The Moment | Joe Granato

We believe that life is a collection of Moments. Some ever so big, some fleeting, some small. It is in these Moments and the choices we make within them, that shape the people we become and what our lives will stand for.

We are reaching out to the most interesting, inspiring & successful leaders around the world to ask them about their Moments. In the spirit of our number one value, collaboration, our goal with this series is for you to experience development and enrichment from today's most inspirational leaders. 

A self proclaimed book nerd, Chicago born Joe Granato is passionate about building high-performance teams and spear heading large-scale change efforts that add visible value to the business. 
From leading an ad agency in his early 20's, to his instrumental contribution to global giant lululemon's accelerated growth to his current executive position with Canadian favourite Earls Restaurants. Joe is known for his ability to translate his academic insight into meaningful, tangible business results. He is the host with the most & the leader in town everyone wants to work for.

Joe, tell us about the moment.......

.....You realized you had a great teacher or leader
I worked with my first exceptional leader when I was in my early 20s. In my eyes I saw him make a priority to have me take the lead on things and give me feedback in the moment or timely feedback just afterwards. I’d often be introduced by him saying “I always hire people smarter than me, that’s why Joe is here.”  While this is a line many people say - he had a genuineness to it. He afforded me the space to do work way above my “paygrade,” voice my opinions, and present to people much more senior than I was. I took the trust he had in me very seriously and never wanted to break it. Most of all though, he was so much fun to work with and brought levity and lightness to work and being developed.
In hindsight, his leadership set an example for my own and helped me formulate these values of leading a team:
- create big jobs for people (let people live into their potential and support them by coaching them out of self-doubt and fear),
- genuinely value people and their contribution (because then they’ll feel valued and in contribution - such a novel concept),
- bring levity and make work fun (yes, at times work needs to be serious and the overwhelming majority of time work can be fun).

You knew you were on the right path in your career....
I remember being invited to a dinner function with people way out of my league. I sat across from a founder of global company and between two board members who were current CEOs of major publicly-traded companies. I remember leaving that night feeling high from the level of conversation and intelligence at the table and wondered how the eff I got an invite.

You failed....
Which time? I have high expectations of myself and it leads to me failing often. It stings when I feel as though I let others down. Yet most days, I am way better at not making too much significance out of failing and getting back on with it quickly. 

You chose something different than what was expected of you....
HA! When I was two years old, I was given a red foam hockey stick for Christmas by my family, all of whom were older than me and played hockey. When I received it, I pretended it was a vacuum cleaner. I believe that when presented with only one option there are likely dozens of options yet to be discovered.

You wake. And the ritual you have to start your day...
I love mornings. I see them as “my time” and I love utilizing it to lay the foundation for the day. I have a introverted side, so mornings are when things are quiet and allow me to be introspective before the inundation of the daily decision-making and communications begin. When my alarm goes off, I take the opportunity to hit snooze and leverage the nine minutes to visualize my day. While in bed I envision what I’ll wear, my morning routine before I leave the house, what the outcome I’d like to see from the day and visualize outcomes of meetings I have for that day. This helps me prepare mentally for what will occur and keeps me grounded. Even on the days when things don’t go to plan, I find the ritual of visualization helps me recover faster and roll with it.

You made your best hire...
I am grateful for having worked with exceptional people. Five people come to mind and rather than choose just one I’ll create a persona with their commonalities:
- They Are Courageous - they didn’t hesitate when taking on things they knew nothing about and didn’t let “I don’t know how” stop them from doing great work.
- They Had a “Growth Mindset”  - they were open to learning, continuously improving, and sharing what obstacles they were encountering. They were open to coaching and feedback, and took joy in developing through their work.
- They Are Human - while they were exceptionally responsible, reliable, and at times were super-hero like,  when they made mistakes or fu*ked up they owned it and moved on and were able to laugh about it and laugh at themselves. They are authentic and generous.
- They Mentored Me - these individuals all taught me, contributed to my development and highlighted my blind spots making me a better leader and better person.

You felt the most successful in life...
I remember being on a private rock cliff facing into the sunset on Maui with my husband Peter. We sat for about an hour drinking champagne relatively quietly looking out on the ocean.

You received feedback that was hard to hear but worth listening to...
My mentor and boss told me that she withheld feedback or telling me her honest thoughts because of my self-confidence. She wondered if she could really develop me. I remember specifically her use of the word of “confidence.” It made me feel sick to my stomach. I wondered if it was confidence or my ego. I wondered who else bumped up against this same feeling and weren’t able to share this with me. I was afraid that I’d missed out or lost the opportunity to learn based on her feeling this way. It rattled me, as anyone irrespective of level, tenure, age can develop and teach me things.  I took the feedback and actioned it by taking the time to overtly explain to those that surround me that their unfiltered and candid feedback is only ever what I wanted to hear. I believe that self-confidence is a great gift one can give to themselves as long as it doesn’t tip the ego to an ugly place. To this day I take time to self-reflect how I am showing up and where the balance between the two (confidence and ego) are.

You chose to walk away from someone or something...
Most recently I chose to make a job change and walk away from a team that I loved and built. While I was ready and excited for my new challenge, the hardest part of the decision was knowing I was going to walk away from them.