While many have defined what makes good leaders, few have presented an actual process of becoming a good or even great leader. The process of becoming something better requires growth both personally and professionally. As most of us know, transformation for human beings is often difficult. We want to be different, expanded, better, but seem to unconsciously fall back into old familiar patterns. Emerging and even seasoned leaders face the same challenges when it comes to transforming themselves into the best leaders they can be.
There is a second challenge to becoming a great leader which has been virtually invisible. It is the legacy paradigms or models for leadership themselves.
We have, for the most part, defined leadership and management within the legacy top/down, directive model that long ago was made obsolete by a higher-level leadership paradigm, systems-based leadership. Our “game changer” believes that the New Agreements for Leaders & Managers Model is a next evolutionary step in the creation of more skilled and effective managers who create significantly more value in their businesses than traditional management.
As Publisher and Editor-in-Chief this global multimedia platform, I was delighted to have the opportunity to sit down with David Dibble, Founder, and CEO of New Agreements, Inc. to learn more about his extraordinary vision, founded upon a “game-changing” approach to business leadership and management. Sit back and enjoy our “Under The Spotlight” Interview Session below…
We’d like to hear about your professional journey before launching New Agreements.
After graduating from college, at age 24, I took $5000 I’d won playing poker and started a company in an old warehouse. We were probably a couple of hundred thousand dollars short of the capital we needed for this business so did what most new entrepreneurs do; we stretched every dollar to the breaking point. We built our own tables, bought chairs and desks at auction or fixed up other people’s junk. We built a plating line out of trash cans from Sears, which a local paper ran a story on nearly ending the business on the spot. Customers didn’t want their precision plating done in trash cans. Somehow we stayed in business and over a period of years built the business to $10M in sales and 200 employees. I was in my early thirties and had achieved the American Dream. We made ambitious plans to take the company public and raise enough money to build a $100M business. This turned out to be a huge learning experience that nearly put the company out of business. The blessing that comes out of this business disaster for me was that I learned about turning around a crippled business and became a world expert in systems optimization and improving business performance. I believe these learning experiences have made all the difference in me becoming an excellent consultant and trainer. I am able to speak from my experience and there is little in business I haven’t seen and experienced for myself.
Tell us about New Agreements and the inspiration behind it.
In 1980, I had a powerful spiritual experience that significantly expanded my view of life and the world. I became sort of a seeker. I wanted to answer the big questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What’s my higher purpose? How does the universe work? What is life? … I read every book, watched every tape, went to every power spot on the planet, and had a couple of really great teachers in both eastern and western spirituality. In 1990, I met don Miguel Ruiz, author of the worldwide bestseller, The Four Agreements. I became his student and later his friend, spending eight years with him. He “kicked me out” in 1998 after I had the most powerful spiritual experience of my life at the top of the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan, saying it was time for me to teach. While Miguel worked with individuals, I was clear my work was to be in the workplace. My first book, published in 2002, was The New Agreements in the Workplace, followed by The New Agreements in Healthcare in 2006. My latest book, The New Agreements For Leaders (2018), is the culmination of my life’s work.
When did you launch and what’s been your biggest challenge?
Although I have been successful in consulting and training in the workplace since 1990, there was never a “launch.” I’ve done little marketing and new business has come almost exclusively by word of mouth. Three years ago, I had a powerful dream sit me straight up in bed, a loud and clear voice telling me that it was time to take my work into the world in a significant and meaningful way. I was also told that the New Agreements work would make a real difference in the world in solving intractable problems faced by both business and the world. It has taken me more than three years to get to “launch,” which includes a new book, two new online courses, a new website and yes, a marketing plan of sorts.
Any noteworthy surprises or ‘A-ha’ Moments?
Although I want data to understand problems and know what to do to fix problems, I tend to be gullible when dealing with people. If someone tells me something with a little passion behind it, I will believe him/her.
These last three years have been very challenging. I’m a person who is a systems thinker and I like to set up systems so things get done quickly and done right. Getting ready to launch has felt like two steps forward and one back or worse. Although I want data to understand problems and know what to do to fix problems, I tend to be gullible when dealing with people. If someone tells me something with a little passion behind it, I will believe him/her. Because I couldn’t get to launch on my own, my usual MO, I had to bring in people/companies to help me. I seem to need approximately two frustrating failures to find one good ally. The wasted time and money to go through this process multiple times had me wondering if the voice I heard in the dream might have been either a joke God had played on me or I was simply deluded. The ‘A-ha’ was about a year ago when I remembered I was not running the universe nor did I have the qualifications to do so. Everything was happening exactly as it should. Although the setbacks have continued, this realization has made the last year easier for me and the actual launch so much sweeter.
What’s unique about your business?
I believe The New Agreements and 7 Tools comprise a new model for both leadership and management of our businesses. This new model produces more value in our businesses than legacy models. In addition, this model addresses the many “soft” issues faced by organizations, which have no solution in the top/down directive model used by so many businesses.
How would you describe your typical client?
I think a “typical” client will have some of the following traits: Someone who wants to grow and get better in his or her role as a leader or manager. Someone who cares about people. Someone who is not afraid of giving up some control. People new to leadership and management. Having said that, I created the New Agreements and 7 Tools to act to filter out those who are too stuck in the legacy leadership and management paradigms. I guess I’d sum up those who will benefit most from The New Agreements model are good/decent people who care about others and want to grow and be the best they can be in their own right.
Any “lessons learned” during your entrepreneurial journey?
Too many to describe here. Maybe the thing that stands out most for me is that awareness in the moment is the key to life. The pioneers really do get the arrows, at least that’s true in my case.
I’ve been decades and maybe more ahead of my time in a number of areas including leadership, management, quality, spiritual and systems science, and the nature of change. However, not everyone is ready for the types and depth of change embedded in these bodies of knowledge.
Until one learns how to harness this power to change for the better the workplace in a way that doesn’t push people, the arrows will come. This made me realize that The New Agreements and 7 Tools had to employ a “pull” strategy in their implementation. That’s exactly what I did. I remade the model to be a gentle pull where people, regardless of where they are in life and work, can take only what they were ready to take. This took much of the fear and natural resistance to change out of the process. I’d say a pull strategy works best for most of life. I think the universe resists being pushed upon.
What’s the next big thing for you or your Company?
LAUNCH! I envision tens of thousands of people around the world teaching, leading and managing using The New Agreements and 7 Tools. When we reach a tipping point of people using this model, the world will change in profound ways for the better. I hope to be here to see this for myself.
As an entrepreneur, what’s non-negotiable for you?
I won’t play win/lose. That’s an old game that is coming to an end simply because it is not sustainable in the long run. In fact, my sort of mentor Bucky Fuller who is one of the most intelligent and intuitive people who ever graced our planet gave humanity a 50/50 chance of survival playing the win/lose game. In my spiritual journey, it has become clear to me that separation is the most destructive myth embedded in the human mind. The universe works only synergistically. Even entropy has been shown to be synergistic when looked at from a big enough point of view. Why would the human experience or the workplace be any different? It isn’t. Win/lose is ultimately entropy for all of life on life on the planet. Enough said.
What’s been the most important part of your entire business journey?
My spiritual journey and systems thinking. Everything in the physical universe is made of systems and subsystems from the macro to the micro. The mind too is systematic. Now we see that as above, so below. It’s all energy in its different forms. Life is life whether we call it work or home. Systems are systems whether we see them or not. WE are a system. LIFE is a system. Leadership and management are systems. ALL can be optimized to create better outcomes in all areas of life and work. My journey has become the message I am here to deliver to the best of my ability.