Speaking of ‘Whoops!’: Episode 12 Reposted

Hey Lorne Rubis blog fans! 

I made a big “whoops” myself and posted the wrong podcast episode when it was originally supposed to launch late Sunday/early Monday morning, so here’s a proper repost to make sure all you readers get the proper notification. 

Please enjoy the latest episode of The Culture Cast podcast to help you get you in the best mindset to start off the week! 

In this podcast, Lorne and Lynette unpack the blog entitled, “I’m Burying My Husband Today,” and discuss rebuilding gratitude and confidence after dealing with loss and change in our personal and professional lives. 

It will be available on SoundCloud and iTunes too! 

You can expect Episode 13 to be available Monday, May 22. 



Celebrate ‘Whoops’

Key Point: Sometimes I talk too much instead of listening more, and I need to work on being a better judge of where to jump in as a leader versus “helping.” The other day I was on a call/”hang out” with a large number of people. A colleague answered a question in a manner I thought was incomplete. So, I attempted to diplomatically clarify for the “betterment” of the audience. The result was that I likely “improved” the answer by 10 percent, and in the process, unintentionally undermined my teammate. The feedback from another colleague who cared enough to give me straight, tough, caring feedback: “You might have been a more encouraging leader if you would have let the first explanation stand?”

The hard thing about feedback for me is to NOT take it personally. Rather, I need get better at genuinely letting the advice soak into my head and then consciously choose to do or not do something about it. I know all about the theory that feedback is a “gift.” Heck, I’ve written about it in my blogs multiple times over the years. The dirty little secret for me though, is that I have a little bit of a “perfection” complex, and rather than accepting the critical viewpoint of others, my mental processing starts with defensively rationalizing my behavior and judging the merit of the opinion. And of course, personal feedback is just that – one viewpoint, and it needs to be considered accordingly. However, if we listen hard enough, trends will inform and guide us where to act. I have never ending work to do when it comes to embracing feedback more effectively. 

In their excellent book, “Option B.”, Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant have a wonderful chapter called “Falling and Learning” at work. One story Sandberg writes about refers to the notion of building resilience through learning from failure, and the story includes a character named “Whoops.” A colleague Sandberg worked with at Google used to ask her team to share a failure or mistake they made each week, and then the team would vote on the biggest screw up. The “winner” got to keep a stuffed monkey nicknamed “Whoops” at their desk for the week. The idea is that mistakes and learning need to be openly shared and discussed. It reminds the team of the importance of trying hard things and embracing authentic, vulnerable transparency to promote team and individual learning. My honest experience is that most organizations talk a good game on this idea, yet acute listening followed by fast action based on learning is not what really happens. Too often, customer feedback and complaints result in apology at best and blind avoidance at worst. Great leadership includes a serious capability to get results, to slurp up complaints and problems with a zealous, fierce, self-accountability. 

Character Moves:

  1. Start with going after your own personal critical feedback with a vengeance, not taking it personally. Then, make it personal to ACT on what you learn about yourself.
  2. Translate this fierce personal feedback attitude at every level in the organization. Be relentless about searching for every way to be better. Find a way to get “Whoops” sitting in every one’s area. Love “Whoops” at the personal and organizational level, and great things will happen. 

Loving Whoops in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: It seems like fearing personal feedback can only become a handicap when attempting to grow, learn and move forward. I feel like there’s this myth perpetuated by media (movies, TV, etc.) that if you screw up a procedure at work, that’s it, you’re done, “you’ll never work in this town again!” Ummmm, I have yet to see that ever happen (Oh, I’m talking about legal, ethical and accidental mistakes). I try to bat 1,000 at work at all times, but I have messed up plenty. The point is, if you don’t swing and miss sometimes then you’re not playing the game, and that’s a way quicker way to not be needed on the roster anymore.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Culture Cast Podcast Episode 12

Hey Lorne Rubis blog fans!

Please enjoy the latest episode of The Culture Cast podcast to help you get you in the best mindset to start off the week! 

In this podcast, Lorne and Lynette unpack the blog entitled, “I’m Burying My Husband Today,” and discuss rebuilding gratitude and confidence after dealing with loss and change in our personal and professional lives. 

It will be available on SoundCloud and iTunes too! 

Encouraged, Free and Agile

Key Point: “What the people in our lives want is to be treated like people: Encouraged, free, and agile. That’s how you lead.” That’s the closing point from a great article published in Mashable by Aaron Orendorff, the founder of iconiContent and a regular contributor at Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, Fast Company, Business Insider and more. 

Recently, I sparked much reader interest in a blog referring to my eight ingredients in building an ever-evolving great culture. Inside those ingredients you will find the same elements of encouragement, freedom and agility. Orendorff refers to a couple of studies to support his findings. 

“When Stanford business professors James Baron and Michael Hannan concluded their expansive eight-year study of over 200 tech startups, one finding emerged… They discovered that the ‘commitment’ model — which relied on ‘emotional or familial ties of employees to the organization, selection based on cultural fit, and peer-group control’ — outperformed its counterparts on all fronts… In fact, not a single of the commitment organizations they studied failed.

Leaders can build commitment through a host of methods, but the most uncomplicated answer lies in one we often overlook — encouragement.” (You will note in my last Sandberg blogEncouragement leads to confidence).

“Likewise, Duke behavioral economists Dan Ariely validated this finding through a series of experiments at Intel. Compliments — nothing more than a simple ‘Well done’” from the boss — increased productivity 34.7 percent more than monetary bonuses over a one week period.”

People often wonder why I feel so strongly about our recognition program, where 5,000 team members exchange 30,000 recognitions per month. It is a platform of peer-to-peer encouragement. It’s also why I send out DWDs! (Darn Well Dones).

Orendorff notes in his Mashable blog: “Daniel Pink — in both his TEDTalk and book-length treatment — lays out the comprehensive benefits of autonomy: ‘According to a cluster of recent behavioral science studies, autonomous motivation promotes greater conceptual understanding, enhanced persistence, higher productivity, less burnout, and greater levels of psychological well-being.’”

The Orendorff trifecta: “Essentially, agile leadership blends commitment — namely, collaboration and relational ties — with autonomy — flexibility and decentralized decision-making. Agile leaders entrust responsibility to their teams knowing that humans naturally reciprocate that trust with passionate, long-term commitment… The quickest way to go agile, however, comes from the last phrase of [Charles] Duhigg’s definition: ‘pushing decision making to whoever was closest to a problem.’” 

Character Moves:

  1. After all the research, people just want to be treated as PEOPLE! Encourage them! Give them the freedom to unleash their contribution and support agility by helping people make decisions closest to the problem. It’s that simple and that hard!

Encouraged, Free and Agile in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: Millennials get some scruff about always wanting “trophies for participation,” and special recognition for achievements. Nah. Not the best ones. We understand we don’t need cannons to fire in celebration every time we do our jobs, but we can sniff out when higher ups refuse to give a nod of appreciation. Consider something like a “well done” just polite… No more, no less, but enough to at least let us know we’re encouraged, free and agile.

– Garrett

Lorne Rubis

Lorne Rubis

The constant in Lorne’s diverse career is his ability to successfully lead organizations through significant change. At US West, where he served as a Vice President / Company Officer, Lorne was one of only seven direct reports ...
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Listen to Lorne's latest podcasts

Confidence, Patti Smith and Dylan: Failing authentically

Breathe fire: Leading and inspiring ourselves

Asking for feedback: The why

Taking on a new role: Lorne's journey

Lessons from Dot: Integrating technology into workplace culture


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The Character Triangle

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Character Triangle

Our character is exclusively ours. We define it by how we think and what we do. I believe that acting with Character is driven by what I call the Character Triangle.

What, exactly, is the Character Triangle (CT)?

The CT describes and emphasizes three distinct but interdependent values:

Be Accountable: first person action to make things better, avoiding blame.
Be Respectful: being present, listening, looking again, focusing on the process.
Be Abundant: generous in spirit, moving forward, minimizing the lack of.

Read more about the Character Triangle


Be Accountable

Be Respectful

Be Abundant

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