David’s Leadership Articles

When Karin and I set out to write Courageous Cultures, we obviously had no idea how the world was about to change. It was clear that the nature of work was shifting and that to stay competitive, businesses would need every person to solve problems, contribute productive ideas, and improve life for their customers.

But if the pandemic can remind us of anything, it’s that our future is one we will build together. Our interconnectedness fills the headlines every morning.

There is no decency or sense in honoring one thing, or a few things and then closing the list. The pine tree, the leopard, the Platte River, and ourselves-we are at risk together, or we are on our way to a sustainable world together. We are each other’s destiny.

-Mary Oliver

We are at risk together—or on our way together.

That’s true for your team, but it’s also true beyond your work. With every interaction and every decision, you’re building the future.

And the only way to build a future that will work for everyone is to include every voice.

When we talk about a courageous culture, we mean one in which everyone speaks up to solve problems, improve the customer and employee experience, and consistently contributes their best thinking.

The paradox of a courageous culture is that it requires less courage from individuals. When speaking up is just “what we do,” it doesn’t feel as risky.

But getting there can take quite a bit of courage. Courageous cultures require leaders to get vulnerable, to listen deeply, and to show the courage they’ll ask of their teams.

As you consider the road ahead, we invite you to ask your team the courageous questions that risk genuine answers. Listen deeply to their responses. Dare to look beyond the comfortable answers – you won’t find the future there.

We need your leadership. And we need your team’s wisdom. Because, if it wasn’t clear enough before this: we are each other’s destiny.

You can download a FREE chapter of our new book Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates here.

David Dye helps human-centered leaders resolve workplace ambiguity and chaos, so that they can drive innovation, productivity and revenue without burning out employees. He’s the President of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. He’s the award-winning authors of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and hosts the popular Leadership without Losing Your Soul podcast. David is a former executive and elected official. David and his wife and business partner, Karin Hurt, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.


  1. Madhavi Anantatmula

    Hello David,
    Thank you for another great read!
    Companies have realized the importance of listening to their customers and have build customer centric strategies. But to continue to be successful, leadership should gather courage to actively listen and have an honest, open conversation with their employees if they aren’t already practicing it.

    • Karin Hurt

      Thank you. So true! We are seeing some extraordinary examples of this and it’s making all the difference.

    • David Dye

      Madhavi, I’m so glad to hear this resonated for you. You say it very well – true listening requires courage.

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