July Lessons 4: Find and Free the Unfound

Abundance Accountability Respect

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Over the month of July, I will share lessons learned from my ATB journey, post my retirement announcement effective Aug. 1. The accomplishments and extraordinary results at ATB over six plus years belong to many. However, the learnings I will share are exclusively mine. I hope you will find them thought provoking, and perhaps even instructive.

Story: On July 10, our company celebrated the one year anniversary of switching over to G Suite. It was massive, and by all accounts, a highly successful enterprise undertaking involving 5,000 plus dedicated and growth-minded team members. The entire initiative was one of the most rewarding experiences in my 40 plus year career. One very important part of the entire project involved recruiting and selecting more than 50 “transformers” we called G Evangelists. They had to audition, and came to represent every possible identity and cognitive diverse aspect of our company. The one rule was, if they were selected, their leaders could only say “yes.” And they were assured of a walk back to their roles at the conclusion of their secondment. A few of the people chosen to be G Evangelists were well-known, and high fliers. However, most were buried in the organization, and some were even on the bubble. Others were unsure and even ambivalent about their careers. One year later, almost to a person, they have been promoted and are doing amazing things in the company. Their bond as a cohort is unshakeable, and they still get together once a month on Google Meet, even though the official project has been operationalized since March.

Key Point: Organizations have to get better at finding, freeing, and engaging the unfound. They are everywhere in the company. They often don’t fully understand how talented they are. Even worse, top management is often incapable of reaching deep and taking the smothering blanket of outdated vertical structures out of the way. We need leaders that open opportunities to people who want to raise their hands from any place, any time, any level. There is so much unrealized talent just needing a nudge and leaders who say, “I know you can do it,” “I’m here to support you,” “I’ve got your back.” These men and women are everywhere, and it’s about time we develop new systems and processes to find them, free them and watch them flourish. Imagine if we could do that with more than 5,000 people. It’s a matter of asking “how might we?”

One more thing. I’ve almost never had a lousy performer. People have told me things like, “fire ___, they’re not a leader.” “Working closely, I find ___ to be indispensable when optimizing their strengths. Or, “___ can’t execute.” Yet, somehow working with me, I challenge ___ and, “nothing but net.” I’m no special leader. However, I believe given the right situation, ALL can be great contributors. That’s my job as a leader. Frankly, I’ve found leaders who talk tough about how the company needs way better people are usually the lousiest managers. No one raises their hands to work for them. They mask it well, but prefer fear over development. 

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Find the unfound. Please know someone is out there needing an opportunity just like you. Free them up to contribute in ways they might not imagine they could. They will surprise themselves, and you.
  2. Your job includes offering opportunity to others in order to advance them. Abundantly give daily.

Found in Personal Leadership,

One Millennial View: It’s too true. In my experience, we all want a chance to be thrown in the water to see if we’ll swim. With the right coach, most of us will. Nevertheless, we’d rather drown trying than be stuck on a safe, dry dock.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

July Lessons Part 3: Really Invest in Personal Equity!

Abundance Accountability Respect

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Over the month of July, I will share lessons learned from my ATB journey, post my retirement announcement effective Aug. 1. The accomplishments and extraordinary results at ATB over six plus years belong to many. However, the learnings I will share are exclusively mine. I hope you will find them thought provoking, and perhaps even instructive.

Story: When you’re the Chief People Officer, one of the big responsibilities revolves around compensation. Pay and benefits are often the biggest single expense in any organization. It takes on even greater meaning when one considers this line item as an investment, rather than exclusively as an expense. How does the company get the best possible return for its investment?

Early in 2012/13, we began to introduce the concept of PERSONAL EQUITY into the organization. We knew that the promise of job security was an outdated principle. Heck, we could hardly predict what types of jobs might exist versus offer any employment guarantee. However, we could commit to peoples’ future state becoming better in every way until their very last date of work, whenever that might be. So we chose to make a statement to team members by challenging ourselves to create the best personal equity plan including, but not limited to, the greatest pension savings program ANYWHERE.  

Key Point: Every organization I’ve ever worked at shares one common viewpoint: People would like to be paid more! If you limit compensation to pay and benefits, it can often become an unsatisfactory and relentless chase of market comparison. However, by investing in PERSONAL EQUITY, the lens regarding regarding total compensation becomes much wider. Employees want and need fair pay and benefits. But what if the health benefits feel like they are made just for your situation? What if job experiences, and advancement opportunities are abundant? What if learning, formal and informal is plentiful? What if the leadership treats you like a self-accountable, autonomous adult? What if you are in a highly inclusive, cognitive and identity rich environment? What if there is a commitment to everyones’ financial, physical, emotional, spiritual and experiential well-being? What if the company made the following statement and acted accordingly? “People have the right to have great leaders.” And yes, what if the pension/savings plan was the best in the universe regarding personalization and company matching? With that overall strategy of PERSONAL EQUITY and total compensation, the ability to attract top talent accelerates. The best and brightest people seek that out. During my tenure we have had a few people leave primarily for pay, only to want to find a way back to more personal equity, and ultimately achieve a higher individual return.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Think of investing in people compensation as a comprehensive PERSONAL EQUITY SYSTEM, rather than revolving narrowly along pay/benefits.
  2. At the same time, get highly creative and personal regarding base pay and benefits. Find a scalable and equitable way to customize them for each person. 

Personal Equity and Personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: Of course money is an extremely important and necessary currency, but I’ve also come to realize that currency has many forms, not just monetary. Health, communication, culture, goals, time, knowledge, experiences, relationships, and others are also significant types of currency. So, while a great salary is desirable, it isn’t everything. A interesting one-liner I’ve heard is, “rich people have the same nightmares, just on a higher thread count.” I’m willing to bet the better the overall personal equity, the fewer nightmares.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

The Daily Fight Between Abundance and Scarcity

Abundance

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Story: When I published The Character Triangle, some seven years ago, abundance was a relatively new topic. It has been gratifying to see it recently become more mainstream. An abundance mindset flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth, self-compassion and security. It is a framework based on the belief that there is more than enough for everyone. Alternatively, a scarcity mindset is the feeling that there will never be enough, resulting in fear, stress, and anxiety. In my life, while far from perfect at this, I always try to generously give to others based on this very freeing and gratifying way of thinking and acting. It is a privilege to act with abundance on a daily basis.

Key Point: Abundance, as with most values and behaviors, can be learned and practiced. Angelina Zimmerman, in an Inc. article, explains this more thoroughly by outlining the seven main differences between those with a scarcity mindset versus an abundance mindset:

“1. Thinking Big versus Thinking Small.
Those with an abundant mindset are renowned for thinking big, it is part of their DNA. Scarcity mindset creates limitations in the mind which prevents the creation of audacious goals.

2. Plenty versus Lack
Those with an abundant mentality believe there is plenty of everything in the world from resources, love, relationships, wealth and opportunities. They believe they can afford what they want in life and say exactly that: ‘I can afford that…’
Those with a lack mentality prefer to believe that there is limited opportunities, resources, relationships, love and wealth. They consistently say: ‘I cannot afford that…’. Saying that statement every day reinforces the belief and forms that exact pattern in the life as reality.

3. Happiness versus Resentment
Someone with an abundant mentality is an optimist and is genuinely happy for others when they achieve success. Conversely, those with a scarcity mindset are competitive and resent others’ success.

4. Embracing Change versus Fear Of Change
A person with an abundant mindset understands that change is an integral part of life. They embrace and accept change. Appreciating the fact that change often leads to more positive outcomes, even if change is somewhat challenging or difficult to navigate. Fear plagues those with a scarcity mindset. They will spend time constantly complaining along about change and take a longer period of time to accept change.

5. Proactive versus Reactive
Due to the positive attitude of those with an abundant mindset, they take a proactive approach to life. Rather than waiting for things to happen and then reacting like those with a scarcity mindset do, they strategically plan for the future and create strategies for the long-term.

6. Learning versus Knowing It All
An abundance mentality craves learning and growth. They have a never ending thirst for knowledge and developing new skills, whereas scarcity mindset believe they know everything thereby severely limiting their learning and growth.

7. What Is Working versus What Is Not Working
A person with a scarcity mindset selects negative thoughts and adopts a victim mentality.”

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Just give of yourself without expecting reciprocity. The more you give with generosity of spirit, the more comes back to you in some way, some time. This is even more important when you are feeling like you’re getting the short end of things in life
  2. Forgive those who live in lack and fear. They are plagued with insecurity. Compassionately wish them the best. 
  3. Think big and be big… Always look to expand the pie and share.
  4. Always celebrate others’ successes. Their victories take nothing away from you, even in direct competition. There is always more to gain and learn.

Abundant forever in personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: Funny enough, this blog is a little bit of an abundance versus scarcity test within itself. If I noticed that the Inc. article was published in 2016 (more than half a decade after The Character Triangle‘s very similar points), is that scarcity? Instead, I’d like to agree that after years of abundance editing, I too am happy the mindset is becoming more well-known, sought after, and less difficult to define for the mainstream. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

Add in More Self-Compassion

Abundance

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Story: This past week, I attended a conference in San Francisco regarding culture in organizations. Great speakers like Adam Grant (Give and Take, Originals, Option B), Susan Cain (Quiet Revolution) and Lindsay McGregor (Primed to Perform) provided much insight around building more advanced cultures. Still, as I listened to many of the conversations around me, perhaps the most important ingredient in making cultures phenomenal was a subplot that has yet to find the “main stage.”

Key Point: In my view, the urgent agenda topic for real cultural breakthrough in organizations is self-compassion. Actually, it may feel counterintuitive or even paradoxical, that in searching for organization “silver bullets,” exponential progress in developing, high performing cultures, accelerates most rapidly from the prerequisite of having a majority of employees with a healthy mindset of deeply caring for oneself first. This provides a solid platform to fully translate this way of thinking to others, and ultimately the organization at large. In support of this, I want to introduce you to Dr. Kristin Neff, in case you haven’t met. The following is her brief explanation:

“Having compassion for oneself is really no different than having compassion for others. Think about what the experience of compassion feels like. First, to have compassion for others you must notice that they are suffering. If you ignore that homeless person on the street, you can’t feel compassion for how difficult his or her experience is. Second, compassion involves feeling moved by others’ suffering so that your heart responds to their pain (the word compassion literally means to ‘suffer with’). When this occurs, you feel warmth, caring, and the desire to help the suffering person in some way. Having compassion also means that you offer understanding and kindness to others when they fail or make mistakes, rather than judging them harshly. Finally, when you feel compassion for another (rather than mere pity), it means that you realize that suffering, failure, and imperfection is part of the shared human experience. ‘There but for fortune go I.’

Self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a ‘stiff upper lip’ mentality, you stop to tell yourself ‘this is really difficult right now,’ how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?

Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?

You may try to change in ways that allow you to be more healthy and happy, but this is done because you care about yourself, not because you are worthless or unacceptable as you are. Perhaps most importantly, having compassion for yourself means that you honor and accept your humanness. Things will not always go the way you want them to. You will encounter frustrations, losses will occur, you will make mistakes, bump up against your limitations, fall short of your ideals. This is the human condition, a reality shared by all of us. The more you open your heart to this reality instead of constantly fighting against it, the more you will be able to feel compassion for yourself and all your fellow humans in the experience of life.”

I also want to emphasize that self-compassion is NOT self-pity, self-indulgence, self-esteem or misguided self-accountability.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. To assess how much you understand and live with self-compassion, I encourage you take this survey.
  2. Consider investing more in the development of becoming more self-compassionate.
  3. I believe it is very difficult to be truly abundant as a leader without a very well-developed practice of self-compassion. Advancing others starts with evolving oneself first. The genuine capability of inspiring true and sustainable greatness in others depends upon it.

Self-compassion in Personal Leadership,

– Lorne

One Millennial View: Taking the test above was a little eye opening. For me, it’ll take some new learning to help me classify self-compassion differently from self-pity, but the teachings are there. I’m fairly conditioned to be the “stiff upper lip” type, and achieving some sort of self-compassion award won’t happen overnight. But thanks to folks like Dr. Neff, it’s at least a concept I can start thinking about.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

Trustless in Seattle and Elsewhere!

Abundance

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This is another blog on our company values (from our 10 ATBs), a series underscoring a more modern look at value driven organizations.

Story: I used to be able to walk on an airplane at the Edmonton Industrial Airport, five minutes before take off. In fact, I wouldn’t even have to buy a ticket because I used pre-purchased flight coupons. Imagine… No security line-ups when flying. Just walk on the plane and go. Then of course, 9/11 changed everything. We could no longer trust the intentions of others when boarding planes, and subsequently built the massive, worldwide security systems we have today. Inspection is always non-value added, yet unfortunately, too often a necessary activity. The risk of complete trust can sometimes be just too high. This situation has cost airlines/passengers trillions of dollars.

Key Point: For more than 40 years, I have been part of many cost-cutting activities. CFOs and/or CEOs, often lead these initiatives and typically end up cutting people. Unfortunately, it’s the easiest line item to attack. Yet rarely can I recall these same execs tackling their biggest cost: Mistrust. But when one thinks about it, the largest waste in almost all companies is based on this value missing in action. Any type of inspection, redundancy, and reporting there of, is costly inefficiency related to mistrust. Just think about how big the opportunity is.

One of our 10 ATBs is to “Trust and expect the same from others.” We know that if each of us works from the premise of trust, we will do our part and minimize non-value added work. Imagine if we could lend money out, and trust that customers would always pay us back? Imagine how different it would be if we didn’t have to physically and metaphorically “lock things up?” How great would it be if the commitments from other teams or departments were always met? Think of what it would be like if we could always be our true, authentic selves, and not hide things from each other because we could trust what others would do with that insight? What if we could say what we truly felt in meetings, not having to worry about how it might be interpreted? On the other hand, trust, as noted in the best selling book, The SPEED of Trust, by Stephen M.R. Covey, increases speed enormously because non-value added friction/duplication is removed. How great is that? How amazing would it be to work with others where you could genuinely trust first? Why not?

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Think about processes, systems, tools, and policies that are based on mistrust. Ask which ones you might eliminate or change? (Base it on data).
  2. Think about where you have added rules for customers or team members because of mistrust. Often, the cost of maintaining these policies is much more than the occasional violation. Challenge the assumptions underlying these rules. 
  3. Make and meet your commitments, and expect the same from others. Trust first, rather than having others preliminarily earn it. Yes, you might occasionally get burned. And perhaps once in a while, you might have to verify. So what? Living without the friction is a much more gratifying path. 

Speed of Trust in Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: Unfortunately, I think we can all trust that the utopia of a “trust first” environment is very challenging. I sure know that I don’t want to get “burned,” (literally or figuratively). That said, we have things like TSA Pre, Nexus passes, and tough screening/hiring processes at many companies that give us the ability to prioritize trust over skepticism. Especially for we Millennials, it probably behooves us to lend some speedy trust to our teammates. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

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