EPISODE 3: Cort Dial, author, speaker, leader whisperer
Synthesis is a Root + River hosted webcast featuring nonconformist leaders whose ideas make them — and us — see the world differently.
Our third episode featured the incomparable Cort Dial, who is a heretic, a self-professed oddball, an engineer, an author, speaker, truthteller and leader whisperer. Cort has spent his career safeguarding the lives of working people and taking leaders on a journey to a new level of leadership and transformation. He’s done this all over the world and at the highest — and lowest — levels.
Our discussion was compelling from beginning to end — Emily scribbled plenty of personal “notes to self” based on what Cort shared, which is not unusual with any conversation with Cort.
Cort is the author of Heretics to Heroes: A Memoir on Modern Leadership.
Some of our favorite quotes from Cort in this episode:
“There are all kinds of ways of at looking at things. None of them are necessarily right.” – Cort Dial
“What I learned from those experiences is: we put way too much emphasis when we are looking at performance on systems and behaviors. He didn’t change any of that. He changed the way people related to him as a leader and how they related to each other. . . . But first he had to transform himself.” – Cort Dial
“It’s OK to value someone instrumentally — the value they bring as an instrument as an engineer or whatever — but you also have to value them intrinsically. They are a human being. It’s the leader who gets both of those that I find are the most effective.” – Cort Dial
“Humans are very good at objectifying other human beings. That’s how we get a good war off the ground.” – Cort Dial
“Human beings are sacred beings, even the ones that I can stand. Whenever I walk into a room to work with people and I’ve walked into some rooms they did not want me there and they were upset with me. My first challenge is, how am I going to fall in love with these people and see them as sacred human beings?” – Cort Dial
“The key skill that the most effective leaders who get the performance have isn’t that they are the best at developing systems and controlling people’s behaviors. They are the best at articulating a future that people say, ‘I want to be a part of that, and I want to make it happen and I want it so bad that I am willing to change.'” – Cort Dial