Keeper of the Flame… Conversation on Video with Nancy Duarte

Whenever I give an interview, I ask the conversation partner to not tell me any of the questions because I really want it to be a conversation — not some rehearsed packaging of ideas. Sometimes, this comes out well, and sometimes not. The combination of factors affects it — the questions themselves, the community that is there, and certainly the interviewer. It is inherently social and I get to think aloud with someone.

A few weeks back, Nancy Duarte — three-time bestseller on the power of persuasion, resonance, and story — and I got together to talk about the #SocialEra. (Direct link to video, here)

Besides being a notable author, Nancy is the successful CEO of her own firm, Duarte Design. It’s incredibly well recognized and she as its leader. Not only did she did the slides for Al Gore’s film, an inconvenient Truth (The only set of slides ever to win an Oscar!) … she loves to help people tell their story.

We talked about the counterintuitive nature of the ideas in Social Era and you’ll see by her face that she’s just as scared as anyone. But she’s also courageous to face into it. (As I hope you are) As she and I talked about the shifts that the book raises, we dug into what it means for leadership.

As you listen to it, I suggest you listen for “keeper of the flame” as a way to think about what is shifting. Leaders no longer need to know all the answers (The Chief of Answers is what I called it in the first book, The New How), leaders can shift to being a “Keeper of the flame”.

P.s. Nancy Duarte’s latest book is an HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations. I am probably going to through and read it again, over the holidays as I think about some presentations I have planned for 2013. I highly recommend her ideas and I’m grateful we had a chance to talk together on film about Leadership in the Social Era.


3 Replies

  1. I’m getting so used to seeing people interviewed side by side via Skype or Hangout that it was surprising to see an ‘in person’ interview. Nancy did a great job of capturing the ‘up close and personal’ Nilofer that I have been privileged to experience and that I know and love…

  2. The reference to “keeper of the flame” caught my eye and not because of the Hollywood movie. My husband has always been fascinated with kung fu and was fortunate to have trained and become a certified JKD instructor of under the leadership of Jerry Poteet. Jerry was one of only a few personal students of Bruce Lee.
    Due to the way the Jeet Kune Do style works, the practitioners believe in minimal movement with maximum effect and extreme speed. The system works on the use of different ‘tools’ for different situations. This hybrid system (“no way as way”) was founded by Bruce Lee. Jerry Poteet believed that it was his mission in life to preserve and teach Bruce Lee’s JKD system and philosophy. Jerry branded himself and his team of instructors as “keepers of the flame”.
    “Be like water” and move fluidly without hesitation. Bruce Lee
    Even if you don’t know much about martial arts, you probably know that Bruce Lee’s approach troubled traditionalists. In listening to this video, and having thoroughly enjoyed Nilfer’s Social Era book, it struck me that Bruce Lee’s JKD system and philosophy has some very interesting parallels to Social Era.

    1. Thanks for sharing all of this. I’m starting to think more deeply about the leadership shifts in Social Era … and perhaps this will give me an excuse to dive deeply to learn about the JKD system.

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