Minter Dialogue with Sarah Rozenthuler

Sarah Rozenthuler is a chartered psychologist, dialogue coach, leadership consultant and published author with nearly 20 years’ international experience consulting. With extensive expertise in dialogue, Sarah specialises in coaching senior leaders and their teams to access their individual and collective intelligence respectively, resolve difficult challenges and have the conversations that matter most. She’s also author of “How to Have Meaningful Conversations” (Watkins), “Powered by Purpose” (FT Publishing) and now has a new book out, “Now We’re Talking: How to discuss what really matters” (Pearson). We discuss her new book, what are and how to hold difficult conversations, why and how to be an authentic leader, how to overcome inherent challenges in business with dealing with robust dialogue, and much more.

Please send me your questions — as an audio file if you’d like — to Otherwise, below, you’ll find the show notes and, of course, you are invited to comment. If you liked the podcast, please take a moment to rate it here.

To connect with Sarah Rozenthuler:

  • Check out Sarah’s eponymous site here
  • Find/buy Sarah’s book, “Now We’re Talking,” here
  • Find/follow Sarah Rozenthuler on LinkedIn
  • Find/follow Sarah on X (formerly Twitter)

Other mentions/sites:

  • Prior recording with Sarah about her book, How to have Meaningful Conversations is here
  • Hameed Almaas’ Diamond Approach – here

Further resources for the Minter Dialogue podcast:

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Meanwhile, you can find my other interviews on the Minter Dialogue Show in this podcast tab, on Megaphone or via Apple Podcasts. If you like the show, please go over to rate this podcast via RateThisPodcast! And for the francophones reading this, if you want to get more podcasts, you can also find my radio show en français over at:, on Megaphone or in iTunes.
Music credit: The jingle at the beginning of the show is courtesy of my friend, Pierre Journel, author of the Guitar Channel. And, the new sign-off music is “A Convinced Man,” a song I co-wrote and recorded with Stephanie Singer back in the late 1980s (please excuse the quality of the sound!).

Full transcript via

SUMMARY KEYWORDS: dialogue, people, minter, book, container, reactive, safety, meaningful conversation, sarah, conversation, room, notion, truth, facilitator, narcissism, impediment, topic, team, trigger, ground rules

SPEAKERS: Sarah Rozenthuler, Minter Dial

Minter Dial  00:05

Hello, welcome to Minter Dialogue, episode number 560. My name is Minter Dial and I’m your host for this podcast, a most proud member of the Evergreen Podcast Network. For more information or to check out other shows on this network, go visit So, this week’s interview is with the lovely Sarah Rozenthuler. Sarah is a chartered psychologist, dialogue coach, leadership consultant and published author with nearly 20 years of international experience in consulting with extensive expertise in dialogue. Sarah specializes in coaching senior leaders and their teams to access their individual and collective intelligence respectively, resolve difficult challenges and have the conversations that matter most. She’s also the author of three books, how to have meaningful conversations, powered by purpose. And now her latest book. Now we’re talking how to discuss what really matters published by Pearson, we discussed her new book in this podcast, what are and how to hold difficult conversations, why and how to be an authentic leader. How to Overcome inherent challenges in business, we’re dealing with robust dialogue, and much more, you’ll find all the show notes on Minter And if you have a moment, please go over and drop in your rating and review. And certainly, don’t forget to subscribe to catch all the future episodes. Now for the show. Sarah Rozenthuler, it is not very frequent that I have a two-time guest on my show. I mean, we’re talking about 600 episodes, and I had you on my show. For your first book I think about which was about meaningful conversation. Hugely important topic for me, as you know, you’ve also written about the power of purpose, which is also a tremendous interesting topic. And now all of a sudden, you’ve written another book that I just had to have you on my show about it’s called “Now we’re talking. How to discuss what really matters” from Pearson, who were one of my publishers as well. In your own words, Sarah, who are you today?

Sarah Rozenthuler  02:18

Oh, what a great question. I will come to that Minter. I’m just going to say I’m delighted to be back. Thank you for having me back. And I, I know this exploration around meaningful conversations is close to your own heart, your own body of work. So, I’m really looking forward to exploring this with you. And who am I today? I got we were speaking coming out of the weekend, Monday morning. So, I feel both in touch with who I am professionally. So, I’m a chartered psychologist, and so on coach, author, speaker, and also coming out of the weekend in touch with who I am as daughters, sister, Auntie, partner. And of course, the need for having good dialogue in in family systems, as well as organizational systems. So, I’m straddling both worlds just to acknowledge.

Minter Dial  03:16

So, we there’s so many things I want to talk about, but in the end of the day, why talk about talking? In today’s world, is it isn’t a bigger need in like you say your family side found family and friends? Or is it a bigger need in business? Or both?

Sarah Rozenthuler  03:39

I think it’s a big need in both. I’m if I just go to the family context for a moment. And then let’s come back to business and organizations. I just think like I was talking earlier with my partner about the age at which, at what age do you give a child a smartphone. And I was learning that, you know, good practices, apparently at 14 Social media would then come in at 16. But of course, lots of kids are getting phones at seven. And I love tech. And I love my own smartphone. I’m not in any way anti tech or anti-social media. And yet, I do think those developments have impacted our ability to not just talk together but be present and to give another person or the rest of our family around the dinner table. If we’re fortunate enough to eat together our undivided attention. My sense is we have lost some of that capacity. And that is a real loss to the quality of family life and of course in the business setting as well. That can really impact the performance of a team or a group of stakeholders as well.

Minter Dial  04:57

In in the sixth obstacle holes that you talk about that prevent us or impediments to dialogue. There, there seems to be also this notion that I observe but have very little real research around it, which is sort of almost epidemic narcissism. And I was wondering to what extent you psychologist who understands the concept much more deeply than I do, would agree with that.

Sarah Rozenthuler  05:29

I would agree with that. And I’m going to borrow a term here. It’s not a term I coined, but I find it a very helpful term. And that’s everyday narcissism, which we all have two different degrees. And psychologically, that going into all the depths of that there are very good reasons that we’ve got an element of narcissism, we actually need a strong ego structure, and a set of boundaries and a sense of identity to navigate our way through this world. And I guess what you’re pointing to maybe you tell me is when it that narcissism tip seeps into something that’s more problematic, that’s more self-centered, or more, there’s more self-obsession going on. And again, that’s going to make dialogue difficult to the extent that I’m primarily focused on me what I want what I need, that’s going to be shutting down or obscuring to some extent, the extent to which I can listen to you, your needs what you want, which might be quite different from it. So, everyday narcissism, which is a term that Hameed Almaas, coined, he’s the founder of the Diamond Approach, the Ridwan School, where I am a student, has written many, but I just find it, I don’t want to pass a larger size narcissism, we all have got it to some degree. And I just think it’s helpful to acknowledge that because then each of us could be encouraged to do our own work to look at that and raise our awareness about how we can get caught out by our own narcissism.

Minter Dial  07:18

One of the you talk about the four principles that I am just going to get back to which of the four themes that you write is converging on the foundation of authentic leadership and effective dialogue. And you point to the need for self-awareness. And I felt actually it somehow reading the book that that is, maybe the core thing is understanding of self is really the primary driver of getting to meaningful dialogue.

Sarah Rozenthuler  07:52

Yes, yeah, absolutely. I think in the book, I use the phrase find your ground, to refer to sort of some of the inner work that we could help really do before we talk with somebody else, particularly in a situation where we’ve got triggered, where we have got reactive, where our emotional reaction is perhaps disproportionate to the objective situation we might find ourselves in. And I think raising self-awareness around our reactive patterns, is absolutely invaluable. And there are some great tools out there, you know, psychologists and others have really mapped this territory. So, you know, very briefly in the book, I cover a map of three different reactive patterns, where the we’re more of the controlling type, and we throw all our toys out of the pram, and that’s how many of us think of reactivity. But there are two other patterns as well that can catch us out in ourselves or that we might be dealing with in another person. There’s the reactive tendency of being a people pleaser, of complying of just saying yes, rather than standing our ground and raising an issue. And then the third reactive tendency gets called Protecting, where we withdraw. We take our distance, but other people will experience a non-response a cold shoulder. So, it’s not just the controlling, that can be problematic, but the complying and protecting as well.

Minter Dial  09:41

Well, that that piece resonated with me because I’m surely in the withdrawing capacity. That’s how I will go into the mode when I think there’s the sort of the more bigger triggers, but I also think there are sort of everyday triggers, if you will, that aren’t about someone saying a word that I don’t like, but more tend to make me want to focus in on what is the order of the day, my priorities of the day. And if you waver from that, you get me off my track, that will trigger me. Nope, that’s I don’t have time for that. Back to what I’m what I want. And in this notion of self-awareness is this ability to understand what’s driving you to get into your, your emotional drivers, your emotional needs, as well as they, but then there’s this other thing of my truth. Speak your truth. And it strikes me if I think of my debating days, the ability for us to agree on what is true, what is a fact? You know, if I tell you I’m happy, that’s my truth. Okay. You can’t judge me on whether I’m happy or not. But it seems to we’ve gotten from talking about I’m happy and feeling great, too. Well, my version of the truth of what happened in history, my version of what happened in a more factual context. It then becomes the dominating argument, when I’m presenting something, and rather than you, so let’s say Battle of Trafalgar in 1805? Well, that’s what I think. And you’re like, Well, no, I my truth is it was 1804.

Sarah Rozenthuler  11:37

Yeah, I think maybe what you’re pointing to here, in part is, what’s the mindset that we enter a conversation with, because to the extent we’re coming into a conversation with a combative, I’m going to win here, you know, and then that makes us in our energy and in our words, oppositional, then we’re going to have our own battle right now, between different parties. And I would say that is really going to reduce if not eliminate the potential to have a meaningful conversation, an authentic dialogue. But if we come into the room, whether that’s with our family, or with our team, with a mindset that’s more open, more humble, more of a growth mindset, you could say, or with an attitude of, okay, I have my truth. And there’s a bigger picture here, where there’ll be pieces that I don’t yet understand, I haven’t yet seen, I’ve got my blind spots, just as other people have got their blind spots. So, let’s see, if between us we can build a shared understanding, we might still come away disagreeing about what happened at the Battle of Trafalgar, or whatever the topic is. But that mindset, the dialogic mindset is very different from that, you know, I’m in it to win it conversational style, and mind changes.

Minter Dial  13:17

So, you’re one of the key concepts that you, Sarah, have brought to me is this notion of the container. So, let’s start with you describing what is a container? Because I think we need to unwrap that. That element.

Sarah Rozenthuler  13:36

Yeah, I acknowledge it’s a clumsy word. And many people will think of metal boxes on chips or plastic boxes in fridges. It’s not a great word. It comes from Him. So, I’m sure you know, the therapeutic context where therapists would talk about the therapeutic container, the space between them as the therapist and their client. And the qualities of that space are to do, of course, with safety. So, contracting for confidentiality. I think it’s more than that, though, in terms of having a meaningful conversation. It’s not just about having psychological safety, where people can take into personal risks, although that’s absolutely fundamental. It’s also about having a sense of energy and possibility in the room as well. There’s a sense of potential, there’s a sense of like, okay, so we’re in a really stuck place here as a team or whatever. But maybe things could change. You know, that’s the sense of possibility. And there’s also a sense of people feeling engaged and energized by the topic so that they’re present. And when those qualities of safety, energy possibility or In the room, you have a container starting to build. And you know, you’ve got containers starting to build, because people will start to say what they really think what they really feel, they might be willing to take a risk. If they’re more of the complying reactive type, they might be willing to actually raise a tricky topic, if they’re more of the controlling type. In a safe environment, you might see those people relax a little bit and not need to be taking the helm so much and up more of our protective people might be doing less of the withdrawing, and actually contributing more. So, those are ways you would know you’ve got a container starting to build in the room.

Minter Dial  15:54

And Sarah, in the way I think about conversations in this dialogue, that you describe dye logos, where logos is making it meaningful, in a way and meaningful the idea of the objective, or the meta status of our relationship, and I think of it as one plus one equals three. So, you and I are having a dialogue? To what extent do we need to know to what end? Are we having a dialogue? In other words, we could be having a dialogue so that we are enabled to ignite a relationship of some sort a, an element of trust between colleagues. And that is what the objective of our dialogue is, because you and I have this nasty past, where we’ve had argument, Hey, Sarah, let’s come to heads together and, and create in our container, this idea of re gathering trust in one another and our relationship, then that becomes the framework or do some sort of objective container Lee, if you will, so that we can refer back to it whenever things go off the rails? How does that fit in with your container idea?

Sarah Rozenthuler  17:21

It does fit in and in fact, you’re really reminding me of Bill, Isaac’s definition of dialog. And in the notion of the container building, I really acknowledge the influence that Bill Isaac’s who I worked with for five years, he’s the author of dialogue and the art of thinking together. And he’s been very impactful in both how I think about dialogue and my own practice. So, in his book, he would define dialogue, in part as a conversation with a center rather than sides. So, rather than people taking sides and fixed positions, and it all getting very polarized, it’s a conversation with a center. So, in the middle of the room, you have got a question perhaps, or a top in in your example, it was trust that we’re exploring together. And it’s really helpful to have a center to the conversation on a really practical level, if we’re physically together in the room. Once we’ve surfaced the question, I always have it written up, you know, often on a flip chart, so we can do exactly what you were describing, coming back to that question or that topic we’re exploring together. So, all of that on one level, would be a good description of dialogue. And then if I may, I want to add in another level, which is a new mentioned the term Dyer logos, which is the flow of meaning coming through words. So, if it’s a true dialogue and an authentic dialogue, there is also an emergent quality to it, there is a flow of meaning passing through that group of people that tea, and you can’t actually control where that’s going to go. So, there’s this wonderful, emergent quality to dialogue as well. And I think both things are true and helpful the topic in the center, and a willingness to just let the dialog go where it needs to go. So, it’s that interplay between the boundaries and the flow.

Minter Dial  19:42

Well, for me, that speaks to your notion of the possibility because if it’s predestined, as in predetermined, what we are having to get out of this, that is a controlling factor that is bound to contaminate our flow.

Sarah Rozenthuler  20:01

Oh, yeah, absolutely. And it’s a challenge, I really acknowledge the challenge of this, particularly in the corporate world, where we’re very used. And most of the teams I coach are very used to operating with agendas and their agenda items. And there are people who hold that agenda item. And it’s often, you know, the chair or the, you know, the most senior person has to work our way through the agenda. So, what we’re describing here, is very untypical in the corporate world. And yet, what I would observe is some of the teams that I work with. And sometimes I’m not brought in for firefighting at all, sometimes teams are saying, we’re a good team come and help us make us be a great team, or I’ve worked with teams where they say we’re a great team, but we want to be exceptional. And seeing them go on that journey, accompanying them on that journey. One of the common factors I observe is that they allow time, in their time together for an agenda free dialogue. And it might not, they might have a one day off site, or a day and a half off site. And it’s not the case, often that the whole thing is agenda free, that there’ll be an element of that, or they’ll have a rhythm of meetings across the year, where some meetings are more operational, and we have our agenda, and we work our way through it. But then, for example, on a quarterly basis, we have a meeting together where there’s more breathing space, and we can get more into true dialogue together, I see that pattern in the teams I work.

Minter Dial  21:53

Yes, this idea of allocating the time, which is one of the big obstacles for if you were to look at a scale of shitty to exceptional teams, it seems that having the trust in the process for the freedom of expression, and a genderless kind of meeting is really only possible once you’ve established some groundwork, because if you let it go free and fly, when the team is dysfunctional, then it can’t go well. So, what do you need to do before you get to that agenda plus, freedom of expression and possibilities are all out there for a team to be able to get to that.

Sarah Rozenthuler  22:52

I mean, I’m thinking of one team I worked with recently. And I think one of the things they realized was that they needed to make better decisions together. And this is where, you know, you’ve got, you know, dialogue bites into a business. And I think there’s sometimes a risk with dialogue, that it can sound quite soft and fluffy. And it’s a nice to have. But with this, this team that’s coming to mind, I think one of the things they came to realize was if they were going to make really good quality decisions, they needed to hear the voices of actually not just the team members, but they needed some voices of the next layer in the organization. So, we ended up with 18 people in the room. So, quite a big group. We were together for a day, we didn’t have more than we had intended a day and a half, it came down to a day. And actually, what really helped them be willing collectively to enter into a different space together was the possibility that they could at the end of the day come away with a concrete set of decisions and actions. And we got there, actually, we and one of the things if I can add one other thing it might be helpful to your listeners is we started that day, just with a very simple question around what are your hopes and fears for this meeting, and people paired up and talk that through in their pair. And then when we came back together as a whole group we heard from each pair, I had my pen in my hands I sketched it all up on a flip chart. And actually that’s a good starting point is to get a shared intention in the team around what you don’t want from the meeting, staying superficial, not really making any decisions and then of course what you do want and then gives you a really strong start to push off against as a team and, you know, as a facilitator, as a coach as well.

Minter Dial  25:11

I really liked that it gives a sort of something that we can bolt on to as we go down further on. There was a, one of the quotes that you gave, because every chapter had some kind of quote, and the one that stood out for me of all was the one from Marcus Aurelius, who was the Stoic philosopher and Roman emperor, what he said, or is a translation, you know, said in English, what amounts to the impediment to action advances action, what stands in the way, becomes the way. And so it sounds a little bit in the similar vein there. But what really struck me about that phrase was its relationship with dialogue, as in the etymological idea of dialogue, where DIA stands for way. So, that was that was that intentional? It didn’t pull that out as intentional in the book I. But it feels like there’s a direct link about the way.

Sarah Rozenthuler  26:20

Yeah, I really appreciate you honing in on that. And in a way, I think it’s been there in that example of the team and their decision making, because what was standing in their way was lack of clarity around decisions. And actually, that impediment, because I think we had a safe container. So, we could have we talked about that the fear around not getting clear decisions, naming that fear, then it’s a bit paradoxical ease the way to be able to make decisions. So, it’s right in that territory of impediment becoming an enabler. But in order for that to happen, I think a team or group a board has to slow down. In order for that movement to happen, impediment become enabler, because if we just stay in that very busy, more reactive space, the impediment will just stay as impediment, in my view.

Minter Dial  27:34

it takes that messiness, and slowness to really visualize together what actually is the impediment and sort of battle around it to come to terms with it. And then finally, you phrase it, where everyone then can point to it in furthering the conversation?

Sarah Rozenthuler  27:57

Yeah. Yeah. I was just going to say and that I just wanted to acknowledge that is not always comfortable. Of course, you know, when people say things like, you know, I don’t want us to stay superficial, or our track record of making decisions at sessions like, this isn’t great, that is not comfortable. I feel it in the room, and I’m just there in a facilitation role. And yeah, I’ve really learned that a few moments of discomfort are really often they often pay dividends in dialogue, you know, when the truth gets spoken, it’s often not comfortable, and yet, and again, this is paradoxical, something in the room relaxes as well. Something dilates in the energy field. And that then allows more real exploration to take place, I just wanted to add in that bit, and back to you.

Minter Dial  28:57

Love it. It, it means trusting the way the process as a facilitator, and presumably the prescriptive of your intervention, needs to trust you in trusting that way. Because otherwise, the boss comes in and says, you know, starts being reactive and defensive, maybe because they take things personally. And yet, I suspect that in most instances, even if that deletion has happened, the concrete benefit isn’t necessarily immediately available.

Sarah Rozenthuler  29:36

No, it takes time, you know that and maybe that takes us back to the flow of meaning. And, you know, I think good quality dialogue does take time. And yet it’s time that is so well invested and so well spent. Once again, I’m just going to make it really practical for a moment. But one of the tools that I’ve learned to use in team dialogue settings, is it’s very simple. It’s this notion of a bank, where you just have a blank sheet of flip chart paper. And as the dialogue unfolds in that emergent way we spoke about, there’s just an agreement that we bank, any shared understandings, any insight, as well as any actions as we’re going along. And so we don’t get to the end of the day, and the last 30 minutes of a meeting trying to scramble around for what is it we agreed and what you know, what have we understood in this day, that, you know, you might buy, at the end of the day, have a page where you might have a couple of pages of banked items. And then you can have a very valuable 30 minutes at the end, where you revise that. And then you might crystallize those insights into very concrete actions with timescales or names next to them. But just because dialogue has got this emergent quality, it’s really helpful to have a public capture. As it’s going along, I’ve really learned that as a practical tool in my practice.

Minter Dial  31:21

I love it. So, another area, let’s go back to this container concept, there’s there are two things that I thought were extremely relevant and necessary to discuss in this. The first is this notion of safety. So, you have psychological safety, safe space. And I tend to in my understanding of those two terms think they come from it from two different angles. One is: make it safe, so I don’t get triggered. So, I don’t get offended. So, the inclusivity piece, but more from a me perspective. And then the other one, psychological safety is the ability for me to say my truth without being penalized for it. But they’re the attack, if you will, quote unquote, is on the others is on the enterprise. So, I’d love for you to unpack those two areas, because they both share the word safe. But I feel like they’re coming at it from different angles.

Sarah Rozenthuler  32:29

Yeah, gosh, well, if I just turned to the word safe for them, I am learning in my own work to contract to make the room safe enough. Because I can, as a facilitator, I can bring all my presents all my toolkit, all my goodwill, and yet, I cannot guarantee 100% safety 100% of the time for all the participants. And the reality is that people get triggered, even with a great set of ground rules, or a great facilitator or coach, triggering happens. So, making the room safe enough for me, is a realistic expectation. And so, I will talk about that with participants. And I will also think carefully about how I do the contracting with people as well, because that is one of the key ways you build the safety. It depends on how much time there is. So, if time is limited, sometimes I will come in and suggest a set of ground rules. And I’m happy to say a little bit more about that, in addition just to the confidentiality and what is said in the room stays in the room. Other times if I’ve got more time with a group, or if I know that this isn’t just a one-off session, but I’m going to have subsequent sessions, I might do a more co creative way of contracting. So, it might be there might be four flip charts around the room, people rotate around all of them. And those flip charts might be headed up with things like this will be a successful meeting for me personally, if it will be successful for us collectively, if what we want from our facilitator is what we want from each other is and actually I find it that is again a really valuable investment of time to do that together. And then you’ve got that to refer back to and so on. So, that can really help with the safety that contain a building. And then very briefly other times, I will come in and suggest ground rules and some of them are not the typical ones. So, they might be things like, welcome uncomfortable moments. And I’ve already spoken about discomfort in the room. So, not to shy away from that. And actually to lean into it when it happens, because there’s real rich learning there. And another ground rule that I find really helpful is nobody gets to be wrong. So, there, I’m trying to encourage people that if you’re outraged by what somebody else has said, just take a moment and come from that place. And they’re not wrong, just because they’ve said something that I disagree with. So, that was kind of trying to get at your second aspect of safety there.

Minter Dial  35:49

Well, that sounds like application of empathy.

Sarah Rozenthuler  35:52

Yeah, if you like application of empathy, yes. Yeah. Yeah. And humility, as well, just that, you know, like, none of us, you know, none of us have a monopoly on the truth, or the big picture, none of us are fully in the picture with that. And it’s helpful to remember that.

Minter Dial  36:15

Really? I thought I was! The framework I used in my book on leadership as the CHECK framework where you, there are five different characteristics. And the first is curiosity, the desire to learn from others, and lean into an accept and accept that I don’t understand everything. So, I need to learn about things. Humility, to know that I’m not perfect. Humility to accept that I need help from others. E for empathy. The fourth letter, C for courage, the courage to have vulnerability, and therefore to expose yourself and allow for more exposed exposition of truth underneath that. And the fifth one, K of karma, which is good before you expect in return. So, that feels very much in alignment with you. The last area there, though, is this notion of boundaries, because a container necessarily has boundaries. And, and the sounds like your idea of the construction of the ground rules, is tantamount to exposing boundaries. But sometimes boundaries are all about, well, I’m not going to accept that we talk about this topic, or I’m not going to accept that anyone calls me as bad or anything, because otherwise it will trigger me. In a conversation I had with 36, stimulating crystal bright minds. One person brought up the topic of removing safety in order to unleash possibilities. Because if there’s too much safety going on, because he farting around was cotton wool on my mouth, worried about every word that it’s going to be explained. And every trigger that might happen, nothing will happen. Yeah.

Sarah Rozenthuler  38:03

I mean, I, yeah, I’m not sure about removing safety, but calibrating safety, or just acknowledging there can be an interplay between safety and risk, I think is really helpful. Yeah, because, yeah, it gets messy. Sometimes it just does. And, yeah, I actually don’t often refer to ground rules as such, often calling group agreements. I’m not a big fan of rules. But I think it’s in the book, I think, I might quote the poet Robert Frost, that lovely phrase, “good fences make good neighbors.” And actually boundaries, group agreements, can be real allies, actually, they’re not there to control impose, but just help Yeah, create that safe enough space?

Minter Dial  39:05

What are the issues that one can face in the in a business is having people from very different backgrounds, so at the very least, we have to recognize that everybody else is different. And so that that requires some self-awareness, awareness, and respect of people with different opinions. Culturally, though, there are some cultures that are much tougher as far as directness of language. I don’t mean to offend, but I would say that Russians can be very direct and blunt for having worked with many of them or in in no mal intentional way. On the other hand, I can think of many Japanese colleagues who don’t want to say anything, because out of respect for me, the older if I’m older, or different notions of time, that might you know, being on time as a sign of respect in some countries, some cultures and it’s not an issue and others already doesn’t appear to be for those who have the sort of rather retentive approach to time.

Sarah Rozenthuler  40:12

Yeah, I know all of that can play out, as you know, in a single meeting room, you’re and you’ve got a mix of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds. And if you can navigate all that it can be so enriching for a dialogue, and it can derail as well. So, you know, one of the things that I think is really important in dialog, and you might know that some research done at Google project Aristotle, where they were looking at the, what makes a high performing team high performing, and certain things you would expect that might have an impact didn’t like the average level of IQ of team members. But there were certain other factors that did. And one of them, you might well know, is what they call conversation or turn taking. So, having roughly equal airtime amongst the different participants, so I sometimes set that as a ground rule, we’re aiming for this roughly equal airtime. And then sometimes what I’ll do, for example, after a lunch break, or a coffee break, is interrupt a more emergent flow of conversation and do something like say, right, we’re now actually going to go round the circle around the room, and just take the pulse. And I’d like to hear you’re free to pass. But it would be great to hear from everybody, you know, and whatever the question is, you know, where’s your energy level now, or what’s really peeking your curiosity back to the first part of your CHECK framework, which I love, and actually, you know, interrupt things. So, you do get to hear from each person and that can help draw out some of the quieter people, the more blobby extrovert people realize that, you know, they’ve got to take their turn. So, simple interventions can help with the conversational turn taking.

Minter Dial  42:18

And what they’re you’re doing is I would characterize as modeling a truly great leader style, where you are able to understand you’re in position, if you will, in the group, and allowing for everyone to feel heard.

Sarah Rozenthuler  42:35

Yes, in that truly inclusive way. Yes. And I think sometimes as a facilitator, you do have to be a bit of a traffic cop, some that, you know, bring some people in shock some people but not shut them down. But you know, but just aim for that, roughly equal. And actually, those patterns and those interventions, I see work really where I work with a lot of teams where there’s a lot of cultural diversity. Sometimes I’m not only the only Britain, the room, I’m the only European in the room. And actually changing the choreography of the dialogue, you know, whether it’s okay, let’s go into two subgroups, or let’s go into trios, and then we’ll hear back from the trip or a go round, just can help people it can help the dialogue stay fresh, and keep participation at an optimal level.

Minter Dial  43:33

Yeah, in those situations where you break off into pods, the option is to be in a more intimate environment. And if you’re to the reality as you will, hopefully, you have a better chance to speak you’re only faced with one other competitor for airtime. And if there’s a little bit of indulgence, that other person will recognize how much they’ve spoken. Or what about you? Although I would say sir, so often it is my observation that people just need to speak and they that that need to speak overrides their ability to observe the others. It just and at the end of you know, when our conversation it has happened so often I’ve had people just speak to me and then say at the end Oh, you’re such a nice person. You really interesting. Okay, interesting. speaks to the need to be heard. Sarah, we have had a I mean, as you can imagine with my Minter dial a podcast, the name of our podcasts that we’re speaking on, couldn’t have been more interesting. I would love to have had many more opportunities to be in but time is something I like to respect best I can. How can anyone reach out to you sir, hire you get your book of books, should I say? What are the best links that people should go to?

Sarah Rozenthuler  44:50

Thank you, man. Very happy to be part of winter dialogue podcast. So, there’s a new book out called now we’re talking about Now to discuss what really matters it is literally just hit the shelves. And that is available internationally. Apparently, Blackwell’s is your best bet at the moment for distribution, but it’s there on Amazon and other bookstores. And maybe the best way to reach me is to go to my website, which is my name. So, Sarah with an H I could spell it out: R O Z E N T H U L E R, and you can also find me active on LinkedIn and very happy to hear from any of your listeners and a big thank you to you Minter. I’ve really enjoyed this conversation. Thank you.

Minter Dial  45:45

Splendid, well, and for the americanos like me on the call, or listening in it’s Zed for Zee. Great to have the chat. Let’s stay in touch. Sarah, and I really loved your book. Thank you so much for coming on.

Sarah Rozenthuler  45:59

Thank you.

Minter Dial  46:02

So, a really heartfelt thanks for listening to this episode of The Minter Dialogue podcast. If you liked the show, please remember to subscribe on your favourite podcast service. As ever, rating and reviews are the real currency of podcasts. And if you’re really inspired, I’m accepting donations on You’ll find the show notes with over 2100 blog posts on on topics ranging from leadership to branding, tech and marketing tips. Check out my documentary film and books including my last one, the second edition of “Heartificial Empathy, Putting Heart into Business and Artificial Intelligence” that came out in April 2023. And to finish here’s a song I wrote with Stephanie Singer, “A Convinced Man.”


I like the feel of a stranger

Tucked around me

Precipitating the danger

To feel free

Trust is the reason

Still I won’t toe the line.


I sit here passively

Hope for your respect

Anticipating the thrill of your intellect

Maybe I tell myself

There’s no use in me lying.


I’m a convinced man,

Building an urge

A convinced man,

To live and die submerged.

A convinced man,

In the arms of a woman


I’m a convinced man

Challenge my fate

I’m a convinced man

Competition’s innate

A convinced man

In the arms of a woman.


Despise revenges

And struggle to see

Live for the challenge

So life’s not incomplete

What’s wrong with challenge

I know soon we all die


I’m a convinced man

Practicing my lines

I’m a convinced man

Here in these confines

A convinced man

In the arms of a woman.


I’m a convinced man

Put me to the test

I’m a convinced man

I’m ready for an arrest

I’m a convinced man

In the arms of a woman.


I’m a convinced man… so convinced

You convince me, yeah baby,

I’m a convinced man

In the arms of a woman…

Minter Dial

Minter Dial is an international professional speaker, author & consultant on Leadership, Branding and Transformation. After a successful international career at L’Oréal, Minter Dial returned to his entrepreneurial roots and has spent the last twelve years helping senior management teams and Boards to adapt to the new exigencies of the digitally enhanced marketplace. He has worked with world-class organisations to help activate their brand strategies, and figure out how best to integrate new technologies, digital tools, devices and platforms. Above all, Minter works to catalyse a change in mindset and dial up transformation. Minter received his BA in Trilingual Literature from Yale University (1987) and gained his MBA at INSEAD, Fontainebleau (1993). He’s author of four award-winning books, including Heartificial Empathy, Putting Heart into Business and Artificial Intelligence (2nd edition) (2023); You Lead, How Being Yourself Makes You A Better Leader (Kogan Page 2021); co-author of Futureproof, How To Get Your Business Ready For The Next Disruption (Pearson 2017); and author of The Last Ring Home (Myndset Press 2016), a book and documentary film, both of which have won awards and critical acclaim.

👉🏼 It’s easy to inquire about booking Minter Dial here.

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