Episode 9: Don't Run from the Crucible of Suffering
with Dale Jones

If anyone knows anything about leadership, it’s today’s guest. Dale Jones is the CEO of Diversified Search Group, one of the best executive search firms in the world. Dale shares his story of building resilience and finding purpose from an early age and how even today he continues to confront challenges, both internal and external, in order to keep making the difference he wants to make. Stay with us through the end. His concluding exhortation to listeners is absolutely invaluable.

About our guest

Connect with Dale on LinkedIn
Learn more about Diversified Search Group

Dale E. Jones is one of the world’s top CEO and board leadership consultants. He currently serves as the Washington, D.C.-based CEO of Diversified Search Group, a leading executive search firm that’s been in business for more than 45 years. Jones previously served as Vice Chairman of Heidrick & Struggles (2009 to 2013) and as a Managing Partner (2000 to 2007).

Jones focuses exclusively on finding and attracting CEO and board-level talent for clients seeking authentic leadership — and capacity to lead. He is particularly adept at identifying those with heartfelt desire to serve others combined with “competencies in context” that are often difficult to find. Jones’ client list comprises both brand name companies and niche firms alike, including Fortune 500 companies and major institutions. As CEO of Diversified Search Group (DSG), he has led a strategic growth effort that has more than tripled (3x) revenue (from $30 million to $100 million) while gaining valuable expertise via acquisition of several niche firms.

Dale’s passion to help others fully realize their potential stems from a lifelong commitment to service. A native of Dallas, he grew up as the son of a shoe cobbler/janitor and a teacher. On Saturdays, Dale and his twin brother, Dan, would often go to work with their father and help clean office buildings. This value, and his heritage, would lead Dale to apply and enroll at Morehouse College in Atlanta. Following graduation, he began his career in banking. He later entered the field of executive search and leadership consulting, joining Heidrick & Struggles as managing partner of the Atlanta office (1999-2007).

In 2007, Dale made both a professional and life decision to relocate his family to Washington, D.C., where he worked for Revolution LLC, a venture-backed firm founded by Steve and Jean Case that funded efforts to provide clean drinking water to Africa. In 2009, Dale returned to Heidrick & Struggles where he helped lead the firm’s CEO and board practice in North America. He became CEO of Diversified Search in 2013.

Atypical among industry peers, Dale has been a corporate board member for Hughes Supply, Kohl’s Corp. and Northwestern Mutual Corp. (current) in addition to other not-for-profit roles with Morehouse College (current), The Special Olympics (current) and the Salvation Army’s national advisory board. He’s frequently quoted in the media and contributes regularly as a speaker/instructor at Georgetown University.

Episode transcript

Keith: Hi Everybody, welcome to the Growing as Grown-Ups podcast. Sara, I'm so excited about today. We've got Dale Jones with us who, believe it or not, I have known for 30 years and that makes me feel old. Dale is one of the most remarkable leaders in my circle, just as a human being, and what he's achieved in his career. Morehouse grad, kind of early start into the banking business and quickly, I think, felt like, although I don't know that he would say this perfectly, he wanted to have more of an impact on doing good. And so he went to the Development Office with Morehouse College. He started and ran an organization called Quest, which really changed the face of the city of Atlanta in terms of welcoming the Olympians and their families to the city of Atlanta during the ‘96 games. He really started to establish himself after that in the executive search world with Heidrick and Struggles and became head of the board practice and then left that for a little while to go work with Steve Case to bring water to Africa. Beyond that, went back to Heidrick and Struggles and then got hired on as President and CEO of Diversified Search, where they've gone from the tenth largest company of that kind in the world to number six, and really making a difference during covid. Some of this comes up during the interview. But I think the thing for me and for our listeners on this is that Dale, just because of the influence that he has is really hard to get time with. But I would love everybody to have time with him. And this podcast, I feel like, is one of these podcasts that people could maybe even listen to - they don't need to listen to us, but maybe listen to what Dale has to say 5 or 6 times and still not have it all down. So I'm so excited for people to get to hear this.

Sara: Yeah, Keith, it's such a great conversation and Dale really is such a neat person and an inspiring leader to be around. I think with this being our last episode of 2020, the year that none of us will forget, I think Dale's episode is really timely. And there's a couple of themes that come out through his podcast that I would just encourage our leaders to listen to. And it's him really being set and grounded in who he is and what he wants his life to be about. But then also this call to keep reimagining the future. It's a phrase he says a lot. And as we think about 2020, that this was not the year anybody had imagined. 2021 - who knows what's going to happen? How do we reimagine the future but still stay true to the things that matter most to us? I think that's one of the things that kind of stood out to me that I think our listeners should pay attention to as they hear his talk. So unless you have anything else, let's jump in and hear your conversation with Dale Jones.

Keith: Dale Jones, what a privilege it is for us to have you on the Growing as Grown-Ups podcast. We have been friends for, I mean, the numbers are getting up there now, but I so appreciate you being willing to spend time with our audience.

Dale: Thanks, Keith. It's good to be with you. And yeah, the years have gone by. We've been on the journey for a long time.

Keith: Yeah. Dale, back in the day we met each other in Atlanta. Dale was involved in an organization that I was involved in called the Atlanta Resource Foundation. And then you moved on to Quest and then you were with Heidrick and Struggles for a while. But now, Dale, you're the Chief Executive Officer of the Diversified Search Group. And what an exciting journey that's been. And I just want to say to our listeners, the work that you guys do at Diversified is just so thoughtful in the way you approach executive search and looking for people. So I really appreciate you guys being in the marketplace on that.

Dale Thanks, Keith. We know that oftentimes people get hired for technical competencies, but they get fired for leadership deficiencies. And so we find that if we can create some match between the technical piece and the leadership levels that are desired and valued, then we've got a winning team. But as you well know, historically, it's all been about technical competencies and if it's that only, you know, the organization is doomed for failure.
Keith Oh, my gosh, and we both have seen our fair share of that.

You know, one of the things that we talk about so often and, you know, you've spent time with us down at the Leaders Lyceum. You've had a bunch of the search consultants and managers come down through the program, so you've got some exposure to this. But we talk so often about leadership is so much bigger than our position in the organization and so many of our listeners may not be in an official head of the company sort of leadership role. Many of them are in leadership roles in their organizations, but a lot of the listeners to the podcast don't have that kind of traditional environment. But, you know, one of the things that we kind of base the work that we do on is that we're all leaders somewhere. We're having influence either with our children, our friends, our partners, our spouses or in the community volunteering. And it is so much more than technical competency, right. It's kind of who you are as a person.

Dale: Yes. Yes. And I've had to remind other leaders that if who you are is what you do, then who are you when you cease doing what you do? Because too often we define ourselves by that. And so I think you're right. There are a lot of folks who are leaders out there, but they somehow think that they only have the moral authority if they have a position or title or an office. And the truth is, we all have moral authority. It's just how do we use it and use it to impact others?

Keith: Yeah. Oh, my gosh, what a great statement.

You know, one of the things that we like to get into on this is kind of the people who have grown well and we will have introduced you before this time on the podcast, but you were one of the people that I've had the privilege to be associated with that has grown really well, and I was hoping that you might be willing to share some of your growth journey as you reflect back over the course of your life with the audience. And so, often we start these podcasts with, as you think back at a time in your life that has really signified growth and maybe the challenges that surrounded that and maybe what was the hardest thing for you during that time - is there is there a circumstance or a situation or a time in your life that really comes to mind?

Dale: There are several, and I'll be brief. As you know, I grew up in Dallas, Texas and my dad was a shoe repairman by day and a janitor by night. And my mother developed cancer at the age of 47 and she died leaving three sons and so left my dad as a widower to raise three boys. And that was a defining moment in our lives in terms of loss. But it also reminded us that our dad, who never remarried, was committed to keeping the family together. And so we worked with him on weekends and night as janitors while he was a shoe repairman at day. And it taught us a great life lesson about work ethic and how do we continue to persevere. And also the fact that my dad never felt that he was a victim, even though he lost his young wife and was left to raise three sons. But eventually he became chronically ill while we were in college. And all of a sudden it seemed as though that was another defining moment of the loss of our mother and then the loss of our dad's health, where after college we had to help care for him financially and provide for him during his season of demise. So that's sort of a few years back. But it taught me early on lessons when I look back on it about how brief life can, how uncertain life can be, and that at some point we have to find ways to move forward in spite of the difficulty. And so this whole quality of resilience, I think, was started way back then and has even continued even in more recent years.

Keith: Yeah, Dale, I mean, this is late teens, very early 20s, if you were in college, right. A time where so many people who are not experiencing those kinds of challenges, it's just like life is kind of carrying them along the journey. You know, when you think back, I get the resilience, I get the sort of fleetingness of life. But I mean, do you feel like it made you grow up quicker, more quickly then maybe you had intended initially when you kind of thought about how your life was going to unfold.

Dale: I think it did Keith. It really accelerated our growth in ways, and I say ‘our’ because I have an identical twin brother and an older brother, where it kept us out of trouble because we were just trying to hang on to the grief, but also how are we going to provide for our dad when he became ill, and we are going to continue our journey in college, and how are we going to finance that? And so I think in some ways, you know, perhaps fear and uncertainty kept us out of trouble. But it also, in some ways accelerated our sense of ‘we've got to persevere’ because my dad wouldn't let us drop out of school to take care of him because he said, this is what my life is all about, it's about you guys getting an education, having a better life than I have. And so as I look back on the loss of my mother, the loss of my dad's health, and ultimately his passing on, it thrust us into an area of development and maturity I would say that perhaps we probably would not have had had we not had those difficulties, particularly with our peers who were at our same age.

Keith: Yeah, yeah. You know, we've all heard stories of people who have endured challenges like during that similar stage of life. And they check out, right. And there are multiple ways to check out, but they check out they can't deal with it. But you talked about the maturity, about the growing through that. And it almost sounds like there were some lessons that maybe took place where your dad maybe owned for you in a way. And I don't want to put words in your mouth, so check me if I'm wrong here, but he owned for you the importance of school, the reason that he had spent his life. But what I heard you saying, in a way, is that you had to then own that for yourself as he was no longer in the picture. Is that fair?

Dale: It is fair, because when I think about what my dad endured of losing his wife and having three sons to raise and working two jobs, he could have collapsed right under the weight of that. He could have become bitter or an addict or just angry all the time. And that was not the case. There was a sense of gratitude and commitment to just persevere. So in some ways, he modeled something for us, I think, with his own grief and loss, to continue to push forward in spite of circumstances. So when I think about it now, I look and see perhaps he was the exemplar in some ways for what we perhaps inherited, even as we experienced loss later on in life in different kinds of ways as adults.

Keith: Did you ever, and I know because we're the same age, reflecting back to that time is quite a stretch at this point. But was there a moment in your 20s where you recognized the way that it had changed you? Where you recognize that it was now, that you were owning some of who you needed to be and, again, I'm asking you to stretch back a big old chunk of time, but was there a moment where you kind of had an awareness that I think I've got a different kind of groundedness in who I am?

Dale: You know, it's interesting, Keith, when I was 20, I went to Africa for the summer, It was a college program at Morehouse and I spent three months in Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia. And when I think about all that I had experience with the loss of mother and chronic illness with dad, and then I was in these countries that literally had nothing where there were thousands of orphans, lots of poverty, no clean drinking water, malaria infested communities. And I'll never forget sort of recalling that I didn't have it so bad, right, that there were people in parts of the world who were experiencing a plight that was far more devastating than what I had experienced. And that caused me to grow up, too, because I came back to the States after that long summer and realized that I was incredibly blessed and gifted to have friends and community and faith to guide me through whatever circumstances I might face at some point in my future. So I would say that that time in Africa in 1981 for three months was very transformative for me, even with all that experience in my own personal journey of loss and in grief and mourning.

Keith: Yeah, yeah. You know, when I reflect back on sort of your resume as an adult. It's been interesting to me that even as you moved into a more corporate setting it seems there's always been a desire or an orientation maybe in your life to make a difference. I mean, you were on the Development Board at Morehouse for a while. The work that you did with Quest Atlanta and the Olympics coming to this city during that time was, check me if I'm wrong, but it was to really organize the diverse faith community of Atlanta around hosting the world. Right. But then when you got into your work with Heidrick and Struggles and with Diversified and as CEO, President and then CEO of Diversified Search, there's always been this push toward character and making a difference. Where do you think that comes from?

Dale: You know, it's interesting, Keith, I mean, some folks might say I'm just confused, right, because I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. But I do feel incredibly blessed and gifted in areas into this whole idea of to whom much is given, much is required. I do feel that I've had a measure of success in business and oftentimes after a nice run there, I feel like I need to go do something that has perhaps a greater sense of purpose or mission around it. And so you seeing if you were to chart my life, I started my career out of Morehouse as a banker, and then I ended up in the not for profit sector with Morehouse and Quest Atlanta and then started the career and executive search world. And then, as you know, I spent some time with Steve Case, the founder of AOL, to do some things around clean water in Africa and then back into the search business. And so I've had these moments where I've had this yearning to say, how do I make a difference in the world, but also how do I make a difference in the work that I've been called to do for the season that I'm in. So I've had these interesting stages where I've been the CEO of Diversified Search Group for the last seven years, and it's been a great run and we've had a wonderful success in business. But I always feel this calling to do something intrinsically that has value around lifting other people up in this whole notion of too much is given, much is required. So I feel like that's been a part of the journey. Some of it's part of my faith. I probably have achieved more than I ever thought I would have. Growing up in Dallas, Texas, the son of a shoe cobbler that I would go from sitting on the bench to sitting in corporate boardrooms is something I never imagined I would be doing. And so I do feel that sense and desire and need to give back out of a sense of purpose and duty in some ways.

Keith: Yeah. So amazing. So what's it look like now? Where do you feel like you're on the journey today?

Dale: Well, this has been an incredible year, right? I mean, this is certainly one of the more historic years in all of our lives when we've experienced covid-19 as a business and then to experience the racial unrest that we've seen in the world today. And as an African-American man, you know, in corporate America, feeling torn with what's seeing what's happened in the world today after we've talked so much progress have been made, but also seeing the fact that covid-19 the communities of color have over indexed in cases and deaths and running a business where I feel responsible for all the employees we have in the 12 cities around the United States, hoping that our business can succeed against the headwinds of life. So this has been an extraordinary, challenging year for me and for all of us as we think about our family, our health, but also our business. And so it has caused me to double down and to draw from faith, but also from experience to say how do I reimagine the future for our business? How do I reimagine the future for my own life in terms of as I guess as I'm getting older here, I tell folks I'm on the back nine, but I'm on the beginning of the back nine, I hope. And so this year has caused me to do some soul searching about my own journey and my own sense of moral authority, not about being the CEO, but how am I going to make a difference in kid’s lives who are adults, but also in marriage and in faith and giving back. So it is a time of great introspection for me as I think about the year we've experienced and hopefully we're coming out of twenty into a better twenty-twenty one for a host of reasons. But it is an interesting sort of inflection point for me as I think about the world and my own journey.

Keith: You know, I think for so many people when they do take the time to reflect, people who are who are growing... The world gets bigger, not smaller, but I know that when stress builds, I mean, the research shows this the temptation is to double down on, "I know the right answer. This is the way we need to do it." Right. I've got my way, my paradigm, my view of the world and how I think it ought to work. And, boy, in all those points of tension that you mentioned, do you see yourself ever wanting to go that direction or do you really work intentionally or do you notice yourself doing it that that you start to see a bigger. Maybe a bigger, higher level perspective in some ways?

Dale: I think what's helped me is having a team of people around me because when it hit and the markets were down and people were not hiring, the tendency was for me to put my head down and say, let me just kind of keep slogging through. And I did some of that. But the team around me also said, what could we be doing differently? You know, that that the fact that we can't get on airplanes and go interview people, we need to move into a Zoom world. And I did no Zoom calls or FaceTime calls at all pre-covid. I hated Zoom. And I thought that that there was no way to really calibrate people and talent this way. So we had to reimagine our business. We had to innovate around technology. And it was also our colleagues that said, look, there are opportunities of growth still happening in some sectors. We just have to get market share because people were still hiring and making decisions and we had to go where the puck was going. For example, we have a life science practice in biotech biopharma which continued to sort of grow during these times. We've got a logistics procurement supply chain practice. You know, that business is growing tremendously. So we have a board of directors practice where people are looking for people of color and leaders of women and people of color on corporate boards. And that has grown. So we've been able to grow our business in spite of the downturn for a variety of reasons. So I would say the tendency was for me to sort of head down, bunker down but the team of people, I think collaboratively have helped us think differently about our business and how we could be in it together and be more creative and reimagine the future even for our business.

Keith: Yeah, it's so good. I mean, you know, arresting growth, arresting our development is staying in the same like lens space, right, seeing the world the same way we saw it previously and as little as minor as it sounds to say, I just didn't believe that Zoom was a viable option for assessing character and competency is a lens. It's a perspective. It's a way of understanding the world that when the challenge came, it the challenge then became unavoidable. Right. But if you would have doubled down. Right. If you would have just said, no, we can't do this, you would have missed maybe opportunities that that that you've realized because you've thought about how can we get creative in this environment? And everybody's got a version of that.
Dale: Yeah, that's right. That's right. Also the other thing, too, is it became easier to access people during this time, during the time when people were home, they weren't on airplanes. They weren't out of town on long vacations. And so I spent more time with Fortune 50 CEOs than I have in my in my lifetime, over the year of some of them having questions, wanting to talk, needed input. But the technology enabled us to connect with people who had more time available because they weren't across the pond someplace, you know, on a different time zone, for example.
Keith: Yeah, it's so good. Hey, I don't know if you can speak to this. I don't even know if you want to speak to this, Dale. But do you know how you tend to hold yourself in place? What's the hardest thing for you when it comes to growth? Is that anything you can give words to? And if you want to totally bail on this question will just cut it out of the middle of the interview.

Dale: Well, unpack that. What do you mean when you say that? Unpack that question for me.

Keith: Yeah, I mean, we all have ways of sort of it's usually more self-protective, usually more based in how we think things ought to work. You know, early on in our lives, a lot of times that is pleasing or trying to live into some of the expectations of some outside source. But as people who have continued to grow become self-authored as we talk about it, really know what they're about, This move toward level five, this move toward loosening our grip on our paradigm, how we think the world ought to be, if that makes sense.

Dale: Yeah.

Keith: That we in so many ways become our biggest obstacle to growth. You know, when you came through our program in the book, when we've talked about it. It's people who stop growing at our stage of life who have grown well up until this point but stop growing, tend to become cranky old people, or they just check out. Right? But it's because they're holding on to this way of being that has worked for them, that's been rewarded, right?

Dale: Yes. So here's my answer to that. Normally, it's been easy for me to just go along and say, OK, if the majority of folks want to do this, I'll just step back and not create dissent. I found that to get through this period over the last year, I've had to create more dissent and be more of a truth teller than I have been in the past. And it's been freeing to do it. But I would rather not do it. I'd rather not be the dissenting voice on the board or in the room. I was talking to a couple of the other day and I was suggesting something they said, but they said, well, we've got such a great culture. I said, you've got to you have a good culture, but you could have a better culture. You keep holding on to the you guys have said about five times, we've got such a good culture. And I'm saying you probably do, but could it be better if you did this? And so normally I would just let people hang on that topic. I had someone make a decision about something and I had to tell them what you did was not right. And this is how it made me feel. And I feel like, you know, you should you know, in order for us to make this work, you ought to think about a different path to the one you've just taken with me on this. And so I normally want to avoid the confrontation. But I have found I've had to lean more in this year, given a variety of issues we've had to sort of think through as a business and as a culture. And so that's been a growth for me in twenty for sure. It's having to lean in more and be more of the dissenting voice about some things that I feel pretty strongly about.

Keith: Yeah. What's most important to you about leaning in to that, Being the dissenting or the or the conflict, sort of, you know, not shying away from that, or if you prefer to answer the question this way, what's been the what's been the outcome of being that voice?

Dale: Well, I think the outcome for me has been I've proven my value by sitting in the room and giving voice to that, which I think is very important, as opposed to just being a yes person to folks in the room, because I think in the end, people really want me to lean in and to communicate my voice of truth about the issues that that need to be spoken. So it's been freeing for me that I've been honest with myself about how I really feel about a situation or circumstance. But I also think in the end, people value whether they want to hear it or not, that I've been honest with them about the point of view that I needed to share at that point in time.

Keith: Do you feel like it? You know, elevates. Does that when you when you think about the byproduct, when you think about the outcome for the group. Is there ever a time that you do that, but that it doesn't take it to a different level, that it doesn't elevate the conversation, the outcome, the effectiveness, the whatever the measure is, it doesn't it almost doesn't matter. And all this is such a great answer, and you and I just happened to have an identical personality on one of the measures, and I know ease in relationships, just having things go kind of smoothly is it is a place that we love to be in. Right. So deciding you're going to be that voice, deciding you need to be that voice. Oftentimes, I mean, I can think of situations in my life right now that I know I need to lean in to the dis-ease, but I don't want to. But I know or at least I believe that if I will, it's going to elevate us to a different place. It's going to we're not just dissenting to play the devil's advocate, right?

Dale: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I think what's happening for me is the older I become, the more bolder I become. And that's helped a little bit. But I also find that I'm in a season where I want to go from just being a doer to just doing to being and how can being be more of a truth teller, regardless of where the chips may lie at the end of the day. It's you know, it's not about being fired or having my bonus cut, you know, or. Oh well where would I go tomorrow if they disagree with me? I think there is some freedom as we get older, perhaps in speaking truth, perhaps more freedom as we get wiser and in saying what needs to be said and also having no regrets. Can we say something or do something in a way so that we don't look back and have regrets for not having said or done what we thought we needed to do in the moment to make a difference?

Keith: Oh, Dale, that is just it's so good. And it's floods of thoughts are coming into my head as you talk about. You know, this kind of self-protective nature that we have and isn't it funny that when we in real time don't lean in in the way that we know that we should. It's because it's because we're protecting ourself. But really that leads to regret down the road when we know we should have and in a way that is not self-protective, that's putting ourselves at risk to be in a place that we don't want to be in later on just so brilliantly. Thank you.

Dale: Well, you know, we also know the iconic civil rights leader, John Lewis, who died this year. I was just fascinated by reviewing his journey and the whole notion of good trouble. Right, that here's someone who says his parents said, "stay out of trouble", but he got into what was called good trouble. And how do those kinds of opportunities come for each of us all the time to be courageous and to speak boldly, whether it be in the boardroom or at home or in civic or church or synagogue to speak truth about issues that that matter that matter the most.

Keith: Dale, I know you have influence with, there's a number of people that in your organization that are further along the journey, but you also have influence with a lot of people that are really at that sort of really developmental part of their careers. And a lot of our listeners are kind of in their 30s and maybe early 40s. They're there in that part of their career where there is so much opportunity for growth still. What advice do you have for folks like when you think about the advice that you like to give younger people, people who are earlier on the journey as they're trying to move in more of a level for self-author groundedness making the difference they want to make. You have any advice for those folks?

Dale: A couple of things. Keith, I would say one is don't run from the crucible of suffering and difficulty. Lean into it and listen for what you need to hear and the lessons you need to learn in order to grow to get to the next place. I think those are important. It's important for us to learn what we need to learn in the crucible of suffering or disappointment, but also we lean into it enough, know that it can lead us to re-imagine the future because, you know, when we have loss or disappointment, we have to re-imagine a different future because it's not what we had anticipated, because it's gone. or the expectation has been lost. But re-imagining the future can also lead to creativity and innovation about what needs to happen next in one's life. You know, my firm at the time did the search that that replaced Steve Jobs after he was kicked out of Apple. And we did a search to replace the guy who came in and he didn't do very well. And Steve Jobs came back and, you know, the rest is history and resumed his rightful place. But to but to say that failure is not final and that in the crucible of suffering and disappointment and tragedy or just being in situations that stretch you lean into that and find out what you can learn and allow it to help you re-imagine a future that you had not anticipated. None of us want tragedy, death, disappointment, divorce, sickness. But even if you don't have those, how do you allow yourself to be in situations that will stretch you to go to places and do things that you thought you could never do? I've seen people take jobs in other parts of the world to learn a new language and culture and come back stronger than ever before because they've allowed those experiences to help shape who they are and take them to another place. So it's leaning in. And to use your term self-authoring, how do we how do we own what we've been dealt and find a way to grow from it? And we imagine a future that looks different than what we just experienced. That could be life giving and energy flowing. And you and I know it will bring these qualities of empathy and humility and resilience that are needed for this life and beyond for sure.

Keith: Oh, my gosh. We may just have to have that last answer just transcribed. And let's mail it out to the entire country. In some way, I mean, enough said, so good, hey, as we draw near the end of our time together, what are you most excited about in your world right now? What's going on that you want to tell folks?

Dale: Well, you know, I just think their seasons of life and, you know, I've been in a season of managing and accumulating and doing. I want to kind of move into a season of being and reflecting and mentoring more. And so I'm not quite sure what the future holds, but I want to sort of begin to find this this this path not to retire, but to reimagine the future for me, as I think about how do I want to give back and the kind of impact I want to have on business and people's lives and our children and our own and my own journey for this next season with my wife and kids.

Keith: How can folks find out about what's going on at Diversified Search? How can they find out about what's going on with you? I don't know if you're like me, but I'm not very social media connected, but I don't know if there's any digits or at symbols or hashtags or anything that you want to give folks.
Dale So I'm on LinkedIn and so folks could find me on LinkedIn. I'm still one of those rare birds that's still on the Facebook world. or just contact me, at

Keith: Excellent, Dale. Hey, thank you for sharing your perspective with this audience and in this format and for taking time out of your busy week and life to just share some of your thoughts with this crowd.

Dale: Well, thank you, Keith. I appreciate the role you've played in my life and the journey we've been on together. So grateful for the friendship and the professional support we've had together. I look forward to getting together and giving you a physical hug sometime soon. That'll work. Thank you!

Keith: Thank you!

Sara: Wow. Keith, what a great conversation Dale really is so wise and so grounded and so inspiring that you're right, if everybody could just have some time with him, we'd be better for it. And I've been able to be around him a handful of times and definitely feel privileged to get to be able to be any part of his life, and I love that and I think it's so clear and he kind of walks through it all the all the different twists and turns in his life, how important this idea of making a difference in the world is to him. Right. This bigger me value of whatever I'm doing, whether I'm working in a bank or working in Africa or working at a search firm, I want to make a difference. And I want to be about lifting other people up. And I think that is so powerful in the fact that he knew that early on that no matter where his life took him, he could be guided by that. And I just think how powerful that is and how I want that for everybody. And that's a big part of what we do and teach people is to really name those bigger me values name the legacy you want to leave and whatever decisions you're facing, let that guide you instead of the feelings or the worries of the moment. And I just thought that was so cool to hear that woven through a story back from taking care of his dad to what he's doing now in this new season he's entering in where he is moving from doing to being like that's just such a cool place for him to be and to share with us.

Keith: You know, Sara, I'm not that I like the podcast to be the podcast. And we'd like people to connect with resources that we have out there.  But I almost feel at the end of this podcast, like it's important to not just encourage people, but maybe implore them. To go to the Web site and just click on that free download for the growth capital tool and the growth capital doesn't get you to a legacy statement perfectly, but it gets you to the bigger me values that are in your life right now. And when you do growth gap tool, the legacy starts to emerge. The core thing that you want to be about emerges. And, you know, not every one of us had the benefit of having a father as wise as Dales' father was. And, you know, part of that, I think, was he understood he was leaving a legacy because he knew he wasn't going to continue to be alive. But then to have that early sort of transformational experience during his college years when he went to Africa and was able to contextualize all this and it started to unfold. But for so many of us, getting to that bigger me value, the growth gap tool is such a good way to start to put words to that. And for me, it almost contextualizes this bigger me that Dale always keeps in front of him, contextualizes all of the amazing pieces of advice and the interview. I don't know your thoughts on that.

Sara: Yeah, I think it's true and again, with this being the last episode of 2020, I think the timing couldn't be better. Because so many times we go into a new year thinking, oh, I want to be healthier, I want to be more connected with my family, all these different kind of resolutions that are connected to our bigger ME value, but may be more like a more tangible version of it, instead of the true value that pushes you towards wanting to be those things, but we don't take the time to figure out why we haven't done that so far. Right. And if we really want to be a leader following in Dale's footsteps or some of these other amazing leaders, we really have to stop and go. What is it that keeps me from doing that? Why haven't I been able to be more of that already? And I love that Dale owned that when he talked about what's going on with him right now, that he's having to learn to be more the voice of dissent, to be the truth teller in situations when otherwise he would just kind of go along with what the majority was saying. And knowing Dale, it was never that he was being dishonest or holding back something critical, but just not really wanting to make waves if they weren't truly necessary. But to hear him say I'm doing it, more people really value it. It's freeing to be able to be myself and to speak truth. And yet he still acknowledges. But I'd still rather not do it right. And I think that's important for us to hear that, that you'll never get to the point that it's just perfectly easy. But you just get to where making a difference matters more to me than any discomfort I feel in saying the hard things. And that's what we want for our listeners. We want people to be able to lean into those difficult situations and know what it is they're working towards, know that bigger value that's worth it, but then be able to say. It's still going to be hard, it's still going to not be what I would prefer to do in those are the reasons why we struggle with New Year's resolutions or any sort of growth that we want is we don't own. Why it's been hard.

Keith: Yeah, that's a hey, folks, that's it. I mean, that is the that is the task, again, at the same encouragement I had prior to the interview. Listen to this thing again. Right. Just listen to it a couple of times and ask yourself questions that demand an inside out answer from you on who you want to be, where you're held in place, begin to gain that insight and have fun with this folks. Have a great holiday season and we wish you the best. And we look forward to seeing you in the new year.