Keep Leading!® Podcast 069_Strategic Relationships in Crisis _David Nour

Keep Leading!® Podcast 069_Strategic Relationships in Crisis _David Nour

David Nour
Relationship Economics® Advisor, Researcher, Educator, and Executive Coach
Strategic Relationships in Crisis

Episode Summary
David Nour, The World’s Foremost Authority on Relationship Economics® He is the author of ten books, including best-sellers Relationship Economics®, Co-Create, and the forthcoming Curve Benders. He is one of the Top 30 Leadership Professionals on the Global Gurus list and is featured The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Fast Company, and others.

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Bio
A senior leadership/board advisor, researcher, executive educator, and best-selling author, David Nour is internationally recognized as the leading expert on applications of strategic relationships in profitable growth, sustained innovation, and lasting change. The author of ten books, including best-sellers Relationship Economics® (Wiley), and Co-Create (St. Martin’s Press), as well as the forthcoming Curve Benders, Nour serves as a trusted advisor to global clients and coaches corporate leaders.

He is an adjunct professor at the Goizueta Business School at Emory University and Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management, was named to the Global Gurus Top 30 Leadership Professionals list and is honored to be one of Marshall Goldsmith’s 100 Global Coaches. A Forbes Leadership contributor on the Future of Work, Nour’s unique insights have been featured in a variety of prominent publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Fast Company, Huffington Post Business, Entrepreneur, and Knowledge@Wharton.

Born in Iran, Nour immigrated to the U.S. as a teenager with $100, limited family ties, and no fluency in English. He graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelor’s degree in business management and went on to earn an Executive MBA from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. He resides in Atlanta, GA, with his family. Learn more at www.NourGroup.com.

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Leadership Quote
Throw away your stopwatch and get a compass!

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Transcript

The key to sustainable leadership lies in the ability to thrive during uncertainty, ambiguity, and change. Grand Heron International brings you the Coaching Assistance Program, giving your employees on-demand coaching to manage through a challenging situation and arrive at a solution. Visit GrandHeronInternational.Ca/Podcast to learn more.

This podcast is part of the C Suite Radio Network, turning the volume up on business.

Welcome to the Keep Leading!® Podcast, the podcast dedicated to promoting leadership development and sharing leadership insights. Here’s your host, The Leadership Excelerator®, Eddie Turner.

Eddie Turner:
Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Keep Leading LIVE. Just as with the Keep Leading!® Podcast, the Keep Leading LIVE stream on YouTube and Facebook is dedicated to leadership development and leadership insights. I’m your host, Eddie Turner, The Leadership Excelerator®. I work with leaders to accelerate performance and drive impact through the power of executive and leadership coaching, facilitation, and professional speaking.

As a leader, how much attention do you give to building relationships? Some leaders spend a lot of time focusing on the technical aspects of their work but according to my guest today, they need to spend just as much time on relationships. My guest today has pioneered the phenomenon that relationships are the greatest off-balance-sheet asset any organization possesses. Today, we’re going to discuss the importance of strategic relationships, especially in this time of crisis.

My guest today, you see him there, you can tell he’s a podcaster because he’s got the setup. My guest today is David Nour. David Nour is the world’s foremost authority on Relationship Economics. He’s the author of 10 books including bestsellers Relationship Economics, Cocreate, and the forthcoming Curve Benders. David was named to the Global Gurus’ Top 30 Leadership Professionals list and is one of Marshall Goldsmith’s 100 Global Coaches. He’s a Forbes leadership contributor of the Future of Work. His insights have been featured in a variety of prominent publications. You’ll see David’s work in The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Fast Company, Huffington Post, Business, Entrepreneur, and Knowledge at Wharton. For these reasons and many more, I am super excited to have my friend David Nour.

David, welcome to Keep Leading LIVE.

David Nour:
Eddie Turner, always good to be with you, my friend.
Eddie Turner:
And I understand that friends call you Nour.
David Nour:
A lot easier and easy to remember. We all know way too many Davids. So, Nour just kind of rolls off the tongue and it’s just easier to remember.
Eddie Turner:
Yes, you corrected me on that but everything in your bio and everything in the public writing said David. So, I said David but I’ll call you Nour for the rest of the episode.
David Nour:
Perfect.
Eddie Turner:
So, strategic relationships in crisis is our topic. We’ve got a few folks that have joined us. And so, we want to say welcome to those who have indeed joined us already. And if you are joining us for the first time or you’re returning, please go ahead and say hello. Let us know who you are, that you’re out there. Let us know where you’re joining us from. Put a question in the comment box if you’d like. And we will take your comments throughout the session. And if you are not already following David Nour, he is an impressive man, definitely follow him and connect with him on social media.

All right. So, tell people a little bit about if you remember, Nour, this very special day that occurred not long ago. If you’d give me just a moment, I’d love for you to talk about this.

David Nour:
Yeah, be careful who you take pictures with. That’s fabulous. What a great gathering. Marshall obviously had us together in San Diego way back in January of 2020 when many of us traveled extensively for work. And I met this larger-than-life character with a voice that was not given talent and capability for radio and these live events and podcasts, Eddie Turner, who wanted a picture of us. And, of course, we’re getting photo bombed by somebody in the background. So, that was fabulous.
Eddie Turner:
That is the amazing Marcus Adler CEO of W Max.
David Nour:
Right. There you go.
Eddie Turner:
Yeah, that was the day. So, I wanted to show that. The good-looking Nour took a picture with me. And we can’t stand that close together anymore now these days, right? So, for a lot of reasons, that day was really significant. It was the very first gathering of the Marshall Goldsmith’s 100 Coaches, the very first annual meeting. So, I just had to share that with our audience and let everybody know what a great day that was.
David Nour:
Fabulous. It really was a great couple of days and great to see a lot of friends and make a lot of new ones.
Eddie Turner:
Indeed, indeed. So, let’s talk about, if you will, this idea about Relationship Economics. You are the world’s foremost authority on this. So, share with my listeners, please, what that is.
David Nour:
Sure. So, Eddie, as you may recall our conversation, I’m convinced part of it is nature, kind of where I was born and how I was raised, and the equally valuable part is nurture. So, for your audience who may not know as much for my background, I’m originally from Iran, came to the US in 1981 with a suitcase, a hundred bucks, didn’t know anybody, didn’t speak a word of English. And I rode in relationship economics that I didn’t get a den but I certainly get it now that my dad walking me through bazaars of Iran at a very young age wasn’t just about a checklist of errands we had to run or things mom needed for the house. Dad also had a relationship list and it was a fantastic opportunity to go around and really visit with relationships he deemed particularly valuable to our lives at that moment.

Fast forward now a whole bunch of years and having lived and worked extensively abroad, Eddie, it dawned on me that the rest of the world builds relationships first from which they do business. Unfortunately, as Americans or many Western cultures and Western business climates in particular, we’re so focused in the business part, that if and only if the business part works, then we’ll think about investing in the relationship, then we’ll think about really engaging on a more human one-on-one level. And I learned years ago there will always be a competitor with deeper pockets, there will always be a competitor with a better product or better service, there will always be somebody who’s going to want to sell it cheaper than I do but nobody’s going to out hustle me, nobody’s going to outwork me, and nobody’s going to build deep and wide relationships like I would.

So, when I left the corporate world and my career’s been in several different phases, I’m actually 95 years old, you may not recognize that, I look fabulous for 95, but throughout my career, I was always very intentional about the relationships I chose to invest in. And as I left the corporate world and decided to go on my own, which is now something I coach people that I work with, I went on a listening tour and I asked 35 executives that I like, respect, trust, I said “What do you believe I do exceptionally well?” And they said “You network,” in their words, “better than anybody else we’ve ever met. If you can teach other people how to do that, you’ll succeed.” So, for the last two decades, that’s been my life’s work in both understanding but also capturing in books and workshops and speeches, disseminating this idea that relationships are more than just the soft skill. Relationships are more than just a nice to have. they can be quantified. They should be intentional. They must be strategic. And I would submit, there are an individual’s biggest asset. Beyond your educational foundation, beyond your professional pedigree, the quality, the diversity and really the depth of the relationships you build as evident by now the fact that we can’t see each other in person, become a very sustainable differentiator.

Eddie Turner:
Indeed. I like how you explain that, Nour, and the idea that we must be intentional and strategic about building these relationships and not leaving them to happenstance. And you said you had learned this from your dad back home.
David Nour:
Absolutely. So, dad was the natural part, right? So, dad again had a relationship list and we made sure those Friday bazaars we went and saw whether it was access to a plumber we needed at the house or an influential politician, dad was very intentional about those individuals. Again, beyond my education, beyond early careers and early jobs, you also see that in work. So, I think most of the audience would agree the best jobs, the promotions, the best accounts, the opportunities seldom come from just our performance. They often come from our relationships. They often come from relationships you invest in. Eddie, that’s one thing.

The other thing that I think will be really useful for your audience to hear is sociologists tell us that an average individual can proactively manage about 100 to 150 relationships. Million-dollar question for most of us is which ones, right? And how do you know? If you can’t invest in everybody equally, how do you then prioritize which relationships you’re going to invest in. So, unfortunately, again, a lot of people think of sales people who only talk to people that are prospects or project professionals who only talk about people that are in immediate projects or startups that only talk to their immediate people that would be potential investors. You’re leaving a much broader swath of incredible relationships kind of unnurtured because you don’t think they’re immediately relevant.

Eddie Turner:
And what makes people believe that they’re not immediately relevant, Nour?
David Nour:
It’s that immediate transaction in front of them, right? So, Eddie, I’ve got to close a sale. So, the only people I’m going to talk to are the people that are my immediate prospects. Well, what about those other relationships that either may not be immediate prospects but there could be referral sources, there could be much bigger opportunities mid or longer term? And if you’re not nurturing those, I jokingly tell people, somebody else is dating your girlfriend. Somebody else is nurturing those relationships that are in your blind spots but because you’re so transactionally focused, you don’t tend to spend a lot of attention, you don’t spend a lot of focus on this.
Eddie Turner:
And what’s the reaction when you use that illustration with people?
David Nour:
It’s typically a chuckle, they get the sense and then a bit of concern sets in of “Oh my gosh! What relationships am I leaving neglected?”
Eddie Turner:
No, it’s a good illustration. That’s why I asked. It’s funny but it’s so true. It’s very apropos.
David Nour:
Right? And think of end of the year, right? We’re always excited about relationships that are all around us. Very few people really think about on a consistent basis “What relationships am I neglecting? Which ones are critical to my personal and professional growth? Which ones are critical to my success?” That is not lack of intention. It’s not lack of interest. It’s really bridging that intention to action, right? So, having a systematic disciplined process that says “I’m going to touch base. I’m going to touch base on a regular basis. I’m going to add value in every interaction and I’m going to make sure I’m on top of mind.”
Eddie Turner:
Well said. Well said, indeed. And it looks like you have at least one person here that agrees with what you said there, which I think you said really well. Let’s look at Lauren Sanders. She says that’s where she got hers as well, from her dad. So, she agrees with what you said. Thank you for chiming in, Lauren, letting us know that she is listening is what she says there. So, thank you for listening and thank you for chiming in with what David said, Lauren.

David Lawhorn, thank you for listening and chiming in and saying “Eddie is phenomenal.” Thank you.

Darrell Chandler. Darrell Chandler, that’s somebody, if I’m not mistaken I, grew up with at grade school. So, Darrell, thank you for tuning in. We haven’t talked in at least 30 years.

Excellent. And one last comment. Looks like we got here and we appreciate Mary Ann. Always so supportive. Thank you for tuning in Mary Ann.

Please, ladies and gentlemen, don’t forget to say hello and tell us where you’re from. Love to hear what you think about David and what he is saying. Follow David online. And what we’re going to do here is just do a brief insert for the audio version of this that will be coming out in about a month when we’ll have more with David Nour right after this.

This podcast is sponsored by Eddie Turner LLC. Organizations who need to accelerate the development of their leaders call Eddie Turner, The Leadership Excelerator®. Eddie works with leaders to accelerate performance and drive impact. Call Eddie Turner to help your leaders one on one as their coach or to inspire them as a group through the power of facilitation or a keynote address. Visit EddieTurnerLLC.com to learn more.

Hi. This is Sally Helgesen. I am an author and leadership coach and you’re listening to the Keep Leading!® Podcast with Eddie Turner.

Eddie Turner:
We’re back and my guest today is David Nour. He is an impressive gentleman. You will find his information everywhere. Open up the Wall Street Journal, open up Forbes, he is there. He’s one of the world’s top gurus. According to a Global Gurus, he’s in the top 30. And he’s the world’s foremost Relationship Economics expert.
David Nour:
Very kind.
Eddie Turner:
So, just to get a little bit more information from you on that, Nour, I want to understand about where we are in the stream of time, there’s a lot of people talking about where will we be when we come out of the crisis that we’re facing. And someone said something very brilliant the other day and that was innovation is one of the things that we see emerge from a crisis, new products, new services. And so, when we’re thinking about Relationship Economics, what role do they play with innovation?
David Nour:
Yeah, I would submit that your relationship, as you said earlier, are your biggest asset. And, and Eddie, if you think about it, and you and I are involved in Marshall’s community and we get on daily calls and different experts come by or different people jump in with their unique perspectives, so, one, a diverse portfolio of relationships right now would help you see the same set of challenges from very different lenses, different perspectives. So, again, based on geography, based on your role, based on your industry, getting different points of view dramatically tightens the aperture, tightens the lens in which we see scenarios through. That’s number one.

Number two, I’ve always believed relationships can become phenomenal, what I call, faint market signal scouts.

Eddie Turner:
Faint market signal scouts.
David Nour:
Right. So, you talked to Lauren and she says “That’s interesting. Here’s something I’m seeing.” If Lauren is the only person that mentions it to you, you think that might be an anomaly? Then you talked to David and Darrell and Eddie and Mary Ann, very different walks of life and you hear maybe not exactly the same thing but you hear similar iterations of it. Now, that can’t be a coincidence. Now, what you’re doing is you’re getting these faint market signals from a very broad base of relationships. And, Eddie, that should be the opening funnel to innovation opportunities for you because now they’re seeing there’s a need, now you’re seeing a broad-based need, now your relationships may have a potential solution or certainly potential approach to solving that problem. So, your relationships become not only a radar to identify needs but also potential opportunities to fill those needs.

And, again, there’s also a reason, third point, in terms of innovation and relationships. There’s a reason restaurants do, or used to, when we used to go to restaurants, they would do this soft opening, right? In a soft opening, they typically invite family and friends and if we’re going to burn something on the menu or if it’s going to be late or it’s going to be “Let’s do that with friendly fire” versus the food critic from New York Times right, right? So, relationships are also phenomenal opportunities for us to test our ideas. I coach a lot of executives in terms of creating a portfolio approach to their innovation, specifically their business models. And your relationships become fantastic testing grounds for “Eddie, here’s a new service,” “here’s a new product,” “here’s a new approach to doing something. Since you and I are friends, since you and I have a relationship, what do you think?” And the beautiful part about that scenario is it doesn’t have to be perfect, doesn’t have to be completely built, doesn’t have to have a bow on it. Relationships forgive those kinds of things, particularly if there are also friends because you can present that product or service and say “Here’s what I’m thinking. What do you think?” And they often dramatically improve, help us shape and improve the final product that we come up with.

Eddie Turner:
Absolutely. Very well said. And going back to something you said earlier, I want to add the relationships that we’ve been able to build, it’s a part of the Marshall Goldsmith’s 100 Coaches family. So, I get a chance to listen to great people like you every morning and that’s one of the reasons I invited you on the show. I love your insights and what you bring to the organization. I’m the new kid on the block. So, I’m just going to soak it all in but you’re one of the originals. And so, definitely love what you do there.
David Nour:
Very kind. And, listen, I think we all learn. Marshall’s driven into us, and I think my dad said something similar years ago, if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. And I think we all show up on those calls and we’re humbled by former secretaries in presidential administrations and biopharma CEOs and president of European companies and just the caliber of the folks that show up on those calls. And that’s a testament to not just you and me and Marshall but I think everybody has that ecosystem, has relationships they can all learn from. Unfortunately, you don’t see them really build that community and leverage that community for opportunities to learn and grow.
Eddie Turner:
Indeed. And it’s easy to start to take something like that for granted and not nurture it or just be one of as opposed to what you’re teaching us and this idea of developing those relationships, nurturing them and being very intentional about them.
David Nour:
Absolutely. And, again, you and I, we’ve learned and I’m a big believer of just like a brand, just like your reputation, just like credibility, the relationships are a soft asset that unfortunately we don’t recognize, invest in, protect, develop, market as proactively as we could.
Eddie Turner:
And speaking of branding, I love what you’ve done with this concept of Relationship Economics. You’ve branded it. You own that phrase. That is your phrase. And you’ve put together a nice ecosystem of related words that tie into your framework. I like your ROI. In fact, I’m going to show just a couple of these and you can probably tell our audience a little bit about this because you’ve written books on each one of these. So, talk a little bit about your branding and how that has built into this relationship concept.
David Nour:
Sure. So, as I mentioned earlier, as I went out to my relationship ecosystem and I said “Tell me what do you believe I do well?”, they said “Networking. Eddie, I’ve always cringed at this idea of networking because a), it’s number one, one letter away from not working and number two, it’s incredibly transactional, right?” And there’s a lot of material out there about how to get business cards and give business cards and “work a room” and, candidly, it makes most people cringe and because it really comes across as inauthentic, right? It comes across as agenda driven or manipulative in some ways.

So, a) get away from networking. So, I talk a lot about building and sustaining really value-based relationships. And in that process, as I went out there and listened to a lot of folks, read a lot of information, interacted with a lot of different people, I started to use this term ‘Relationship Currency’. So, with every one of these, and you’re right, what I’ve done well is I’ve codified and people are kind enough to read my material and say …

Eddie Turner:
Yes, and I’m showing this to people now on the screen for those who are tuned in with us live. You’ll see David’s books and what he’s done in terms of this deep knowledge.
David Nour:
And people said “You’ve codified, you’ve given terminology to what I understood but I could never put words around it.” So, Relationship Currency is like cash. It has immediate value. You exchange that currency. You do a favor for somebody, they’ll reciprocate. That’s an exchange of Relationship Currency. Over time, you build your Reputation Capital like your home, it has relative value and you can have a beautiful home but if it’s in a bad or tough neighborhood, you’re going to have a hard time selling that home, right? So, the reputation heavily comes from not just what you do but others you associate with. And then over time, you develop what we call your Professional Net Worth. You have professional assets. You have professional relationship liabilities. You ideally want the assets to be greater than the liabilities. So, the people you hire, the people that carry your business card, the people that you call your colleagues, your customers, your partners, all, believe it or not, are contributing to that Relationship Asset. So, I carried those ideas under the umbrella of Relation Economics. And then from there somebody asked me “Well, is there a return? You talk about relationships being an investment. Is there a return on that?” So, I started thinking about return on your relationships and return on the impact you make with your relationships. That became a subsequent book.

You always hear about some people who are better connectors than others. So, with Dr. David Rybak and Jim Cathcart, we wrote connectability and there were eight attributes that people that connect much more effectively and impactfully leverage those. In the Entrepreneur’s Guide to Raising Capital, I wrote about the fundamental difference between smart capital which is relationship centric and dumb capital, people who just write you a check. So, every one of my work over the years have all been not just identifying that relationships are important but really helping my audience bridge that importance to their significance with applications of relationships.

Eddie Turner:
Bridging their importance to their significance. I like that.

I also like what you’ve said. I never thought about like this, Nour, that networking is one word away from not working.

David Nour:
One letter, absolutely.
Eddie Turner:
One letter, sorry, yes.
David Nour:
And I have met people who, again, with all good intentions go to a lot of lunch meetings and coffee meetings and yet they have nothing to show for it. And, again, those are the same transactional mindsets that in the midst of this crisis when we physically can’t meet, they’re in trouble because all they ever did was kind of have those touch points but they didn’t really follow through which is a process, not just follow up which is a transaction.
Eddie Turner:
Follow through which is a process versus follow up which is a transaction.
David Nour:
Absolutely.
Eddie Turner:
Very key to remember.

And Jordan Thomas has joined us. He says “Hi David. Hi Eddie.” And he said he’s never thought of that until now as well. So, also someone else who you are resonating with. Jordan is a big supporter of the Keep Leading LIVE stream and the Keep Leading!® Podcast

David Nour:
Delighted, Jordan. Glad you’re here. And for rest of our audience, I’d welcome more of your comments and questions as well.
Eddie Turner:
Let’s talk about the future of work. A lot of folks are thinking about where we will be on the other side of the COVID-19 crisis. And your work around this topic really seems to lend itself nicely to the future of work. What’s your thought on this?
David Nour:
Sure. Again, for the last 20 years, my life’s work has been on applications of strategic relationships to different facets of business, right? In Relationship Economics, I really set the stage and I explained why they’re important and how to be more, again, intentional, strategic and quantifiable. In and Cocreate, I talked about applications of relationships to innovation, innovating products, services, and business models. Curve Benders is really my Star Wars trilogy and it’s the next book really at the nexus of future of work and this idea of strategic relationships.

Eddie, full disclosure, I’m 52. I’ve been thinking a lot about the next realistically 20 years, right? So, in the next 20 years, if I want to continue stay active in business, what will that work look like? And I think we’re seeing a lot of those examples in the midst of this COVID-19 where our professional roles and our personal obligations are blurring. So, we’re going from work-life balance to work-life blending. And it’s one example. So, COVID-19 is an example of a black swan event, things that we know are possible, we don’t often think they’re probable and we certainly can’t predict when they’re going to happen. So, we knew what a pandemic was. Just no one expected this market or this lab in China would shut down the global economy, right? So, we’ve identified 15 forces through our research that we believe will dramatically impact the way we work, the way we live, the way we play, and the way we give. Those forces like geopolitics, like various economies, like volatility, those will all impact those facets of our lives. To remain relevant, we all have to continue to learn and grow personally and professionally. That growth curve, for most of us, is a very linear curve. And I’m going to take you and your audience back to algebra in high school, right? A linear curve has just got a simple slope of rising numbers. So, it was it was a linear curve for most of us, right? We learn, we grow. My supposition is that certain relationships come into our lives who dramatically begin to shift that curve, fundamentally changing, profoundly changing both our direction and destination.

So, million-dollar question. Who are these curve benders, right? Where are they? How do we meet them? Much more importantly, how do you become one? How do change someone else’s life in many ways like Marshall is doing for us, right? Not just what we’re able to accomplish but, Eddie, who we become. And I called those relationships, again, Curve Benders. By the way, there’s also some negative relationships that may take us in a different direction. I call those fender benders. You want less fender benders in your life and you want more curved benders in your life.

Eddie Turner:
Indeed. And speaking of Curve Benders, tell my audience about where they can learn more about Curve Benders, not just your book but also …
David Nour:
Yeah. So, we have a podcast. As Eddie was kind enough to mention, Curved Benders will be book number eleven. A lot of my contemporaries will write a book and I’ve done it as well and most of us will talk about our books after they come out. I’ve always learned as much about my books after they come out because people will read them and they’ll challenge your assumptions and they’ll ask questions of you and they want to know more. So, with this one, I’ve been researching it for about four years. I have six grad students that are doing social science research for me, I said “Why don’t I get some of these ideas out now before the book comes out and let’s see what resonates. Let’s see what people push back on.” So, I’m elated that between our blog and the podcast, I’m sharing a lot of the insights about the book well in advance. And it’s really helping me shape the key ideas I want to talk about and prioritize.
Eddie Turner:
And I suspect that that is giving you a bit of a more real-time flavor in the book that will resonate with people even more.
David Nour:
Absolutely. So, for any of you audience members who know anything about book publishing, you think of an idea …
Eddie Turner:
And, by the way, Jordan says he’s definitely going to check out your book as does Lauren Sanders.
David Nour:
Thank you. I’II pay Eddie Turner one dollar for every nice person that he introduces me to.

So, for your audience, you think about an idea, you research it, you write the book. Unfortunately, the book publishing world, commercial publishing, Eddie, that book, as you know, doesn’t come out for another 12 to 18 months. So, you got to, in some ways, be a futurist and write about something that is that far ahead. Well, with this idea of future of work, it is very real time. And think about it. If I had written this before COVID-19, I would have had to rewrite a lot of the book about how it’s dramatically changing our lives. Now, I’m living in real time and we’re adapting to this new norm that I actually don’t believe we’re going to go back to the way things were. I think, almost like, unfortunately post 9/11, we’re going to adapt to some new behaviors and new products and services and ways of interacting with one another that will become part of our new norm.

Eddie Turner:
Excellent. Thank you for sharing that.

Lauren Sanders said that you are hilarious. You’re making her laugh and making the interview lively. She’s enjoying the interview.

Thank you for weighing in, Lauren.

I’m enjoying this interview. This is definitely one of my favorites. I can certainly you tell you that, Nour. Tell us, if you would please, the best piece of leadership advice you’ve ever received or a quote that stands out that helps you to keep leading.

David Nour:
Absolutely. So, I’m a big believer of you can never be too old or too young to find mentors or become a mentor. And one of my mentors, Eddie, must have been 15-20 years ago, told me very succinctly to throw away my stopwatch and get a compass.
Eddie Turner:
Throw away your stopwatch and get a compass.
David Nour:
And, as you can imagine, I gave him that deer-in-the-headlight look like “Wait, what?” What he was saying is I’ve always had this incredible bias for action, right? I want to do. I want to go. And with a ton of energy, you want to “Go, go, go, let’s go get things done.” So, his take was it doesn’t matter how fast you do something. That stopwatch. You’re not in there combine, right? You’re not running that 440, right? So, throw away the stopwatch for a second. Pause that need to either be in a hurry or get things done as quickly as possible and get a compass that would give you a stronger direction about where you’re going, how you going to get there, which means take a step back, be more intentional about your planning. None of us could have possibly seen this pandemic again shutting down the global economy. So, although you can’t predict your future, and this is a key idea I talk about in Curve Benders, you can absolutely plan for it. So, what lessons are you learning through this journey? What experiences are highlighting your really strong assets? And, by the way, good economy hides a lot of organizational flaws and leadership shortcomings. So, I think what’s happening now when our economy is taking a bit of a dip, how do we learn from those and really apply them at the very next opportunity.
Eddie Turner:
Thank you. I like that. And I want to share something with you, Nour. All the other comments that I gave you came in from Facebook but I have one that’s come in from YouTube. Arianna asked the question. Can you comment on ways for a young person entering this market to leverage digital connections and networking to get ahead once the markets recover?
David Nour:
So, Arianna, thanks for that question. Let me challenge couple of your assumptions. I’ve had close to 60 conversations with senior executives. Most believe COVID-19 is here to stay for a while. Number two, as I said, less thinking of we’re going to go back to the way things were and more about adapting to new ways. Number three, this has become an incredible impetus for digital to become much more prevalent in all of our lives. So, the single best way I know how to do what you’re asking to do, which is a conversation Eddie and I had months ago about with every relationship, with every contact, you have one of two options. You can either enhance that relationship or you can dilute it. The way I like to enhance every interaction is to add value. So, knowing what you know about your particular area of expertise, so number one, pick a lane, pick a swim lane, right? Really develop your expertise in a particular area so Arianna becomes the go-to person for that particular area because most people are not just saying “Hey, go get me the same guy that does my lawn to become my surgeon,” right? Most of us look for specialists in different parts of our lives. And I often coach people you cannot date everybody. You cannot be everything to everybody. So, if you become really a focused specialist in an area, then you become the go-to person for that particular area of expertise. And if you add value with every interaction, those who get it, those who value it will seek you out, will want more of you, will want more of that which you bring and you start to build relationships based on that value add, not just because Arianna is a really nice person.

I hope that makes sense. I hope that adds value.

Eddie Turner:
Thank you. And Jordan Thomas chimed in again. He said that he is sharing this out so all the people can benefit.

Thank you for doing that.

One final question we will ask you to take. Arianna has another follow-up question. How would you advise companies to structure intentional networking for their new hires?

David Nour:
Arianna, great, great point. I’ve actually sat through several company onboarding programs. So, when you first join, they tell you all about the products, they tell you all about their services – “Here’s a competitive landscape. Here’s everything you’d ever want to know about our industry” – and very little about “Here are the relationships you need to succeed inside your department, inside your function, inside the organization as well as external to it.” And, again, you use networking, I keep saying relationships, that are truly transformational, not just the transaction. So, let me give you some specifics. I’ve always liked a buddy system. So, imagine a new hire almost like an internal mentor program when they first start. What if for the first six months they had somebody to be their relationship mentor, somebody to kind of show them the ropes – “Let me introduce you to Eddie. Let me introduce you to Lauren. Let me introduce you to Jordan. These are the people you need to succeed,” right? Number one.

Number two, what if they created proactive opportunities for different silos to meet others. Imagine how many people we exchange, especially in large organization, we exchange emails with or get on conference calls with and we don’t know anything about them. Arianna, last time I checked, people will prioritize relationships they know and they like and they trust and they respect. So, giving more disparate parts of the organization, chance to get to know other departments and functions and silos will go a long way.

The third one is, as I said earlier, I think our work-life balance amid this COVID-19 is blurring into more like a work-life blending. So, what if organizations gave people an opportunity to get to know each other on a personal level, right? So, some companies are not doing cocktails and questions, happy hours or coffee and questions or other opportunities. Especially since our families are now in our home offices and we’re all working from home, what a great opportunity to meet your spouse and see your kids and get to know that non-work side of you.

Eddie Turner:
Excellent. Thank you, Nour, for taking time to answer these questions. And thank you to Lauren and everybody else, Jordan Thomas and Mary Ann, David Lawhorn, David Chandler. And thank you for everybody who has left a comment for us, have been an active part of this livestream. And we see a bunch of other likes and things like that showing up as well. I don’t see the names on those just yet but thank you all.

Nour, where can people learn more about you and stay connected to you.

David Nour:
Sure. So, the easiest place is our website. NourGroup.com is the best or you can just Google my name David Nour and you’ll find articles, we have a pretty extensive blog, as Eddie was kind of to mention, the Curve Benders podcast is growing its audience. I’m passionate about creating. We’ve got several webinars that are coming up that are all free. So, a great opportunity to learn and grow through our ideas. It’s just our website NourGroup.com.
Eddie Turner:
Outstanding. Well, thank you for sharing that. We’re going to put that in the show notes for the regular episode when it airs in about a month or so. We’ll put this out as a regular audio but everybody can still have access to the video. This is obviously live on YouTube, live on Facebook. It will live there and we’re going to make this available to the folks on LinkedIn.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this conversation, Nour. Thank you so much for being a guest on Keep Leading LIVE.

David Nour:
Eddie, it was great to be with you. Thanks for having me.
Eddie Turner:
And thank you all for listening. That concludes this episode, everyone. I’m Eddie Turner, The Leadership Excelerator®, reminding you leadership is not about your title or your position. Leadership is action. Leadership is activity. It’s not the case of once a leader, always a leader. We must be a leader at our core and allow it to emanate in all we do. So, whatever you’re doing, always keep leading.

Thank you for listening to your host Eddie Turner on the Keep Leading!® Podcast. Please remember to subscribe to the Keep Leading!® Podcast on iTunes or wherever you listen. For more information about Eddie Turner’s work please visit EddieTurnerLLC.com.

Thank you for listening to C Suite Radio, turning the volume up on business.

The Keep Leading!® podcast is for people passionate about leadership. It is dedicated to leadership development and insights. Join your host Eddie Turner, The Leadership Excelerator® as he speaks with accomplished leaders and people of influence across the globe as they share their journey to leadership excellence. Listen as they share leadership strategies, techniques and insights. For more information visit eddieturnerllc.com or follow Eddie Turner on Twitter and Instagram at @eddieturnerjr. Like Eddie Turner LLC on Facebook. Connect with Eddie Turner on LinkedIn.