Curve Benders

Dr. Relly Nadler: Welcome to Leadership Development News, I’m Dr. Relly Nadler. Dr. Cathy Greenberg, my esteemed co-host is here, today. Cathy and I have been doing this now for fourteen years. We have helped thousands of leaders and executives to perform in the top ten percent.

Cathy, why don’t we do a quick little introduction of David Nour, and then we will bring him on? We have a series of questions to pick his brain.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: You bet. So, you know, it looks like David is pretty well known, for a lot of different kinds of work. Curve Benders: How Strategic Relationships Can Power your Nonlinear Growth in the Future of Work, is going to be our topic today.

David is a Senior Leadership Board Advisory, educator, executive coach, and best-selling author. David is internationally recognized as a leading expert on the applications of strategic relationships and profitable growth, sustained innovation, and lasting change.

He is the author of eleven books including bestsellers; Relationship Economics by one of my publishers as well, Wiley, and Co-Create, Pink Martin Press, as well as the forthcoming Curve Benders that will be out this year. Maybe he can tell us a little bit more about when that is going to happen and what is in that book, today.

Nour served as an advisor to global clients and coaches. He is an adjunct professor at the Goizueta Business School at Emory University and was named to the Global Gurus Top 30 Leadership Professionals and the Thinkers 50 Radar Class of 2021.

He’s a Forbes Leadership contributor on the Future of Work, and an Inc. contributor to Relationship Economics. Nour’s unique insights have been featured in a variety of prominent publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Fast Company, Huffington Post Business, Entrepreneur, and Knowledge@Wharton. He’s also the host of a popular podcast called Curve Benders.

Nour was born in Iran and immigrated to the U.S. as a teenager with just $100. He had limited family ties and no fluency in English. He graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelor’s degree in business management and as you can see, he not only went on to earn an Executive MBA from Goizueta Business School, but he is an amazing human being.

He resides in Atlanta. Welcome to the show!

You can learn more about David at

Hi David. Welcome to the show.

David Nour: Hello Cathy. Hello Relly. Good to be with you guys.

Dr. Relly Nadler: We are happy to hear a little bit more about what is a Curve Bender and are you a curve bender? Where does this curve come from and maybe a little bit about how that may tie into your past? You have an incredible past coming to the U.S. without the English language and very little family background. Maybe give us a little background about you and how that may lead into your book.

David Nour: Very kind of you to ask. Yes, as Cathy was kind enough to mention, I am originally from Iran. I came to the U.S. with $100 bucks, a suitcase and didn’t know anybody, and didn’t speak a word of English. I often share that story because over my life there’s been several opportunities to build something from nothing but, Relly, more importantly for those who have traveled or lived abroad or worked abroad, this comment is going to make a lot of sense. The rest of the world builds relationships first from which they do business; I have been in this country now for forty years as an American. For a lot of other Western cultures, if and only if the business part works. Well then think about asking about their family. Asking about their lives. Getting to know them on a personal basis.

I’ve made it my mission for the last, this is year 19 of my practice, to through my writing, my speaking, my education, through my coaching; help people really think about how to be more intentional. How to be more strategic. How to become more quantifiable in the business relationship that they choose to invest in.

As the two of you, particularly with the Emotional Brilliance book, would attest that what we tend to call soft skills, number one, aren’t very soft. Number two, they are a lot more difficult than most people can imagine.

I called my first book Relationship Economics; the most recent one Co-Create, and then one that is actually getting released this week, Curve Benders, as my Star Wars trilogy because they really focus on this idea of relationships. Specifically, business relationships can and should become a dramatically stronger enabler of our personal and professional success.

Curve Benders at their essence, are relationships that have a profound impact on shaping our direction and our destination; where we go and how we get there.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: So, David, to me it’s fascinating to listen to you because coming from the corporate world where I was very well versed in business etiquette as a senior leader in two of the world’s largest consulting firms; Computer Scientist Corporation and Accenture, we always, growing up, come from a culture, right? So, I was always taught that you treat people the way you want to be treated and the value of the relationship comes from the chemistry that you create with that client.

To me, it was always a bit off-putting in our business relationships and in our business etiquette classes, that we would teach to go after the value proposition. And I think you and I are aligned on the importance of that human touch. That point at which two humans connect on a subject that allows them to have the value-based relationship.

Tell a little bit about what is an organization’s value agenda and how is that relevant to one’s own growth journey.

David Nour: Cathy, thank you for asking, and you are exactly right. That chemistry is I would submit, more critical than ever because, again, I think your audience will attest to this. I think everybody has a BS radar. The minute that you are not authentic, the minute you are not genuine, the minute you forget to put that relationship’s best interest at heart and demonstrate it through what you do not just what you say; everybody sees right through that.

In the book I talk about the organization’s value agenda as it’s mission, vision, and direction, to really create enterprise values. I spent six years at a private equity firm, and we bought and sold 110 different companies. Certainly, through your background, you have also had experience in moves organizations make whether they go launch a new product or service, go after new market segments, or acquire another company. All in an effort to really increase their enterprise value.

Well, that enterprise value creation, at some point has to directly align with the talent. So, what talent do we have? What talent can we bet on? What talent do we need to invest in to really help drive that upside? And respectfully, it may not be all of the partners. Or it may not be all of the vice presidents. It’s that growing hyper-growth market segment that we are not as focused on. We are not investing in. There’s a lot of upside there for us.

Understanding the organization’s value agenda. Where is that upside growth going to come from should be directly related to individuals who aspire to create a greater impact in the organization?

So, if I want to do more. If I want to accomplish more. If I want to achieve more in my company, I have to understand that value agenda and I have to make sure my initiatives, my focus, and my value add is directly aligned with it. Does that make sense? Does that resonate?

Listen to the entire interview above by clicking on the play button.

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