The Oracle Question - Featured Interview with Dave Logan - My Quest for the Best

The Oracle Question – Featured Interview with Dave Logan

Co-Founder and Senior Partner of Culture Sync, Author New York, NY

In this interview, Dave Logan talks to Bill Ringle on My Quest for the Best about the role of management in business.

Listen to this interview to learn:

  • What’s easy vs. important.
  • What to do if something unexpected comes along. 

Interview Insights

Click to Read the Show Notes

0:59 Dave discusses how he became interested in business, and talks about the role that management plays in business.

1:34 Dave’s father enjoyed his job until management changed, which is what Dave considers the catalyst of interest in working on fixing the “conspiracy toward mediocrity.”

4:10 “Running a company… requires a lot of raw intelligence.”

7:22 “When people are struggling, they do what’s easy rather than do what’s right.”

7:55 Dave talks about an addiction to the status quo, and that often businesses don’t want to rock the boat when they really should be changing with the times.

9:03 Even when it’s uncomfortable, often the best thing for businesses leaders is to get out of the way of others who can do their job better.

10:14 Business leaders must follow their gut and intuition when answering important questions.

10:40 Dave brings up the Oracle Question: “What is likely to happen in the business if nothing unexpected comes along?”

11:05 People act as if their answer to the Oracle Question is the right answer, but depending on their answer, this can negatively impact the business.

11:41 Dave lists the ways in which this sense of superiority can cause a lack of forward movement and growth.

12:21 “Even if they are preaching vision and change and growth… when you actually examine what they do, there’s a default future, the answer to the Oracle Question, that is something other than they are preaching, and they and other people are actively bringing that about. And I think that’s the most important question that business leaders can ever ask.”

12:51 Dave gives an example of a business with which he has worked that was not aware of this questioning process, which led to an undesirable default future.

18:34 “When you actually figure it out and implement it, there’s this wave of enthusiasm and relief and passion and innovation, and every thing that people want ends up happening naturally. You don’t need to bribe people into innovating; they just do it.”

19:34 Dave tells us that there are four things that a business needs to get right, and that there is at least one of the four that need attention: Strategy, Structure, Systems and Processes, and Culture.

20:23 There is an instrument on Dave’s website that can help a business leader find which of the four needs to be reviewed.

21:26 Most of what analysts have written about Culture is dead wrong, and Dave’s book Tribal Leadership discusses how to get it right.

22:14 contains a free download for the audiobook of Tribal Leadership, a free instrument called Fix Your Company, and other instruments that can rate a business’ culture.

22:50 The objective of these free instruments on his website is to help a business leader see what is really going on in one’s company.

23:12 Dave was surprised to learn that very few employees would devote themselves to the company’s values, regardless of the bottom line.

25:20 One of the most widespread problems in management is that many of the management techniques are out of date.

Expert Bio

Dave Logan studies how people communicate within a company — and how to harness our natural gifts to make change within organizations. He looks at emerging patterns of corporate leadership, organizational transformation, generational differences in the workplace, and team building for high-potential managers and executives.

He’s the co-founder and senior partner at CultureSync, a management consulting firm, and works with Fortune 500 companies, governments, and nonprofits. Much of CultureSync’s work is derived from a ten-year study of over 24,000 people published at Tribal Leadership (2008), which shows how organizational culture evolves over time and how leaders can nudge it forward.

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