Shaking and Rumbling Before the Breakthrough

Abundance Resilience Transformation

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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

Getting Flatter Than Ever

Abundance Organizational culture Transformation

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Key Point: Familiar vertical leadership models are rapidly disappearing. As business models are being disrupted, so are the organizational structures many of us have grown up with. Modern companies are recognizing that new, collaborative communications and productivity tools along with the serious need for more adaptive, agile, and innovative cultures are quickly turning org charts inside out. The idea that people progress from worker to supervisor to manager to director to exec director to maybe VP is going bye-bye. Why? Connecting problems to solutions and necessary information flow is way too slow if it has to move up, down and across functions. If formal leadership is essentially command and control, is it really adding value? I don’t think so.

New leadership models like Holacracy and Agile are getting traction. These emerging leadership and governance principles involve much broader spans of control, more team/individual autonomy, accelerated peer-to-peer initiatives/coaching, teaming versus teamwork, and more. The thought that formal leaders have a few direct reports who they provide day-to-day direction is both inefficient and not adding value. It may make sense that formal leaders have at least 25 or more direct reports. These leaders would then have to focus on value added strategic support instead of daily direction. Who reports to whom becomes much less important than who is best equipped to get things done.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Ask yourself the hard questions as what value formal leaders in your organization really add. What’s the evidence? Is your leadership structure most efficient?
  2. What do you really need from a leader? Are you getting that? If not, what better contribution might you receive? From who? How often?
  3. Consider whether technology/skills/attributes are coming together for more autonomous, and greater contributions for all. How might we unleash that?

Unleashing all in personal leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: This is interesting. It seems to me that most Millennials can get on board with more autonomy, and it’s fine if the typical progression or “ladder climbing” is done differently. But most importantly, there are still ladders that we want to ascend, so it would be great if whatever new leadership platforms take over still have an avenue to promote, compete, grow and succeed.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Mother Mary and What’s Ahead?

Accountability Growth mindset Transformation

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Key Point: My mother Mary is 88 years old and has seen a lot of changes in her life. Yet, relatively speaking, her experience has been mostly linear or incremental over nine decades. The changes in front of us however, will be exponential rather than linear. So what does that mean?

My sweet mom is a hero to me. She had to leave home at the age of 14 because my grandparents could not practically support her and two other children in a one room, log cabin on a ¼ section of scrub and rocks in northern Alberta. She took a train to Camrose, Alberta (which was like going to Mars), and worked as a chambermaid at the Alice hotel. Her room in the hotel was an old closet she cleaned out so she had a place to sleep. She met and married a shy 20-year-old farm boy at 17, and had me at 20. She and Dad lived on a ¼ section and mixed farmed; no power, no running water, outdoor toilet, and no vehicle. My brother arrived three years later and to make ends meet, my dad would try to work in the oil patch in the fall/winter. This meant him being away while my mom single handedly milked eight cows, did all the chores, looked after two infants, lugged water 30 meters from the well to the clapboard house, and navigated brutal winters… All on her own. I can still remember her delight when we moved to the city in 1956, and she walked around our little rented house flicking the light switches on and off. Her story gets even better… We’ll save that for another day. Thank you, Mom!

The startling reality is that the many changes my mom experienced will feel pedestrian compared to what futurists like Peter Diamandis predict. Examine all of Peter’s forecasts by reading his complete newsletter. In the meantime, here’s a dozen that may blow your mind:

“2018:

Quantum Supremacy Achieved: The first demonstration of a quantum computation that can’t be simulated with classical supercomputers is announced.

2020:

Flying car operations take off in a dozen cities in the world.

The 5G Network unleashes 10-100 gigabit connection speeds for mobile phones around the world.

2022:

Robots are commonplace in most middle-income homes, able to reliably read lips and recognize face, mouth and hand gestures.

All toys are ‘smart’ with built-in machine learning.

2024:

The first private human missions have launched for the surface of Mars.

The first ‘one cent per kilowatt-hour’ deals for solar and wind are signed.

2026:

Car ownership is dead and autonomous cars dominate our roadways.

100,000 people commute by VTOL each day in L.A., Tokyo, Sao Paulo and London.

2028:

Solar and wind represent nearly 100 percent of new electricity generation.

Autonomous, electric vehicles account for half of all miles driven in large city centers.

2030:

AI passes the Turing test, meaning it can match (and exceed) human intelligence in every area.

Humanity has achieved ‘Longevity Escape Velocity’ for the wealthiest.

2032:

Medical nanorobots demonstrated in humans are able to extend the immune system.

Avatar Robots become popular, allowing everyone the ability to ‘teleport’ their consciousness to remote locations all over the world.

2034:

Companies like Kernel have made significant, reliable connections between the human cortex and the Cloud.

Robots act as maids, butlers, nurses and nannies, and become full companions. They support extended elderly independence at home.

2036:

Longevity treatments are routinely available and covered by life insurance policies, extending the average human lifespan 30-40 years.

2038:

Everyday life is now unrecognizable – incredibly good and hyper VR and AI augment all parts of the world and every aspect of daily human life.”


Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Learn how the be adaptive in an exponential world. How might you prepare to live on a planet that in 20 years is “unrecognizable?”
  2. Mother Mary might have lived most of her life in an incremental world. However, her resilience and adaptive DNA like that within your ancestors, belongs to all of us. We will need to source every ounce of it. Tap into it with confidence. How exciting!

Unrecognizable moves in Personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: Some of these are crazier than others, but back when us Millennials were playing Snake II on our Nokia phones, who knew we’d one day be annoyed if we didn’t get something called “free wifi?” Robot nannies, Mars colonization, Longevity Escape Velocity, VTOL commuting and AI passing the Turing test sound pretty nuts… But, then again, I just asked Alexa what time the University of Arizona’s NCAA March Madness basketball game was on tonight.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis



‘Trickies’ Related to Modern Marketing

Accountability Communication Transformation

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Key Point: The world of marketing is getting turned upside down, yet it remains so much the same. Sellers always look to find ways to emotionally connect so we might purchase products. How do we navigate through it?

I just attended the kick-off of the 2018 SXSW extravaganza in Austin, TX. So many insights are washing over me, that I’m honestly struggling a little to sort through what’s going on and how it’s personally impacting me. Let me give you some examples of this headspace swirl I’m in.

  • I had a chance to hang out in a cool, intimate setting on E. 6th St. (Dirty Sixth, they call it), with people like Michael Loeb (a high impact billionaire), and “Mr. Crush It,” Gary Vaynerchuk. I was heartened by their genuine focus on encouraging and investing in leaders and companies that both advance humankind AND make lots of money. They both talked about generosity and abundance. How cool is that?
  • I also was intrigued to hear 18-year-old entrepreneur, Connor Blakley, founder of YouthLogic, school the audience about how Gen Z thinks and acts. He actively helps brands work with high impact social influencers (Ariana Grande, Pharrell, Kendall Jenner, etc). They have an inordinately big impact on brand performance, (ask Snapchat). And if you don’t understand micro-influencers, you are out of the loop.
  • Then I come to grips with Google owned YouTube’s AI driven business model and realize that when I watch a video, their algorithms will move me to more extreme videos. The sad news is that the algorithms seem to point us towards the more intense or inflammatory information, leveraging our natural tendencies to see “what’s behind the curtain.” YouTube knows we have a natural curiosity to dig deeper, because the more and longer we look at videos, advertisement sales go up (see Professor Zeynep Tufekci’s op-ed from this Sunday’s NYT).
  • And then I learn about new research from MIT, and find out that lies or false stories spread farther and faster than truthful content. To make it more uncomfortable, the research points out that real people, often barely credible ones from a “follow” metric, are capable of spreading falsehoods every bit as much as “bots” or trolls. Geez (see this article by Sinan Aral).

Ok, and just to put all this in perspective, I went to a health fair at SXSW and bought, from a classic “snake oil” salesman, what are essentially punched out metal dog-tags that apparently will change my electrical system and right 60-plus years of abuse to my bod. (Garrett was so disgusted with my naivety that he reminded me that his mother once banned me from watching the shopping network after the arrival of the electronic 6-pack abs maker ☺).

So while social media, macro and micro social influencers, bots, trolls, hucksters, AI, learning algorithms, fake news, conspiracies, etc. will explode and become trickier in attempting to manipulate us, we more than ever need value-based leaders and astute consumers of content.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. As a consumer, become more aware than ever that little or nothing shows up by coincidence in our online world. Become more knowledgeable of how big content purveyors like Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc, really work. Nothing is ever truly free. Be aware of the sincerity of influence from people you follow.
  2. Leaders – If you’re not truly advancing humankind in the best way, then ask yourself if your business model is worth selling your soul for. Why, not how, might we make the world better AND make money?

Modern marketing and ethics in personal leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: De-monetization, shadow banning, etc, are also new terms that I’ve learned from those trying to navigate the algorithms of giants like YouTube and Twitter within the last couple years. As recently as March 12, popular vlogger and overall positivity-machine Roman Atwood announced that he was going to stop daily vlogs on YouTube and focus his efforts in a separate direction because he believes YouTube has intentions to force daily vloggers to fade out. (He has 14 million subscribers, btw). It’s wild out there, but thanks to awesome information from festivals like SXSW, and ongoing discussions, we can all attempt to navigate these rapids as best as possible. Hopefully world improvement and money making won’t capsize in the “stream.”

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Leaders: Connect the Friggin’ Dots

Accountability Purpose Transformation

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Key Point: Leaders, stop whining there is too much to do, and start translating and connecting the dots. Most often, it’s NOT that organizations are asking too much. The challenge is that leaders can be better at explaining and linking the initiatives so that they are accessible to all. And team members, get over yourselves and learn this stuff.

Organizations are like layered cakes, and activities flow at every level. Is it possible to have the people in an organization focus on the following elements at the same time?

  • Purpose.
  • Values.
  • Exponential.
  • 10x.
  • Customer obsessed.
  • Growth mindset.
  • Digital competence.
  • Agile.
  • Lean.
  • Engagement.
  • Collaboration.
  • Flow.
  • Transformation.
  • System thinking.
  • Minimal viable products.
  • 85/10/5 consumption.
  • Big data/data science.
  • Silo busting.
  • Cult brands.
  • AI/Machine learning.
  • Cloud.
  • Massive Transformative Purpose.
  • Etc.

The answer is YES, and effective leadership has to TRANSLATE and CONNECT so people at all levels understand the relationships, along with helping people make personal, emotional connections to each concept or initiative, while they do their jobs. It is much more of an inclusive than additive exercise.

The above is hardly an exhaustive list, and my explanation in the appendix below (if you care to read it), is cursory at best. However, understanding and decisively applying each element is VITAL to people in organizations, regardless of industry, location or size.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Leaders: Stop being big babies and complaining about capacity and the challenge of translating/connecting. If it’s too much, go somewhere off the grid and grow cabbage.
  2. Team members: Stop whining about consumption. Be self-accountable enough to absorb and relish ALL (and more). If not, join your pal above in the cabbage patch

Connecting the dots in Personal Leadership,

Lorne

Appendix – Lorne Rubis brief translation/connection to the list:

In ATB Financial’s case, our purpose is labelled as our Story. Its 94 words outline every single person’s WHY. Our values are described in 10 ATBs. These guide our behaviors and commitment to each other. Everything else translates into and connects to the Story and ATBs. Having a growth mindset, exponentiality and 10x, is a way of thinking and working that addresses personal and organizational behavior as it applies to both innovation and transformation. Exponentiality is defined mathematically, while an MTP outlines a very big idea often tied to exponential technology. Agile and Lean involve both prescriptive methodologies and philosophical mindsets. One needs to be clear whether applying an approach and/or the literal tools (where agile words like sprint/scrums, etc. take on literal meaning). MVP is a very fast product or service that can be rapidly customer tested prior to full production. Being customer obsessed is a strategic intention and can also involve very distinct actions based on customer experience science (like customer journey mapping). Big data and data science involves the application of algorithms and predictive data search. Collaboration includes teaming in advanced ways using visual and connective tools residing in modern productivity/communication platforms like Google’s G Suite or Microsoft’s 365. Digital competence includes a digital technology understanding that enables leveraging of advanced digital technology. Flow, systems thinking and silo busting is a way of looking at how an organization works as a connected system rather than disconnected functions (silos). Engagement can be a way of describing how much people feel they can trust and contribute. It can also have a literal meaning like in ATB where it specifically refers to 5,000 people responding to six consistent survey questions. Cloud computing, of course, refers to all data being stored in multiple locations and servers somewhere outside the organization firewall. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are related but different applications of bot technology. 85/10/5 refers to our ability to do daily work and consume new learning expressed in percentage terms. A company becomes a cult brand when its customers feel indispensable loyalty. 

Please add this to the above list to make it more complete and/or accurate.

One Millennial View: No new player has ever been drafted to a sports team and then refused to learn the playbook. This has to be a similar mindset. First of all, you should be going into an interview for the position with an understanding and appreciation for an organization’s mission statement. Incase you squeak through the hiring process without this step, then connecting the dots for yourself is day one stuff. Yeah, it would be helpful if leaders assist with this process, but make a point of doing it yourself. You shouldn’t just do it, you should like it. Or else, I guess people still buy cabbage.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Employees Have the Right AND Accountability to Expect Great Processes!

Accountability Organizational leadership Transformation

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Key Point: I was listening to an executive from one of the global, big-name consulting companies the other day. He is in most boardrooms with all the world’s largest banks and other financial service companies. His observation: For the first time, financial service companies have almost the same strategy; to provide profitable financial services from a scalable platform to a customer of ONE. Mass personalization is the nirvana outcome for both businesses and retail customers (think Netflix and Amazon individual customization). However, on a global stage, the competition is crazy intense and increasing. An efficiency ratio of 40 percent may have been the benchmark, and then you find out some competitor is way more productive with 20 percent efficiency, while providing equal or better service. Yikes! And, in spite of recent trends towards national protectionism or thinking that regulation is going to protect inefficiency in markets; well these constraints in the historical sense, are just blips. So what?

If you’re in charge of any group or organization, high performance, execution and getting results is taking on advanced meaning and requiring more elevated leadership. Execution is NOT blindly or simplistically about annual performance reviews, exhorting or inspiring people to greatness, or just getting rid of poor performers and leaders. Nor is it sufficient to only have great technology or processes. It is no longer reasonable to expect sustainable success by relying on any ONE part of an organization system. More than ever, it is necessary to be exceptional in every aspect!

The purpose and value of the company’s business model must be compelling. The organization’s processes are ideally the HEROES in giving customers a memorable experience and commercial entities an attractive financial margin. Of course, employees need to be there to make hero processes really “wow” customers. They need the courage and self-accountability to finally demand that processes must make them look competent in the eyes of the customers. For too long, organizations have been asking employees to cover up and excuse continuous crappy processes. Every year, the same lousy practices persist and too often the explanation from “leaders” is that people just aren’t working hard enough or don’t have the right “DNA.” On the flip side, employees break a process or compensate for inadequate ones and then get rewarded for being the heroes for putting “out the fire” they created. No more.

Personal Leadership Moves:

1. As a leader, demand that the processes you deliver to others make you and teammates look competent, and THEN use people attributes to “wow” and create memorable differentiation. Do not allow yourself to continuously make up for poorly designed/flawed processes. It is not sustainable, and will not lead to high performance and execution.

2. Have the expectation that every part of the organization achieves greatness: People, data, technology, processes, purpose, and valued business models. Any weakness makes you and the company vulnerable. To have a truly great culture, EVERY part hums and creates a lasting symphony.

Heroes in Personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: It feels lousy to just skate by! You know it, I know it, and everyone feels worse off for doing it. As Millennials, we have an opportunity to train ourselves early in our careers to do our best to make sure the processes we follow are actually keeping ourselves challenged, learning and growing. As well, we have the right and accountability to be proud of processes we are part of.  This blog likes to reiterate, it’s “that easy, and that hard.” But it’s also that much more rewarding.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis