Homegrown Feelings, TRUST & Great Organizations

Accountability Organizational culture Teamwork


Story: Last week I sat with nearly 40 people, each of whom run a small business in towns across southern Alberta, Canada. We gathered in a circle, and each participant shared a story about their beautiful little communities. They lovingly described the way people are mostly there for each other, how neighbors TRUST, put each other first, often greet with a hug, and personally connect before any business is transacted. Of course, not everything is perfect in small town life. People know each others’ business, small town politics, etc. Their stories made me a little homesick for these “homegrown” feelings. Coincidentally, I concluded the week visiting one of our smallest bank branches in the wonderful town of Daysland (pop. 824 people), where I also ran into a teammate from my college football days. For 40 years, he was the town pharmacist and proudly showed me around his former store and the world class medical clinic he was generously instrumental in developing for the greater good of the community. This overall experience made me pause… What did it teach me about expectations we might have for aspiring organizations?

Key Point: Great companies and institutions are often like the very best of these outstanding little towns. Yes, people are there for themselves, yet they thrive with meaningful purpose in advancing the community at large.

During the same week, I sat on a panel with the CEO of Edelman Canada, a leading journalist, several other execs, and a host of invited leaders to discuss the results of Edelman’s (world’s largest PR agency) annual Trust Barometer (33k respondents in 28 world markets). The Trust index conclusions are fascinating and concerning. To sum it up, trust is eroding amongst all institutions in most western democracies (a startling drop of 23 points in America). More than ever, especially in Canada, the US and Europe, there is a vacuum inviting business to urgently step up in leadership, while advancing trust amongst ALL stakeholders, not just shareholders. 

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. If you’re an executive leader, you must have the courage to create an organization purpose that really matters because living it clearly advances humankind. Additionally, you must create a sense of TRUST throughout the entire organization community and its ecosystem. Decisions about who fairly continues to be a member or not, is part of the hard work in maintaining that trust.
  2. If you’re an organization participant, not just a formal leader, you have a responsibility to be part of creating an environment of trust as well. Each of us is a vital part of the “village.” Ideally, going to work feels somewhat like living in a great little town… We feel at home.

P.S. You may enjoy listening to the Zac Brown song titled “Homegrown.” For me, it captures some of this feeling.

Homegrown in Personal Leadership,


One Millennial View: I completely agree that humans perform best when working in small tribes. That’s kind of what thousands of years of evolution has ingrained in us. There should be as much diversity, opposing views, different backgrounds, various upbringings and experiences as can be in these groups, but common values and purpose are what small towns really thrive on. And that’s what I want in an organization too. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis


Culture Cast: Analyzing the Current State of Recognition, Acknowledgment and the Reward System

Personal leadership Podcast


Hey Culture Cast fans! On Season 2, Episode 6, Lorne and Lynette discuss and analyze recognition, acknowledgment and the reward system. It’s not just about “what you did,” it’s about “how you did it.” Join the discussion about the value of giving and receiving genuine recognition from you, your peers and employees.

Please listen on Soundcloud and iTunes, and don’t forget to rate and review.

If listeners have any questions or thoughts, feel free to email the podcast at CultureCastPodcast@gmail.com. As you can see, we’ve started a Q/A series that will be posted every other Wednesday, and will likely be addressed in future podcasts as well. Please feel free to contribute. 

Also, please follow the podcast @CultureCastPod1 on Twitter, and advance the conversation.

Culture Cast: 8 Ingredients to Build Great Culture at Work Through Personal Leadership (Part 2)

Organizational culture Personal leadership Podcast


Hey Culture Cast fans! In Season 2, Episode 4, Lorne and Lynette unpack and discuss the final 4 ingredients to help build a great culture in an organization through personal leadership values at the workplace. 5. Develop personal equity/investment to your organization’s culture to increase your value. 6. Acute listening skills between all team members. 7. Have a growth and disruptive mindset. 8. Peer to peer communication/connectivity. 

Please listen on Soundcloud and iTunes, and don’t forget to rate and review.

If listeners have any questions or thoughts, feel free to email the podcast at CultureCastPodcast@gmail.com.

Also, please follow the podcast @CultureCastPod1 on Twitter, and advance the conversation.

Culture Cast Podcast 9



Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 5.10.57 PM

Hey Character Triangle fans! Listen to this latest Culture Cast podcast featuring Lorne Rubis and Lynette Turner, where they discuss the blog “Thinking Harder and Smarter.” Topics include delivering and accepting feedback, and, well, “thinking harder and smarter” when confronted with all sorts of situations at work. Please listen here or look for it via Soundcloud and iTunes and don’t be shy to comment and give us a rating (preferably 5 stars), it really helps us out! 

Please listen to it on SoundCloud here

Or on iTunes here.



Slaying Dragons… Continued

Accountability Gratitude Personal leadership


Key Point: This series of blogs has focused on the Seven Dragons underlying fear, as introduced by Laurie Skreslet, Canada’s extreme climber and the country’s first to conquer Everest. He obviously knows a lot about facing fear. He learned about the Seven Dragons from wise, story telling Tibetans, upon spending many years with them (please read our last two blogs for the complete picture). In the last blog, we focused on the gateway fear “STUBBORNNESS,” and another, “ARROGANCE.” Let’s tackle the next three: 


One of our core values at ATB Financial is to be confident and humble. That’s living the best part of this Dragon. However, when we cross the humble line to beating ourselves up, we’ve been overtaken by a belief that we are somehow not good enough. We pound and blame ourselves; even resorting to calling ourselves names in those very painful, private self deprecating moments. 


This Dragon shows up big and fiery in the Western world. When you ask people what’s on their mind, they often describe themselves as being overly busy, overwhelmed and even out of control. The positive aspect of this Dragon is when we recognize the triggers related to being “overwhelmed,” we often become aware, focused and able to achieve a great deal. The negative aspect is frustration, intolerance, distress and even rudeness while demanding that the world operates on our schedule.


The positive aspect of this Dragon is selflessness, taking action on behalf of others with little thought of personal benefit. There is tremendous generosity and even abundance attached to this dragon. However, a very negative aspect of martyrdom is victimization: Sacrificing one’s own needs and wants, and/or becoming a slave to the expectations of others. The fear is that somehow we will only be worthy when we have exhausted ourselves in the hope that people will recognize how much we have thanklessly given. “Poor us… Look how we just give, give, give without any appreciation.”

Character Moves: 

  1. Face Self-Deprecation: All blame is waste, including self-blame. We are good enough. We deserve our deep self-respect. Beating ourselves up equates to zero value. So why do it? Stop it. 
  2. Face Impatience: We are active participants in the world and yet we only own one worldview. Our priorities and schedule is unique to us. Often our fear of “missing out” or “being out of control” is a made up story in our own heads. To overcome the fear associated with impatience, it’s important to take that long, deep, reflective breath before acting. Keep that middle digit in your hand nicely tucked away. P.S., managing this fear has spawned a huge increase in practicing meditation. Try it. It works. Why are you really so impatient? 
  3. Face Martyrdom: Be abundant. When you feel an urge to want something in return for giving, it’s a signal to say quietly say, “thank you,” and generously give without expecting anything. Do not connect giving to reciprocation. Give because you want to, not because you need to prove your worthiness or love. Feeling like a victim, while emotionally real, is ultimately useless to you and others. 

Fighting dragons in The Triangle, 


One Millennial View: I hear Millennials deal with these Dragons on a regular basis due to a sense of feeling powerless in a “have it now” world. We can get same day delivery on Amazon Prime, right? So we must be doing something wrong if we don’t seem to achieve personal and professional goals immediately too? After all, you just saw on Facebook that kid from high school who failed his driving test four times, just got a huge new promotion. Then, some quiz you just took on Buzzfeed says you’re going to die alone. Really? My point is, as one of my favorite music groups says, “you want somethin’ bad, you gotta bleed a little for it.” Just keep giving it your best go. 

– Garrett Rubis

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis