In this episode, Minter Dial, host of the podcast Minter Dialogue, filmmaker, storyteller, three-time author, and international professional speaker shares a few counterintuitive leadership characteristics we should focus on to really shape the culture of our business and drive growth in the right direction.
Some topics we discussed include:
- Leadership qualities that make good leaders
- Is authentic and genuine leadership the same
- How empathy circles help strengthen vital leadership characteristics
- The CHECK framework to assess our leadership potential
- How being a better leader helps with creating discretionary energy
- Why leaders should gain a 319-degree perspective
- How to merge the professional and personal you
- How to develop true purpose at work
- How to develop leadership characteristics that allow a community to flourish and why it’s important
- How purpose impacts performance in the organization
- Examples of leadership worth noting
- and much more
Vinay Koshy 0:53
He is a storyteller filmmaker, three time author and an international professional speaker. He says his light motif is to elevate the debate and connect people. After a 16 year international career editorial, he said on his own and now speaks and consults on leadership, branding, and transformation is spoken at prestigious conferences around the world and now online to redeem works with major global brands, such as Google, Samsung carrying intense set. But perhaps what is most roll into a discussion today is his new book, you lead how being yourself makes you a better leader.
Minter Dial, welcome to the podcast.
Minter Dial 1:37
Many thanks Vinay, for having me on.
Vinay Koshy 1:39
Pleasure to have you. Minter, you are about to release this new book. But could you tell us about a time when you came to the realization that you just had to write this book.
Minter Dial 1:53
So funnily enough, this book, actually, germinated back in about six years ago. And my initial idea was I wanted to write the book of my life. And you know how everyone Vinay has a book in them, if I'm going to do one book, because there's got to be so I, I started writing it, and I wrote 30,000 words. And then for a series of just ridiculous instances, and serendipitous moments, and sometimes sad, tragic accidents, I had to put it off. And I ended up doing the other books, the film in between. And then finally, as I write this is it, I've got to do it. And so that's This is it. This is a book that, ideally is about leadership, but it's really leadership, from the home, through the office, leadership about yourself. And it's got to be a personal and professional journey. That was really what I was trying to do was figure out provide a leadership book that really spans the entire 24 hours a day, and your entire life.
Vinay Koshy 2:58
Certainly, and why would you say is it that we haven't, perhaps flesh this idea out in significant detail to date?
Minter Dial 3:10
Well, so I'm thinking, this is the novelty of this book, because for the most part, leadership books have always tended to talk about well, this is what you need to do at work. This is how you need to motivate yourself, this is how you need to become more efficient, create greater effectiveness, better teamwork, and so on. And, and that's really a large work, because, frankly, if we've written all these leadership books, we still have a whole bucket load of problematic managers in business, as you know, people always are the 70% of people that say that they're disengaged at work. And one of the primary reasons is systematically the boss for whom they're working. Of course, it's also if the boss is great, they really enjoy so many ways. My thought is that actually, if we've been talking about being genuine, being authentic, the only way that that really works is if you are genuine with who you are inside and outside work, because otherwise you're masquerading with another personality?
Vinay Koshy 4:14
Would you use the term genuine and authentic interchangeably?
Minter Dial 4:21
Well, I don't I mean, I think there's a notion of authenticity is a little bit more about being raw. And, and showing who you are, in a, almost like a cowboy manner. That's sort of an authentic personality. It doesn't necessarily mean 100% of you. Like you can be authentic without showing everything about you. And then genuine, I suppose is more about being honest. Right? That's the way I look at it. But anyway, I'm not. I do like words, but I, I think, yeah, there's a lot Little bit more about this notion of rawness within authenticity that I like.
Vinay Koshy 5:04
Okay. But that's a interesting take. And I'm also curious, what would you say given your journey to date is your personal area of strength.
Minter Dial 5:14
So I think that is something that has evolved over time. And initially, I kind of thought my personal strengths was, well, I've lived in so many countries, I speak a whole number of languages. And that becomes a strength when you're trying to become an international manager, your ability to work in different cultures. So I've changed along the way. And I think, my super power, if you will, is to be able to listen. Right? Okay. And I've developed that because to begin with, I was far too sort of excited, hyperactive, always doing doing doing. And, you know, we all think we listen. Yeah. But I've turned it up a notch by focusing on being more present when I listen. And there are techniques that I've included in that. And as a matter of course, practice helps you listen better to so I've been practicing listening, talking to strangers, leaning into who they are also trying to refresh myself when I talk to my family. So I'm not just cutting them off or finishing their sentences because we know each other, yeah, but I'm really trying to stabilize and listen.
Vinay Koshy 6:34
And these principles or practices are included in the book. Is that something that readers could expect?
Minter Dial 6:42
Yes, well, listening. Absolutely. And let's say amongst the techniques that I talked about, in the book, at least, our the idea of mindfulness, and learning to be present. And it's one of the challenges we have when we're a boss, because we have so many things going on in our mind. So many pressures, I mean, depending on on what type of boss and what type of size, but you can be thinking about your, your share price, you can be thinking about the factory issues, you can be thinking about sales and marketing issues, financial issues, I mean, legal issues, and you've got all these elements going on. So when someone comes into your room, and focuses on one slice of that general management, it can be very difficult to zero in and be present. On top of that thinking about the individual who's coming to speak to you, because that person could be bringing into it, issues from home, or other concerns about career independent of the specific problem that we're looking at, at work. So it's it's a, that's a really important skill. And the other one, Vinay, which really isn't in the book, but it's something that I've been doing now for many years is doing empathy circles, right? And the principle about it, yeah, so this is a two hour Structured Dialogue with and you can do it online or offline, you can do it for, I'd say, a big arguments that you're having in a team, where you have dysfunction, or you can just do it. To practice being empathic is sort of like a muscle being empathic, and you need to flex it, everyone slots really figure out what it is. So these empathy circles I do, I try to do them with three or four other people. And for two hours, we practice the art of listening. And there's something really rather special but a when you do it in public, so that you're listening to me right now. And the idea in the empathy circle is actually you need to reformulate what I'm saying.
Vinay Koshy 8:43
Minter Dial 8:45
So capturing every detail of my feelings and thoughts, as I express them, reformulate them, not to me and I in a parent manner, but so that really takes onboard and shows that you understood what I was saying. And you're trying to do that, while still managing a podcast while still managing the interview with technical elements, looking at time making sure that notifications don't pop up, and you've got all these other stuff, right. And that's our lives. And so these empathy circles are phenomenal ways to explore a question, meet interesting people, because I was up to curate them and practice listening.
Vinay Koshy 9:21
Certainly. So why two hours and and why three or four people?
Minter Dial 9:26
So lovely questions, because we're in a very specific concept, right? Two hours. So the reason why two hours when I get these group of three or four individuals, they don't know each other. And typically, they're CEOs or people with very interesting stories. So they used to talking, they used to being listened to. And in the first hour, we choose a topic that we all agree on that's of interest. And the first hour is generally about getting in my pitch. driving my message, doing what I thought about ahead of time. Yeah, in the second hour, you kind of start, you're what you're, you're now obliged to be bouncing up off of what everyone else has been saying. So you're, you're naturally looking at what the others are saying, as to draw inspiration from and sources for your next five minutes. Three to four, because in a two hour period, when we're so it like to be four or five people with me, it gives enough time for everybody to speak. And the idea when you do these circles is that you choose to whom you speak. So I will choose to speak to Vinay, then Vinay will choose to speak to Matthew and Matthew speaks to Maria, and then Maria can choose back to you or whomever. So in the space of two hours, you end up with this interesting sort of zigzag between you all and hopefully you've spoken to everybody, or they've spoken to you. And and that means that you, you feel that you've had a chance to speak and be heard. Right. And that's the that's the nature of the game.
Vinay Koshy 11:13
Certainly, listening to that, I would say communication is obviously pivotal to leadership as probably a characteristic. But really, it's more about understanding others, so that you can better your communication in a way that they understand you and where you're coming from. to help guide you as an entity, to word a common cause. Would that be, I guess, the rationale behind it? from a business point of view?
Minter Dial 11:50
Right. Well, so communication is the lifeblood of an organization. Yep. And within communication, I wouldn't, I wouldn't want to lose sight of storytelling. And within your communications, at some level, it's how you communicate non verbally in a meeting. It's how you talk to somebody in the corridor. It's how you write your mass email for everybody, the so each of these different moments you are communicating. And, and each time there's a, it's almost a different context, certainly different context, and also almost a different skill set. Because you want to go back to being authentic. So are you are you able sometimes to expose that sometimes you don't feel great? Are you able to expose that sometimes you don't know everything? Are you willing to show our fruits? I don't, I had no idea about that Vinay. Christ, can you help me?
Ask for other people's help. Because the the paradigm in the in the beginning was when you're a leader, you know, it all you drive the mission, the vision, and you're not in really a two way mode. And so that's how you get the big old, big heads. That's how you tend to be isolated, and you end up not knowing what's going on. So communication is a vital element of it, and then the empathy to consider the receptor of your message. So when you're talking to an individual in the car door, there's a big chance that they're impressed or, or at least, you know, maybe feeling deferential, or perhaps worried by what you're saying, or who you are represented, you know, depending on the organization, of course. And so just lean in and show that you're normal.
You, you know, should shower and shave just like everyone else. And this is me. And that's coming down, which is very obvious in the sort of an Australian context, because that's just how they roll down there. Yeah, but then a lot of organizations, we get into pretensions, and we have this distance between us. And yeah, so go out and communicating and listening hard. And I would add, expressly go out and try to meet the people who you don't have access to. You're typically as the leader. I mean, I put this into the context of having run a big business. When you're the CEO. You're doing lots of meetings, you're taxed by lots of people coming to you and some others and there's a natural distance between you and the floor at the shop floor.
Vinay Koshy 14:19
Minter Dial 14:21
So going out and meeting customers and doing it in a way that you are removed from your future preoccupations. You don't come with an agenda, you come to listen. And that's a really hard thing to do. And you've got all this other stuff going on. Yeah, so communication is huge. It's a big part of it. And another thing that I I learned was, since I worked with a lot of military people, about the importance of communications, in in the military, and I love history, and I interviewed 130 veterans of the Second World War. And it's amazing how often we talk about communications and humility of officers or not And, and and the value of communications versus supplies, and armaments. Communications is that, and I mentioned storytelling just before, when I, when you're speaking, you're you are representing the brand for which you work. And it's actually big at a whole nother level, which is you need to model the behavior of communications that you want to be having happen outside with your stakeholders, distributors, and customers. And so you need to have an alignment, in the style of communication within that corresponds to what you're trying to achieve externally. And this for sure, is a big part of my book.
Vinay Koshy 15:41
Certainly, it would seem to me at the very least of that these soft skills that always seem like common sense in terms of leadership and wanting to pick the right people, for those positions, after all can make or break an organization. I'd be interested in knowing why it is that at least your perspective on why it is that businesses struggle so much with being able to coach people effectively in in these these skills. And... let's start with that and then we'll talk about you as a leader.
Minter Dial 16:23
So, there are three things I'd say the first is that communications, when you get down to it is basically relationships between people. And relationships are messy. Yeah, that's just the way it is. Sure. And so your desire to have a nice fight by efficiency protocol, get the manage the message, you know, do the comms. This is the old school, when reality is that it's a you need to bring your whole self in there. And to and to create these relationships that take time. And time isn't something we often have handy at work. Is that a lesson stop? And listen. The second one is that I think essentially, the way we are educated has a big part of all this. And especially as we tend to be not only want to hire people from the top of the class, and then we're going to focus on you know, how much they know. And they're really smart, and they've got it all they studied computer science, or they're an engineer, and they were top of their class. And, and really mostly that's focused on in terms of results on their knowledge. And to some degree, their skills. Yep. But there's zero presence of attitude. When it comes to the academic way you go through to wit, when you become a doctor, how often are doctors judged for being doctors at when they get their final Certificate of being a doctor on their empathy? Yeah, I mean, some of the some, of course, there's plenty of schools that teach or talk about empathy. But it's not something you are driven into the exam, at the end of the day went to become a doctor. It's more about, you know, your left toenail, from your right toenail. And all the biological elements, which of course, are important. And then then the The third thing about being about this, this notion of relationships within work is that you end up creating a family situation in work. And because it's not a family, because you can choose as the leader to fire and hire people, but it's a long term process. And you can't just sort of say be a better father Vinay. Be a better husband Minter.
Vinay Koshy 19:00
Yeah. How do you teach that?
Minter Dial 19:04
So there's this element of actually, what I think you need to do is to focus on hiring for attitude. Because it's hard to change that knowledge and skills you can incorporate compensate add on to and then understand that it's a it's a you're building relationships and that you as the boss need to model that behavior in the first place. And show that you can be you show that sometimes it's okay not to be okay. And and bring your entire self to work. And hopefully more and more people will feel that they're able to do that even to the point of bringing their own vulnerabilities and understanding their own imperfections and what they need to improve on just like I need to.
Vinay Koshy 19:44
So my takeaway would be that, in general, organizations are so pressured to produce results. And time is a rare commodity and therefore everything goes up the window as long as results important table, including relationships. And that's something that we've probably learned through schooling in education, as well. So really the fault lies probably in the fact that we haven't taken the time to stop and think through what is important. And the fact that relationships are the key to to really move an organization forward and to sustainable growth in the business. Would that be correct?
Minter Dial 20:31
Yeah, there's, the notion is that when you're the boss, you kind of are so focused on the results so often, yeah. That and because I said, So, then you should do so kind of mentality that that works. Because haters, and Vinay, if you don't, you've got no paycheck at the end of the month, you're fired? Yeah. Yes, sir, is the answer, right? But I don't take the time to explain why I'm asking you that I don't deliver it to you in a way that's most effective for you. And so you might go away, tell me like because I spanked you on the way you walk out, you're like fucking out for this guy, dial, he's a real tester, right, I gotta do this shit. I'm gonna put it in my good intention. I've got you know, I really do want the paycheck at the end of the month, as it is. So I'm gonna do my best. But that hole inside jargon, but that dialogue going inside your head, that is entropic to the highest degree. And so while you may be doing what I told you to do, you don't come to this guy can't wait to do more shit for him next time.
Vinay Koshy 21:35
Certainly, so if culture is to change it really begins with you.
Minter Dial 21:40
Yes, sir. And it starts with me - Minter. I really have tried to do the do what I say or do what I write. Because it's, it's a I mean, actually, my whole premise of the book was to try to sculpt off of my personal and often imperfect experiences, and to acknowledge my imperfections within and, and even to model that behavior with my family. And so it's nothing worse than a when you write a book about empathy. And you get called out by somebody or found Minter, Papa, or husband. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you the empathy expert, I didn't look like you were being hyper empathic. So there's a, there's a reality to that, by the way. And, and, and, but there's also I'm trying to hold myself up to that standard. The beauty of this particular angle is not just about being empathic, but is I am, I have looked at really who I am, I have not 100% knowledge of who I am. But I've tried to really be consistent with that. be genuine to myself about what I am thinking about myself, and any, especially in this pandemic time, you know, there's a time to really focus in on yourself, and understand what's going on inside of my emotions. Then when I do that, when I come to the table to have a discussion with somebody, I'm better able to, to lean in, and focus on the other person, because I'm okay with myself.
Vinay Koshy 23:12
So, okay, so in order to understand where you're at, you may have some idea where you'd like to be. But in order to better understand where you're at, is there like a, an audit or a framework that you could do some sort of a check? And kind of determine the gaps that you need to, to bridge?
Minter Dial 23:33
Well, so funnily enough, there is a CHECK framework, but it's not a checklist. And it's certainly not a measurable aspect to this, this whole idea of of knowing exactly where you sit. So like, how human are you today? Well, presumably, I'm 100% human all the time, but sometimes not humane. Right? Okay. And then being empathic third, times when being empathic is completely not needed. So it's not about the dictatorship of any of these things. And for each person, what I am, what I'm generally encouraged him to do is is to lean in, understand where you sit with these different characteristics, I call us the check framework. And, and then understand, it's about trying to get more of them. Maybe you're strong and some, maybe you're not so strong and others, because they're they're very much different types of attitudes that flow through together. But you can find yourself being really good in one area and not at all over another. And that's okay, because you know, if you're great in that area, hallelujah. It's brilliant time. I'm not suggesting that these are new attitudes, except for one, which I think is more novel. Anyway, this CHECK framework is, it's called check, which stands for Curiosity, Humility, Empathy, Courage, and the K is the secret sauce. I'll tell you that on later. Ha.
Vinay Koshy 24:55
Can you talk us through it? I think you've you've touched upon empathy but the others
Minter Dial 25:01
Right. So each time these are obvious words, curiosity, I will you know, one of the things I hear regular is I'm super curious. I'm always curious. Well, that can be great. But oftentimes, it also means that you're able to run down rabbit holes far too quickly and you forget to resurface. Yeah. So curiosity needs to be disciplined. Curiosity also needs to be applied to where you need to learn, not just where you like to learn. And as human beings, we have just a greater tendency to do shortcuts, and do what's most efficient for us. So if I really liked this topic, I'm gonna go read a lot more books about it. Yeah, that's great. Except Did you need to learn about the color of wool socks? I love wool socks, you know, great. I'm up here in the winter up here, of course. So that's what I'm thinking about. But right, but snow, maybe not what I need to be learning. Maybe that's the Curiosity story.
Vinay Koshy 25:57
So if I could put this another way, shiny object syndrome, another way of talking about it? Yep.
Minter Dial 26:04
Yeah, that's another aspect of it. And but you know, when you're in the morning, I like to have a disciplined approach. One of the key elements of this is that we need to be in a learning mode all the time. We need to be constantly trying to keep up with what's happening, that's specific to where you're going. And so you need to move from a no at all to a learn at all type of attitude. And you need to be self responsible for your learning. So it's disciplined. And it's self directed learning, that is an ongoing mode. And so for example, I tend to spend 15 minutes every morning on Twitter, I'm very structured about the areas. So I have about 20 different lists. And my attitude is, well, if I need to zero in on one topic, or one group of people, or maybe I'm working with a company, I'm going to spend 15 minutes, just working out what's going on in that space. So when I come to the conversation with the company I'm talking with, I'm up to date with what's going on. And that's what I needed to know for that meeting.
Vinay Koshy 27:13
Right. And, H, for humility,
Minter Dial 27:17
H, for humility, exactly. And the the notion here is that it's okay not to know everything. And to have come from a place where you're not faking humility, but you're also capable of showing your vulnerabilities. And that you need help sometimes, the better able you are to say, I don't know, at all, then you're going to get a complimentary team around you, that can maybe be much better than you. And that's great. Because it's just about being a center and, you know, leading from the center, understanding who you need around you to compliment you and become the the high flying team that you want to have. And if you can, if you can demonstrate that you truly believe and respect other people on your team. This comes from a place of humility, where you're like, Okay, that's cool. I'm so I'm so glad to have you on the team. But I, you really teaching me a lot? How often do leaders do that? It's never not, not a lot, right? So this guy, it's a word, right? humility is just another one of those words, but I'm trying to do is sort of reveal the reality of it. And when you get into situation where everyone looks at you and says, oh, you're the big, you're the big ticket guy, I need, what's the answer? You look back, I don't know, then all of a sudden thing, people saying, Oh, well, you know, I've got no direction, and doesn't know how to take decisions. He's he, I don't respect him. So you have to find that balance, where you are able to take decisions. And you are showing that you are courageous enough to to you know, make the hard decisions when they are at the same time, you need to show that you're real, you're not always perfect. And, and you're happy to ask for help.
Vinay Koshy 29:03
Right. Certainly, empathy, you've touched upon that, is there anything that you would add?
Minter Dial 29:09
Yes, there's one thing which is that, like, the whole book is about leadership of you. Empathy starts with yourself. And people tend to rush into the idea of empathy is all about getting in the customer shoes. Well, actually, just zero in on on you for a second. How are you feeling? Are you taking stock of your own feelings and, and experiences as is going on? And oftentimes, we sort of brush over that. Well, yeah, I've got stiff upper lip, you know, I can get through this. You know, it's just another gray day, but that's okay. Maybe it's not and the more you're able to sort of gauge that that's a reality for you. You're going to come to the table, fully you not some sort of bravado version, some fictional version of you. And then we're going to get back to a more authentic you in the first place. So that's easy, but with that difference of focusing on you first and then looking at your team, and then looking at your customers externally, I call it the PI model, P, personal, internal external.
Vinay Koshy 30:17
I was gonna ask you this at the end, but I'll ask you now. You've gone through the first three letters of the framework. And I can't help but think I agree with you that it should start to change or to start with you. But in order for it to have a life, you probably need a few people around you to keep you on track, which would suggest that you need coaches and perhaps even mentor and unless people are of the light mind, it would be difficult to to be authentic, and and, you know, exhibit humility and confidence and talk, you're talking about exercising that muscle, and will be difficult to do that on ongoing basis. Would that be correct?
Minter Dial 31:14
Well, absolutely. I mean, if you can identify that you have some areas that you're not good on, for example, me pnls Yeah, I get them. But to be exactly honest about the depth of my knowledge of the differences on balance sheets and cash flow statements or income statement, sorry, and or cash flow Plus, you know, earnings per share, and diluted this and EBIT da that, yeah, I get, I get all that all those numbers. But it's not my tremendous level of comfort, I'm constantly to think through this stuff. So what I knew is I had to have on my team, super strong financial analyst, or officer. So that was that was the first point and then terms of coaching. And when you start off, it's very difficult to have it all. You know, I was the general manager, my first time when I was 30, I think 33 years old. And I was running a big ass well, biggest business for me at the time. $300 million. And that felt like a big responsibility. And I shifted know everything I was doing. So I had, first of all, I had a couple of people within the organization who were very who I really went to, to ask for advice, how it works and in the organization. And yeah, and then I ended up getting a coach. And that coaching was specific to the desire to create my own north. And that was a to and fro I did for roughly three months with a guy based in Paris, by the way while I was in New York, and we were talking constantly about this idea of of Who am I? Who do I want to be? And it sounds like an obvious question. But people don't really actually spend enough time on it. And it really helps to have somebody who can push by a mentor that's full of shit. You know, that's not you. That's not right. Or it doesn't sound like you're being consistent with what you're, you're doing or you're saying and so on. So someone says push back and I think Vinay, that's the other point is that when you constitute your team around you, like minded is an interesting idea. If like minded includes able to criticize you. Yep. Provide you constructive feedback. tell you when I'm out of line. Yeah, okay. Well, that's like minded, except that's not like minded really needs to be addressed. It's not like something that you can imagine, really need to think through what you're going to allow, because to have people push back at you need to give them the permission to do that, in a sense, where they don't look like they're being insubordinate. So and that's okay.
Vinay Koshy 34:03
Yeah, okay. In some organizations, at least from my experience, not everyone wants to necessarily take an introspective work to improve their leadership. There is this notion that you could go to a seminar or a course for two weeks and you're it you're done. I was talking to you. I get the impression that if you're going to read this book or want to pick up this book, you really need to be ready to take a good hard look at yourself and and the gaps that you need to bridge. What would you say to people who aren't at that level of awareness as yet?
Minter Dial 34:53
Well, there's some story around Well, you can't teach a tricks to a dead pony, or something like that. It's mixed mixed metaphors there. But the reality is that you need to want to improve. So there's, it doesn't come for free. You need to go in and you need to nudge yourself. I'm not saying overnight revolutionize, because I didn't do that overnight. So, but it's a awareness of your weaknesses, a self awareness that you want to improve and you're legitimately interested in changing. And perhaps you have some areas within your leadership that you're not quite as good at. Not saying reveal all to, to me, or to, but to yourself, yes. And then go in and, and practice self awareness is, I think, such an important part because otherwise you're coming in, we'll just chips on your shoulders, you're you're bringing in all sorts of baggage that you're trying to hide. And that inevitably comes up like a zit that needs to be burst. So it's just the manifestations of some things you haven't worked through yourself. And, and that ego that comes and it's very easy for your ego to dominate big title, the swish car, big position, everybody turns to you, God, I'm so important. So I think, yeah, you do need to lean in on yourself. And then I'm trying to encourage some level of humility. And it's okay not to be okay. And to offer we've been brought up I certainly was brought up in, in, you know, private schools, where, you know, get up dial, come on, step up out of it. And, and it's fine. Except I forgot to know how to show emotions. Yeah. So for a long part of my career, I was all about us, you know, do do do show the energy, blah, blah, blah. But I wasn't able to actually demonstrate bad and good emotions. I mean, good. Yes. But the bad is the hard part. Like crying?
Vinay Koshy 37:08
Yeah, certainly. That's a refreshing look at leadership, back to the CHECK framework, what would be the second C?
Minter Dial 37:18
Well, this one is, is probably almost at some level a counterpoint to the other ones. And it's about courage. And, and so the courage to stand up for what you believe in the courage to stand out from a crowd. And so this really means as a first level, understanding who you are as an individual and as an organization, and being prepared to say, off to some parts of your constituency. I don't know if you're not swearing on your on your podcast. But it's so the notion is, you don't want to try to please everybody, you try not to be everything to everyone, otherwise, you are nothing. And so it's his courage to stand up for things. I give you an example of how this doesn't work. In most instances, there are roughly 75 different values. And each one of them is glorious. How can you not you know, I'm honest, you know, I love family. Integrity is important to innovations shit, if I didn't have innovation, that's bad. You know? So each one of these things you tend to ask me. But not only is that not true, you have different value systems and different weights to each of them. You also have different definitions of what each one is because integrity to you could mean totally different thing to me. I've been working on transparency recently. And it's remarkable how everyone has an absolutely different idea what transparencies you would have thought it was plumb simple, you know, take a piece of glass, is this transparent? Yeah, but it's such an abstract term when it comes to everything else. Anyway, the point is to have the courage to stand out, and to stand up for what you believe. And that means sometimes saying, nope, you a part of my group. It's okay. It's okay. You don't like me? In fact, that means you understand me better and you understand you. Let's it's okay not to be together. That's that's the idea of I encourage
Vinay Koshy 39:28
Certainly, okay. And the secret sauce?
Minter Dial 39:31
Secret sauce, the K and the one this is definitely the one that's least common. And and few Vinay I'm sure, you can teach me a thing or two about it too. But this notion of karma. And the way that karma works is at a nice level it's give without expecting in return. And I think that's a reasonable definition of it, if you will, it's sort of a banal version of it. Why because you have this notion of giving and the for me, karma is a About the intention, and the action that follows. And doing those having having good intentions, followed up by actions that hopefully are the right ones and the good ones, but not necessarily. But assuming you come with the good intentions, you do these actions. And then over time, this will benefit you. It'll, you're doing it for the benefit of others. And over time, this will come back to benefit you. So of course, you need to sometimes do transactions, that's be silly to think otherwise. But it's generally speaking to have this disposition. So how am I trying to do that for a model that behavior? For a long time, what I've considered is, every day, I want to give away something valuable. And that is valuable to the type of people I like to interact with. And so I'm not expecting that people will hire me, or pay me for anything that I'm doing or giving away. But I'm hoping that it will show some kind of version of me and appreciation. And at some point, some of them might say, Hey, this is a great thing that he talked about, you should read his book or his idea. And somehow that sort of gets out there and in the great scheme of things, and will flow back to me, but I'm not expecting it from a transaction where I give to you, and then you are supposed to get back to me,
Vinay Koshy 41:25
Someone listening to this might say, this is a take on the law of reciprocity.
Minter Dial 41:32
Well, except at some level, the reciprocity is it tends to be in de facto, a transaction, where I give and you return. And that is, so the idea is I give, and I don't expect that it's going to come back to me, it just, that's the idea that if the tension is good, and the value is there, then it will, but it's detaching yourself from that notion of the return. And again, there's an element of pragmatism, this is not something you're going to give away the house every day, you need your house, there's some things you need to keep. And there are some things that you're going to do all transactional, this happens, that's called a negotiation as many guys and so obviously, this isn't something you do for everything you're conceiving, but it's a notion of part of your brand, needs to configure that you are there for others. This is called the purpose show. And if you create a purpose that is designed not just to make you wealthy, or successful, but as contributing to some greater community, it could be the people on your street, your town, your city, your country, the world, a facet of the world, then if you're doing things for that purpose, that's where it then flows through to the bottom line, ultimately, famous triple bottom line.
Vinay Koshy 42:59
Do you have an example of a leader who has exhibited exhibited the last two letters - courage and karma?
Minter Dial 43:08
Yeah, I would I mean, I, the man that comes to my mind, unfortunately, died recently is guy called Tony Hsieh. And Tony Hsieh was the CEO and founder of Zappos, which was sold to Amazon. And he had the courage of his convictions, which was essentially spelled out in a karmic manner, in the way that he ran customer service. Yeah. And he said, you give up your time, you make sure that they are fully satisfied. So the return on investment, the return on efficiencies that we're so programmed to do, that's, for me a wonderful example of implementing karma in your philosophy. And then all of a sudden, people talk about shit, they didn't just rush out, they didn't need to cut me off. They took the time to listen to me. In fact, I told them about my mother in law, and this and that. And next thing, you know, I've created the relationship with this customer service, and they solved my problem, or they were honest about what they weren't able to solve, and so on, so forth. So I think that's an example of a man who led his life in and outside work in a complete manner. Unfortunately, you know, he was very experimental, and I'm not sure what the details will show at the end of the day, but he generally was brave enough to live his convictions and wasn't interested in the money. The money was sort of almost, I mean, he was living in a caravan For God's sake when he was when he was CEO of Zappos for many years. That's what he did. Of course, he did a lot of things for his community. And then towards the end, he got a little bit excited about a big property. But anyway, that's another story, but that's a man. No one's perfect.
Vinay Koshy 44:50
Sure. Certainly. You talk about the leaders gaining a 319 degree perspective? Could you explain that?
Minter Dial 45:02
Right, so this notion of transparency I was mentioning before, and being authentic, the issue is that we all have secrets, more or less explicit in our, in our Constitution. And, and the point is that it's not about bringing your dirty underwear to work. I mean, you might be wearing them, but you don't show them that way. So 319 degrees is towards 360. But it's got a long gap between. And it's just to say that if obviously, there's no real scale, but it's the idea of, of finding your level where you're comfortable. And it's not because you have a secret garden, that you can't show who you are otherwise. And it's about moving up to that line, I like to use the term. For me, I went from being a tie wire to a tie dye where so I would tie to tie dye and the and the tie, I still had to be a corporate person at work. And there are times when I'm doing things, which were relative to, you know, reading the p&l and doing logistics and forecasting, meetings, and so on. But then there's the tie dye mentor. And he used to be that I would go to concerts, drop acid and listen to the Grateful Dead, and only keep that off offline. But I just felt I needed to be more me. So I merged tie and tie dye at work. Not that I was coming to work in tie dye, but it's more the the mentality of doing it. And so 319 is a if you look at it, if you mirror the number backwards, it also can look like p i e going backwards, the nine, the one and the three p i E, and the PI stands for personal, internal and external. And so it's about having that integrity, internally mirroring and aligning internally, before you start doing externally. That's the 319 for you.
Vinay Koshy 47:09
Perhaps another way I can put this in just to make sure that I understand this correctly, you're suggesting that we look at ourselves, understand ourselves to understand our purpose, which should then align, ideally, with the purpose or the cause of an organization in order to lift performance and overall growth? Wouldn't? Would that be the right way of thinking?
Minter Dial 47:36
Thank you for that for a great translation of this. Because what I what I talked about when we when one of the big things we miss when we talk about purpose is actually as a leader thinking how it resonates with me, deep down, not an intellectual size. And so when when I mentioned at the top, we were talking about storytelling. And some people are great storytellers. They know how to repeat the story. But do they actually feel the story? Can they relate the story to something that is relevantly personal to them in their past? Or is it something that just learning to do intellectual exercise. So the notion of purpose that where people miss is making sure that it resonates with me as the leader at a personal level, that there's, you know, if we're selling, I don't know, pharmaceuticals, in our in amongst our branches, we might be selling products for certain type of pathology. Well, that becomes important to me if that pathology was also something that my art had, or my child had. That is that's that's leaning in on that, and then not being afraid to talk about it. Right, you know, in the office leader, if I say that, and the other people work in that family, you're gonna say that he's so pretty, he is only focused on that side of the part, the company, for example, that's exactly how that can go wrong. And anyway, my point is making sure that the purpose resonates with you at a personal level. And then and then working that through, but it doesn't need to be 100% overlap. And it doesn't need to be 100% alignment, because that's ridiculous. That's perfection. So it's about making sure that you have a personal connection to it. And then encouraging and permitting others to find their connection into it at a personal level, internally so that the employees feel it, live it breathe it internally, your purpose. There's nothing worse than having a purpose. That's great for everyone else, but not for me.
You need to feel that you're connected to it. And too often in our leadership thing we think what's all about the customer, we got to make the customer happy. But if the employees say what about me, then at some level sometime The service that you're providing to the customer just won't be happening quite as much, you won't be tapping into their discretionary energy to jump to to go beyond for the customer. So you need to think this through for me into your internal team, the alignment of what's in it for everybody, and how there is an overlap of my personal and professional ambitions, and then move that out towards the customer. That's the idea.
Vinay Koshy 50:28
So, really, we should be, as a leader really be focusing in on how well we are allowing community to flourish. And I use community as a broad term to encompass both employees as well as customers.
Minter Dial 50:46
Yeah. So here's the thing, we will you know, first of all, it is a journey. And there's no such thing as a perfect instance of this. But too often we get focused on results. If you layer that back, and you finally get off the wagon of it's all about the quarterly results, you you naturally come to the conclusion that the customer is important. Yeah, customers King, oh, god, yes, of course, course customers cake. So we've got to move away from the, of course, to making that happen. And in today's world differently from let's say, 20 years ago, but I mean, and more and more these days, there are so many people involved in making that customer satisfaction happened. And so you, you need to make sure that if you want to deliver a superior customer experience, that you have the employees who are fully on board with delivering it. And so make your employees feel that there's something in it for them. But the the mission of the company is also with them and for them. And so make that's where I say it's great to have, you need to have your customer they're paying you but focus on your employees who are delivering that experience and the only in the best way over time to drive that employee engagement, that long term. Energy, give that discretion energy at the employee level, is to make sure you have a bonafide, realistic and de facto purpose. That is what's going to jump the the employees out of bed in the morning, rush to their office, wherever that is whether it's their bedside, desk, or in a car to commute and and get them thinking off. I can't wait to do what I got to do today. Because I'm on this mission. I'm part of this community, and I believe it. And the other thing I'm going to mention is that in community, you again have to have the courage not to what everybody and it's too easy to say yeah, yeah, we love everybody. Everybody's important, all these niceties. But you need to have the courage and conviction to define your community because you can't serve everybody.
Vinay Koshy 53:06
And that's a valuable point. Defining your community. Certainly, Minter I'm conscious of time first escaping from us as much as I'd love to explore this in a lot more detail. Is there an aspect of leadership and looking at yourself in particular that you feel we should highlight? Because we haven't quite touched upon it or haven't mentioned it at all? as yet?
Minter Dial 53:38
Yeah, I will. Not a lot and probably not enough our emotions, and what we, it's It was a difficult place for me because I you know, I paid 18 years of rigor For God's sake, and you know, you you don't cry after being injured. For God's sake. I've taught Of course, I'm talking about rugby at 15 Union. And I mean, the same true for League Of course, it just endless knowledge, but bringing emotions into work. And so there's, you know, happy smiling sense of humor, unhappiness, happiness, and how long how far down that scaled we go. So the challenge, like the messiness of human relationships, is if you're feeling shit every day, for 365 Nope, not acceptable, you're going to need to pull up your, your socks, and you've got to come to the table. But the challenge is just allowing for those sad moments, and, or at least the other moments where you're not glorious. And I want to tell you a little story about the first time I cried in public in a professional environment. It was a group of around about 60 to 80 very important press. dignitaries celebrities. So as a high-stress moment, and somehow somewhere, I started crying. I was I tapped into something in me. And I just started I started sobbing. And and it was just unbearable. It was so embarrassing. This was not part of the script. You know, you don't I'm not an actor, right? Just turn on the crying because that's what I was trying to do. Now, this was, I'm wasting time. Plus, this is a misery. I'm not saying what I need to say. I just I couldn't hide quick enough. And and I just thought, oh, that this is totally fucked this up is really terrible. And it turned out at the end that a few of the people in the audience, well, first of all, they clapped. Oh, that's interesting. And I pulled myself together, and I did the rest. And at the end, I had a couple people. Amongst them the biggest swing people in the group, come up to me hug me and say thank you for sharing. So Marla stories, yeah, short, some of them probably skipped out. They are here the kind of weirdo, not my community that for my community, and the people who really bonded into me, were able to embrace my sadness, were able to relate into it and didn't think that I was some worse. Yeah. It turns out that it was one of the most eye opening wonderful experiences for me, but not at the time, I must say. Sure. Anyway, I've learned to feel my emotions. And and then express that. And then it gets a little trickier when you're talking about things like your own political statements or, or opinions, which is really the full YouTube because if you're just hiding that you're a mass murderer, or you know, some gangster politician, and you go to work, and you put on a tie, and you're not bring your tie dye that's not being very authentic. And that's not good. So sometimes, you need to pull up your socks, if you have imperfections, don't necessarily say well, that's fine. I'm just going to be a shit. No, no, you do have to continue to want to self improve, have that awareness and continue to move forward. Because that's progress, too.
Vinay Koshy 57:17
Thank you for sharing. If you were listening to this podcast, what would be your top takeaway?
Minter Dial 57:27
Top takeaway? Well, I think the most important thing is to take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror. And if you are prepared to do that, maybe look at who could help you to, in that self awareness, do you have a hard loving spouse, who's able to provide you with the tough love to say, Ah, that's not all of you, and spend some time on you to figure out what's important for you, I had this exercise in a book called finding a north. And and basically, it's about understanding who you want to be as a person. And and don't think right away about what you want to do. But really lean in on Express on on spending time on honing who you are, who you want to be. And those words that you use, then become your lightning rod, your North Star. So I created mine, which is all about learning how to elevate the debate, and connect people, dots and ideas. And as I always want to be doing that, at least some portion of every day, not all day, again, not the dictatorship of empathy, not the dictatorship of purpose, but making sure that at least some part of the day, I'm doing that. And that's my north, it speaks to me, each person to find that as how they want to be. And then of course, you need to do actions back to karma to follow through and make that happen. So hopefully, I've brought some elevation to the debate.
Vinay Koshy 59:02
I certainly believe you have. It's been brilliant. Minter, if listeners wanted to find out more or connect with you, where would you recommend they head to?
Minter Dial 59:11
So I have to be thankful to my parents for providing me crazy, silly, stupid, unique name, Minter although there were two great women tennis players with last name Minter, which is where it came from last name. So minterdial.com is my sort of Portal and I tweet on mdial MDIAL. I have a podcast called Minter Dialogue, thank goodness for that last name. Where I try to engage in interesting conversations and otherwise my books are out on all etailers including that little one which begins with an A and and then my film. I could ask her - you interested in Second World War. I've done a film on the Asia Pacific side of the Second World War, the personal story again, but it's one that hopefully brings strong values to everybody elevates the debate. It's called the Last ring home. It's a crazy story about my grandfather, who was a prisoner of war of the Japanese the second war didn't make it back. But his ring did. And the journey of his ring is quite different.
Vinay Koshy 1:00:14
Certainly. I'll have to look that one up. Thanks so much for doing this Minter, much appreciated.
Minter Dial 1:00:20
A great pleasure Vinay. Thank you for inviting me. Thank you for some insightful questions. I enjoyed your reflections. I felt heard. Thank you for that.
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- Check out Minters website
- Get a copy of You Lead: How Being Yourself Makes You a Better Leader
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