How Are YOU Doing?

Key Point: I want this just to be about YOU. Are you happy with yourself right now? It’s getting towards the first half of the calendar year, and it might be worth a personal “check in.”   I certainly know you and I are are far from perfect. With that caveat, are we generally happy? I’m not asking exclusively whether we are satisfied with the advancement of our skills and relationships, just an honest reflection of our happiness. One reason I’m writing about this, is that lately I’ve heard wonderful people being very hard on themselves. I wonder if they are out of balance by focusing too much on future accomplishments versus gratitude for what they already have and who they are. Are YOU good enough?

Tim Ferriss, well known author, podcaster, etc., has a great new book entitled Tools of Titans. He notes from studying people he highly regards, that there are two parts to self-improvement. However, too many people may define self-improvement and happiness solely by goal achievement. But, Ferriss believes that this is only 50 percent of it. He says, “The other 50 percent is gratitude and appreciating what you already have, not focusing solely on future accomplishments.” There are so many highly successful people who are never satisfied with what they’ve accomplished and it’s unfortunate. Canadian sports psychologist and author Dr. Peter Jensen, tells the country’s Olympians, “if you weren’t good enough before an Olympic medal, you won’t be good enough after.”

Moving forward is always fraught with failure and mistakes. In this context, Ferriss focuses on two things: Skills and relationships. The question he asks himself is, “Even if this fails, are there skills and relationships that I can develop that will carry over into other things?” Ferriss’ philosophy is “failure isn’t failure if you can gain new skills and develop relationships…” This is such a great way to think about life and what we do. Are we always advancing our skills and relationships? If we are doing both, then the concept of failure can be reframed. The people that I see as “stuck” honestly find that they have done little on both fronts. They repeat the same work over and over and hence gain little true/new experience. They essentially repeat the same experience. This concept applies to relationships too. Advancing and growing people are continuously expanding the depth and width of relationships in and outside of work. 

Character Moves:

  1. Implement a daily gratitude journal. I’ve suggested this many times because it works. It fills us up with appreciation and it changes how we feel, creating more self-awareness and hence more happiness.
  2. Based on the wisdom of Adam Grant in Sheryl Sandberg’s recent book, Option B, I  highlighted the importance of also doing contribution journals. Combine 1 and 2 everyday, and I promise you it will increase your happiness and sense of well being. 
  3. Every six months or so, reflect on the new/enhanced skills you’ve added and define the relationships you’ve advanced. Being intentional about both will keep you moving forward.

Being Well in the Triangle,


One Millennial View: I think Ferriss has a great point, and he’s a guy who has a lot figured out. The journals may also seem like an extra bit of “homework,” but even typing them out in the “notes” app on your smartphone before bed is probably a great exercise. If you’re networking, learning new skills, and strengthening your relationships, that’s the antithesis of failure. But it takes work. Especially as Millennials, we have to be careful… It’s easy to wake up one day and it’s already June, we put things in cruise control back in January and wait, are we even considered Millennials anymore?

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

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

‘I’m Burying My Husband Today’

Key Point: Contribution awareness and action builds and rebuilds self-confidence! The title of this blog refers to a journal entry by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, four days after her husband suddenly died. She and one of my favorite academics, Wharton’s Adam Grant, have just published a book titled, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. Sandberg tragically lost her husband, Dave Goldberg, while they were celebrating a friend’s birthday at a resort in Mexico. Goldberg went to the gym, had a cardiac arrhythmia, and died.  Option B, with superb guidance and contribution from Grant, is Sandberg’s journey through the sadness and anger, to her choice to find happiness again. 

I’m just starting the book and flipped to Chapter 4 on “Self Compassion and Self-Confidence.” I was immediately captured by a very important insight regarding that condition and characteristic we all deserve: SELF-CONFIDENCE. Sandberg was struggling to regain confidence upon returning to Facebook after this shattering experience of suddenly losing her husband. While she was challenged to appreciate what to be grateful for, she was stymied even more in regaining confidence. Adam Grant and a colleague, Jane Dutton, pointed out to Sandberg, that gratitude lists were helpful but served a different purpose. What she really needed to do to rebuild confidence was the act of daily journaling “contribution lists.” Gratitude lists make us thankful, yet are primarily passive in nature. Contribution journaling on the other hand, refers to how we are active and make a difference in our daily lives. Sandberg now encourages friends and teammates to regularly write down contribution lists every day, and the overwhelming feedback from people who take her advice is: “I wish I would have started this sooner.” As Sandberg notes, empathy and compassion are important and from her perspective, encouragement is even better… Especially when it starts within. 

I feel self-confidence is so very important, yet so elusive for far too many people. Finding and expanding confidence is so much more in our control when we think in terms of acknowledging small, valued contributions every day!

Character Moves:

  1. Every night before you wrap things up and close your eyes, write down and/or recount to yourself what contributions you made that day, however small. Over time, you will build a wonderful summary of how you make a positive difference. This builds well-recognized and earned self-confidence.  Please do this!!
  1. And then write down a few things you are grateful for. Doing both will make a difference to the most important person in your life… YOU. And you are so worth it. 

More self-confidence in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: I think most Millennials learn that confidence is one of the most important things we can possess. Whether it’s job interviews, presentations, proposals, or even socializing outside of the office: Confidence is key. I guess, if you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect anyone else to? Hey, I might even try journaling a daily “contribution list.” 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Peer-to-Peer Power 10x

Key Point: Peer-to-peer power. I thought I understood how important this idea was and then recently watched this principle blossom into something that made me realize it can truly be exponential in advancing both results and culture. 

My organization needed 50 people to lead a major initiative with the mandate to truly revolutionize the way we work; 5,000 plus team members contributing in much more collaborative and productive ways. We did NOT ask for leaders to recommend candidates. Rather, we outlined exactly what attributes we were looking for and invited people to “audition.”  The result was remarkable… Hundreds of passionate, excited prospects emerged, many that we would likely have never “found” through the normal channels. 

When we selected the final 50, they represented every level and other identity domain of the company; region, age, experience, gender, line of business, etc. We then asked them to leave their roles, titles and rest “at the door” as they came together for a 30 day boot camp. Their final output was to present a detailed framework for revolutionizing the way work; including but not limited to implementing a new productivity technology platform (Google’s G Suite), 10x better processes, measurable milestones, and so on. The “capstone” presentations that represented their work were given thus past Friday, followed by a “graduating” ceremony and celebration. The content of the work was stunningly exceptional. 

As the cohort gathered in a circle to recount how the 30-day boot camp experience impacted them personally and professionally, it was somewhat “jaw dropping” in the most inspirational way. The respect, gratitude, growth and overwhelming sense of collective accomplishment was astonishing. I have seen teams come together in the past, but this was something special… Actually, magical.

The experience and observation reinforced that unleashing more of this peer power is a vital competent of modern organizations. The principles include and are not limited to the following:

  1. Provide for people to raise their hands and audition; transparently invite passion to prevail over managers’ nominations and selections.
  2. Bring people from every part of the company fabric to come together as a dedicated cohort to bust artificial silos into oblivion.
  3. Let titles and position stature become subordinate to the ideas, imagination, and unique skills of a cohort.
  4. Understand that people will come together in deep care and respect for each other if the purpose is clear and values/expectations are intentionally stated.
  5. Recognize that many “hives” of these groups coming together in short powerful sprints will revolutionize the organization.

This is the way work should and will be done. Yes, we will have individual responsibilities and accountability. And we will have a direct “boss.” However, much of our time and contribution will be spent on strategically important initiatives where we can jump in and give our most incredible best. This will involve providing an organization/social platform where a genius collection of skills, attributes, imagination and ideas prevail over traditional vertical structures. How powerful… How democratizing… How profoundly 10x better. It will result in a work revolution. 

Character Moves:

  1. If you could raise your hand and audition for an initiative that could change your organization in a 10x way, what would that be? Who would you like to work with? How fast could you come up with exponential recommendations? What stops you from doing it? How could you change that? 

Peer Power in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: Wow, how cool. Y’know? More and more, I’m under the impression that some people make up their own roadblocks and create reasons they are unable to “raise their hand” and propose 10x improvement. It could be fear, or wanting to maintain comfort, or a million other misinterpretations… But I’d be willing to raise my hand and bet that as long as the objective has the intention to benefit the whole company, anyone can deliver their idea to any higher up worth their salt. Auditioning can be scary, but if you never do it, you’ll never get the part. (Little tip straight from Hollywood, ha). 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

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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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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