very solid start of our investment in pouring this strong foundation. I believe this will give us the much needed platform strength to launch from. Stay tuned to hear how the rest of the boot camp goes and what we do next. Thanks for being part of our journey.

Think big, start small, act now.

– Lorne

One Millennial View: That certainly sounds like a compelling and cool way to kick start the culture conquest. I like the way the group has become one, and I’m eager to hear how the boot camp continues.

– Garrett

Blog 989

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

The Culture Boot Camp

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect

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At key times during the culture and disruption initiative I’m leading, I’m going to share the strategy, tactics, pivots, etc. with our followers so we all might learn together. It will be authentic, messy and hopefully instructive. Please join us with the overall objective of inspiring a movement to create even greater workplaces and organization cultures. Everyone has the right to thrive in a great workplace. Each of us has an obligation to make it so.

The Challenge: How do you start a cultural transformation? It’s really important to engage a core group of people to help lead the process. In this case, we recruited a group of “Culture Champions” to represent the entire college. Now, what do you do with this group to make it meaningful? Culture can be a mushy idea and concept. And then, how do you choose what to focus on to leverage and accelerate the initiative?

What I’m Doing About It: We are taking the Culture Champions through a learning and planning boot camp for four full days, starting this week. We will challenge them to observe the characteristics of other organizations’ cultures, and introduce the underlying concepts in the 10 elements required for building extraordinary, adaptive cultures (see pic above). We will then conclude the workshop with a game plan to unleash the Culture Champions to do qualitative research by listening to all parts of the organization, using the 10 elements as a guide. They will be expected to bring their findings back to my Culture and Transformation team by the end of the summer. We will use this data to build our culture advancement plan. Then it’s a matter of making choices, focusing, executing and building off of momentum.

P.S. When they come back with their data, I will also engage them in a visioning process to establish a multi-sensual description of a desired future culture “end” state, including milestones along the way.

Think Big, Start Small, Act Now.

Lorne

One Millennial View: Please come back to us with some bootcamp highlights, and I’m certainly curious to see how it pans out over the summer. In the spirit of the season, hopefully it’ll make a splash like a water slide more so than a lazy river.

– Garrett

Blog 988

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

The Culture Journey Continues: Firing up a Signal Flare

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect

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At key times during the culture and disruption initiative I’m leading, I’m going to share the strategy, tactics, pivots, etc. with our followers so we all might learn together. It will be authentic, messy and hopefully instructive. Please join us with the overall objective of inspiring a movement to create even greater workplaces and organization cultures. Everyone has the right to thrive in a great workplace. Each of us has an obligation to make it so.

Challenge: Cultural transformations, by their nature, are a long term play. Milestones are met in continuous, iterative ways over the years. Is there a way to send a quick flare or signal about what the evolving culture may look and feel like to get people excited about the journey? My team’s strategy is to engage the entire community in understanding the WHY, and co-creating the WHAT and HOW along the way, using my 10 elements of adaptive cultures as a guide. Once the organization starts building momentum, it becomes very gratifying to see the movement drive results almost on its own. However, I like to fire an early signal.

What I Did: As any new person usually does, I’ve spent the early weeks listening and watching. During conversations with people from various places in the organization, one frustrating process kept coming up. For one reason or another, people unanimously hated the process. For confidential reasons, I won’t say what it was. I have a very small team and by intention, the only way to really get stuff done is to partner. So I went to the leader of that process and asked her to consider changing it. With very thoughtful and swift action, SHE did. What courage! My understanding is that the response from the organization was overwhelmingly positive (someone even sent her flowers for taking the action). She and her team deserve all the credit and we collectively just sent up a flare! We are listening!  Sometimes it’s what you do that sends a signal, other times it’s what you stop!

Think Big, Start Small, Act Now.

Lorne

One Millennial View: I love the fact that I’ll likely never open up a Microsoft Word document ever again. I was just discussing with a friend how they were operating in Excel on a joint project with a co-worker and they had to copy and paste each other’s work into their individual spreadsheets because the organization didn’t use Google Sheets, which would allow both of them to work on the same spreadsheet simultaneously. If you want to pay your workers to spend the hours doing backwards busy work, that’s your choice, but it’s not the best path. Fire up that signal.

– Garrett

Blog 987

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis