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EP: 40 – A Conversation with Karin Hurt & David Dye

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I interviewed Karin Hurt a Leadership consultant and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders,  author &  Inc Magazines list of great leadership speakers and David Dye, President of Let’s Grow Leaders, author and speaker. Together they have written 5 books the latest of which is called Courageous Cultures: How to build teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers and Customer Advocates.

Show Notes

Podcast episode summary: This episode was recorded against a backdrop of racial tension and the very real & ongoing threat of Covid-19 across the Globe.  This episode felt extraordinarily timely as the  need for Courage and a Courageous Culture seems even more important  today when society and organisations need to think creatively and innovatively in terms of how to emerge for a new world. Karin and David shared the auspices of their work and book and shared many great insights & practical suggestions for igniting a culture of courage.


Points made through the episode:

  • The mood in Maryland is mixed with many feeling, angry, tired and sad
  • Hope is also present as people consider what is important and what needs to change
  • David and Karin shared their story and how a mutual interest in Leadership and thought leadership brought them together over work to collaborate on a book which led to them marrying and producing 3 children together.
  • We moved then to the work that produced the book Courageous Cultures, to be released on the 28th of July but available now to pre-order.
  • The difference between the work conducted by Amy Edmondson in her book The Fearless Organisation and the work that produced Courageous Culture was explored. They really are two sides of the same coin.
  • David shared the research conducted by the University of Colorado56% of people will not speak up because they are not credited for their ideas
  • 49% shared that they are not asked for their ideas
  • “this is the way we always do it” is an answer that prevents 75% of people sharing ideas
  • 50% of team members will not share ideas because they are not confident, they will be seen through
  • This is the prevalent mindset in many organisations. What is needed is Clarity combined with Curiosity-Clarity that people know the strategic direction in which the team or organisastion is moving and that you really want peoples’ ideas and Curiosity in the way you ask-humble and specific
  • An example of a courageous questions might look something like: “what is one thing that is really ticking off our customers?”
  • We are often wired to focus on inputs rather than outputs. What is the most important thing here?
  • Start with a focus on outputs. What best practices are employees currently using for example that we can scale?
  • Remember right now there are all kinds of micro-innovations going on as people try to do the best they can in an environment where remote working might be new, minding and teaching children must be done simultaneously and or caring for elderly and sick is happening in the same household.
  • David suggested that people are realising that the crisis may last for some time and change is inevitable. Start asking your teams some questions for innovation like; What is one thing that is working?
  • What is one thing that never needs to come back once we re-emerge?
  • What are we capturing ?and can we convene to capture ideas like this every 4-6 weeks?
  • Karin shared the concept of Workaround workshops- convening a meeting to explore ways people are having to work-around stuff when the ideas of doing so are absent or fuzzy- the premise is you declare amnesty and openly discuss work arounds to glean creative ideas that could be scaled or improved
  • Why Courageous Cultures? How do you become effective in the middle of a crisis where people are working remotely with all kinds of concomitant pressures? How do you create psychological safety and humility so that people can connect and share?
  • What Leadership is working in this crisis? One that shows vulnerability, understands that no-one really knows but together there has to be some answers on which we can draw. Leaders need to; Get real with their own narrative, being open and comfortable being vulnerable and authentic
  • Leaders need to show up with curiosity
  • Canned messages and over scripted answers will not curry a human response
  • David shared some guidelines that support the building of a courageous culture
  • Navigate the narrative
  • Dance between Clarity and Curiosity
  • Respond with regard
  • Practice the principle
  • Galvanise the genius
  • Starting from a mindset of Gratitude is often tough in a world of urgency and distractedness, how do Leaders learn to pause and notice the human in front of them?
  • Equally for ideas to spawn it is important that they are well curated. Sometimes idea generators can be clumsy in the communication of their ideas. David and Karin teach the building & the positioning of ideas in their Leadership Program. I-Ideas must be interesting and align with the strategic intent of the organisation
  • D- ideas need to be doable.
  • E-Ideas need to be engaging-consider how others might respond?
  • A- action what are a couple of starters for possible action?
  • What most surprised David & Karin in the research of their book was the fact that 56% of people withhold their ideas because they will not get credit for them-
  • In closing Karin and David shared that it is important that organisations be judicious about squashing Courageous Crushers, people who bully etc..
  • Leadership does not need to be lonely. Find a few people who share your ideas and build a community of practice.
  • Build a Culture oasis- people will notice




Resources: the following include the resources I alluded to in this episode.

  3. Courageous Cultures: How to build teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem solvers and customer advocates by Karin Hurt and David Dye available now to pre-order and on Amazon on the 28th of July
  4. Fearless Organisations by Amy Edmondson
  5. Winning Well: A managers guide to getting results without losing your soul by Karin Hurt and David Dye.

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