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Last Update: Monday July 13, 2020

Key Idea: Ask Before You Tell

Dr. Keith Grint explains that the best leaders avoid giving lectures and spend their time in a dialog with employees.  This is Sohrab Voussoughi, the founder of Ziba Design, demonstrating what Dr. Grint calls the exchange model.  More...

Key Question:


There are two types of communication: one-way (transmission) and two-way (exchange). If you want someone to undertake a new project for you, you could send an e-mail or a memo to your employee OR you could sit down with your employee, review the project, the employees role, and your expectations of the result.

Which do you think would be more effective? It’s really the difference between talking to someone and talking with them. "Talking with" includes a dialog.

Creativity flows, questions can be asked; points can be expanded upon and clarified. Sure, an e-mail would be quicker. But the value of this exchange greatly exceeds the cost of the time to have it and makes it much more likely that the overall project will be successful.

Think about it

How do you communicate with your employees? Could you take time to ask more questions? Have you ever tried to open every conversation with a question? Do you think you would learn more if you tried this?

Clip from: Leadership with Keith Grint

Truly exchanging ideas is a starting point for leadership.

The World: Meet Prof. Dr. Keith Grint.  In this episode, he explains why we are so frustrated with the leadership who dominate the headlines. He makes it clear that it is time to turn away from the selfish people and look to each other to find the heart of real leadership. 

Dr. Grint says that having a vision is certainly a starting point but that the "vision thing" has been overrated. Anybody can have a dream or a picture of how they want their world or their company to look but very few are good at putting the plans in place then taking action on those plans to turn the vision into reality.

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Ziba Design, Inc.

Sohrab Vossoughi, Founder, CEO

334 NW 11th Street
Portland, OR 97209

Visit our web site:

Office: 503.223.9606

Business Classification:
Design, Invention,

Year Founded: 1991

Ask Before You Tell

HATTIE (In the Studio): Even though Dr. Grint told us he didn't have much to say about communication, what he did say is powerful.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Here, Sohrab Vossoughi, founder of Ziba Design, demonstrating the exchange model.

SOHRAB VOSSOUGHI: One of my golden rules is that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Whatever is good for me should be good for the next person. If you want them to feel like this is their own company, give them what you have. This is really nice, I mean the way it tapers down to, that's nice.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) He is the Elvis of industrial design. Young people all over the world want to work here and when they arrive they are shocked to find this famous man sitting quietly in the corner in the same room with all the other designers. He's always asking and nearly never telling.

NANCY PINNEY: (Voiceover) It's great to have a leader that you can go to and throw these creative ideas off of and really gets it.

DR. GRINT: But the hubris of leadership is basically the issue and what occurs across time, leaders become more and more arrogant. And the problem with arrogance is that people who are arrogant surround themselves with people who don't challenge their arrogance. And it's the absence of a challenge which becomes the problem. And, it's a difficult thing for any of us to encourage people to challenge us. It's not comfortable to be challenged. So unless you're an unusual leader, you tend to surround yourself with people who don't challenge you, and then you get boards of people, boards of directors or whatever who are willing to acquiesce to a leader's decision whether it's good or bad.

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