This week on the Digital Velocity Podcast, Dia Bondi, author of Ask Like an Auctioneer, joins Erik and Tim to discuss how individuals can make monumental changes in their lives by discovering how to ask for more and receive it.
Successful negotiation begins with an effective asking phase, but that initial step is often grossly ignored. Dia says, “…my belief is that asking is one of the most actively avoided and underestimated success strategies out there. And we talk a lot about negotiation, but just simply asking is a powerful tool. Ask is the first thing that happens. Negotiation is what happens after that. So, I really want to focus on that moment, that first moment that initiates the whole rest of it. But I believe that it's one of the most actively avoided success strategies out there.”
Asking for more is often disregarded because of fear and the effect a negative response will have on our self-value. Dia says, “I believe it's because we conflate rejection with worthiness. When I think about anybody, not just women, but any of us go to actively ask big enough that we threaten getting a no, we tie up our worth and worthiness in the response that we get.”
Understanding that value has nothing to do with the outcome of a negotiation is key to asking for more. Dia explains, “But what we want to do is we want to actually ask big enough that we touch the ceiling of what's possible that comes in a no. But we also at the same time say that if we get told no, then we must not be worth what we've asked. Worth is agnostic to people's responses. Your worth and worthiness is 100 percent infinite. It's about your inherent youness. It's about your humanity.”
Listen to this week’s episode to learn more about how to ask for more and get it.
About the Guest:
Dia Bond is a Communications Catalyst for high-impact people. In her private coaching and programs, she works with professional C-level leaders, VC-backed founders, and ambitious professionals guiding and helping them find their voice and lead with it. Her workshops and talks are hosted by corporations including Quartz, Salesforce, Google's X.team, and Dropbox. In global sport, she helped Rio de Janeiro secure the 2016 Summer Olympics. After attending auctioneering school for fun, she translated the techniques she learned into a program that prepares ambitious professionals, especially women, to ask for more and leave nothing on the table called Ask Like an Auctioneer. She's been featured on CNBC Make It, Forbes, and Fast Company. Her book, Ask Like an Auctioneer, will be published in 2023. Listen to her podcast Lead With Who You Are.
Tim Curtis: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to this edition of the Digital Velocity Podcast. I'm your cohost, Tim Curtis from CohereOne.
Erik Martinez: And I'm Erik Martinez from Blue Tangerine.
Tim Curtis: And today on the show, we have Dia Bondi. For nearly 20 years, Dia Bondi has been the secret weapon behind influential CEOs and chain bankers, elevating their leadership impact through strategic communications. She's worked with iconic brands like Intel and Salesforce and even helped secure Rio's 2016 Summer Games. But Dia's influence doesn't stop there. She's empowering women to change the game. Leveraging her auctioneering skills, Dia created the program Ask Like an [00:01:00] Auctioneer, aimed at preparing a million women to ask for more and to get it.
An activator in the SheEO network and a faculty member at Harvard Space University, Dia continues to mold the next generation of leaders. Her confidence is contagious and she has a unique knack for gifting leaders through critical communication when stakes are sky-high. Whether it's through coaching or her transformation programs, DIA is a pivotal force in numerous industries. She's been covered in CNBC, Make It, and Forbes. Her first book Aske Like an Auctioneer will be released in November of 2023. Dia, welcome to the show. So, glad to have you.
Dia Bondi: Rock on everybody. It's been a while and so glad to be here.
Tim Curtis: Yeah. We had a great opportunity to meet Dia in person at the Build a Better Agency Summit in Chicago earlier this year. Instantly fell in love with her and thought she would be a great person to have on the show.
Dia Bondi: Well, that makes sense. I'm super lovable.
Tim Curtis: You are super lovable and kind of just like you start out in your book, you know, [00:02:00] you may not be for everyone, those are not your people. Well, clearly we were your people because we instantly just felt like this is awesome. This is going to be a real hit for us. So, again, welcome to the show. I thought we would start by having you give just a brief background on yourself, give a little bit more context, and then we'll dive right in.
Dia Bondi: Sure. So, I'm middle of my career, right? I've been doing leadership communications work for 20 years. I started my career in fitness actually, but one of the themes across the board has been that I've really driven by the pursuit of deeply connected experiences and adventure. And those two things led me into this world of leadership communications, where I got to be behind closed doors with very few people helping to craft and also coach leaders who are in a position to make a huge difference with their voice, whether they're speaking externally, industry-wide, or internally or across the table in a board meeting.
And I've gotten to do it all over the world, which is really cool, and participate in some things like you mentioned [00:03:00] the Rio de Janeiro bid for 2016 games, and then again, I worked on Turkey 2020, which we lost to Japan and a few other global sport contexts. It's allowed me to really get to know a little bit about a lot of things. Because I'm industry agnostic, I don't care if you're in blockchain, you're in the SaaS world, you're in product, you're in CPG, you know, you're in hardware, I've been sort of in and around just about all of it. And that's been really fun.
A handful of years ago, I took a sabbatical as you need to, and I noticed about every six or seven years I take a sabbatical. And I went to auctioneering school for fun based on sort of like a bucket list challenge I had set out loud at a dinner table years before. Ended up doing fundraising auctioneering for women-led nonprofits and nonprofits benefiting women and girls that again felt like a pursuit of a weird adventure and a deeply connected experience.
Because I'm fairly active in the world of women in work, through the way I mentor my low-bono engagements with women entrepreneurs who need an extra boost on their way toward their either precede or seed [00:04:00] funding, or maybe they're just fully bootstrapping women that come through my workshops and communication, I was thinking it was just an impact hobby. It was super useful to how we think about asking for more and getting it across our professional lives and maybe even in our personal lives. That's it. I've got two kiddos, a 16-year-old and a 13-year-old. I've been married to my high school sweetheart for 22 years. With our current life expectancy, we'll be married like 147 years by the time it's all over. And I live in the Bay area.
Tim Curtis: Good for you.
Erik Martinez: That's awesome. That's awesome. So, Dia, you know, when we saw you out at the BABA Summit, you told the story about why you took this auctioneering course. It was obviously the basis for the book. So, can you just tell us a little bit about why auctioneering?
Dia Bondi: Yeah. Okay. The littlest, shortest version of the story is when my kids were little, we were at a preschool co-op and a preschool co-op is not really well funded. You know, you have families from around the region at various levels of income participating. It was a great experience. We were there for six years.
And while we were [00:05:00] there, we had fundraisers every year. And a lot of the mommies and daddies and caregivers were like, I'm not getting in front of this room. You get in front of this room and be our auctioneer. The school couldn't afford to pay an auctioneer, so we needed a parent volunteer. And I was like, I'll do that 'cause I'm used to being in front of rooms. You saw me. It's a comfortable place for me to be.
Tim Curtis: Right. Right.
Dia Bondi: So, I didn't even watch a YouTube video. I just was like, let me figure this out. Got up in front of the room and I was like, this is so much fun. I did it a couple of years in a row. A couple of weeks later, I'm at a dinner table with some friends and we're going around doing a bucket list. Like, what would you do? I want to sail around the world. I want to do this, that, and I went like, you know what I'd like to do? I'd like to actually learn how to auctioneer. Like, for real.
Years later, a good ten years later, during my sabbatical, my husband was like, Hey, remember that thing you said that you wanted to do? I was looking for a new adventure, not because I wanted to be an auctioneer, but I was like, what am I going to do? It's not expensive to go. I wanted to just step out of my reality and into another. I went to the Midwest and did auctioneering school for 10 days, me and a hundred cowboys on the side of the road, learning to auctioneer everything from livestock [00:06:00] to $5 box lots.
From there I was like, what am I going to do with this? And I decided, well, when I come back to home to the Bay area, I'm going to do fundraising auctioneering for women-led nonprofits, cause I care about that. One thing led to another. So, that's why I went. It was just a weird fluke in some ways. Right?
Erik Martinez: Yeah, that's pretty cool. So, fast forward to present, you've written this book. Tell us about the book and why you wrote it and why it's so important for people to know.
Dia Bondi: Well, for one, my belief is that asking is one of the most actively avoided and underestimated success strategies out there. And we talk a lot about negotiation, but just simply asking is a powerful tool. Ask is the first thing that happens. Negotiation is what happens after that. So, I really want to focus on that moment, that first moment that initiates the whole rest of it. But I believe that it's one of the most actively avoided success strategies out there.
And I recognized, after I had done 25 auctions that, Oh my gosh, the way we [00:07:00] ask now, in general, I had been co-conspiring with my clients for years to inadvertently lowball themselves by shaping asks around the question, what do I think I can get? And then going for that, getting a yes, patting ourselves on the back, and exiting stage right, thinking that we were winners because we got a yes.
But once I started auctioneering, I realized, oh no, no, that's not what we do as auctioneers. What we do is we ask to get a no, and when we get a no, we sell it for a click beneath that. And that no is actually good news, not bad news. And when I saw that, I was like, everyone needs to know about this. It hit me like a lightning bolt. It's crazy. I wrote it on a little post-it note, you know, on my bedside table.
A couple of weeks later, I had a chance to give a talk in front of a group of women in the Bay area. It was like a women in tech meetup. And somebody invited me from my network, a young professional said, will you come talk to this group of women? I was like, sure. She wanted me to talk about personal branding or something. I was like, that's not even my thing. But I did say I got this weird idea. I want to test with a group. She said, sure.
So, [00:08:00] I got in front of that room and I said, look, ladies, 20 minutes I got with you and your job, I'm going to tell you about some stuff called ask like an auctioneer. I'm going to show you what I mean by what it means to ask like an auctioneer, and I'm going to share a handful of ideas that I've learned from the auctioneering stage to help you actually do it. Because what it means to go for a no is pretty scary for folks, you know, you're actively seeking rejection.
And I said, Hey, everybody, your job is to tell me if this is crap or keep going. And at the end of the 20 minutes, everybody raised their hand and said, can you please keep going? A woman, I call her Lorena, the brave, who was in the back of the room left, never introduced herself to me, and a couple of days later tweeted at me. She said, I just asked like an auctioneer and I think I'm going to puke.
She and I both knew that what she meant was I just asked like an auctioneer and I know I'm standing up for myself and challenging what I think is possible for myself. And that woman went from that year being a recruiting coordinator to now she runs all of people operations for an augmented [00:09:00] reality technology company as a brown single mom. And so when I saw that, I was like, oh, I think this is a thing. So, we turned that 20 minutes into a keynote, then into a workshop, and then into a book to try to scale its impact when I can't be with people in the room.
Erik Martinez: That's amazing.
Dia Bondi: Does that answer your question, Erik?
Erik Martinez: Yes, it did, and it's awesome. And I've got like 20, 000 follow-up questions, but Tim will kill me if I dominate all of your time. So, I'm going to ask two. I'm going to ask two right now. I'm going to set my reserve at two, and we'll see if I can get some more in. One is, what is the ask that you're talking about and why are people so afraid of it? And the second question is, what is the zone of freaking out and why does it drive the ask?
Dia Bondi: When you say, what is the ask? What do you mean like, what am I asking for?
Erik Martinez: Yeah, because I grew up in a household where you were like, very much discouraged to ask for anything. [00:10:00] It was just cut off, right? I was reading your book and you were telling a story of how when you guys were kids and you guys were trying to go get an extra piece of sheet cake, and so you guys were conspiring. You know, you went to the gatekeeper, the gatekeeper, of course, said, no. And then you went to your aunt, she said, no. But you found your happy uncle who said yes, and then, of course, the sheet cake was gone. Right.
You talk about how as kids, we used all of our creativity to get what we want. I think to a certain extent, we have lost our ability as adults to know the ask. Whatever constraints we put on us as kids or even in our adult lives, some of those barriers are invisible, but they're real to us. So, what is the ask? What is so freaky about the ask, whatever it is you're asking for, whether it's promotion or whatever?
Dia Bondi: So, there's a chapter later in the book. I actually can't remember what number it is. I think it's six. I believe it's because we conflate rejection with worthiness. When [00:11:00] I think about anybody, not just women, but any of us go to actively ask big enough that we threaten getting a no, we tie up our worth and worthiness in the response that we get.
The obvious things that we're going to ask for are money. That's pretty obvious, right? I don't care if your audience are agency owners or creatives who are putting a number and a scope on a proposal and sending it off, and it gives them that feeling in their stomach. Or if you're talking to your boss and asking for a raise, or you're heading into a salary negotiation. Money's pretty obvious, right?
I want everyone to get quote-unquote paid what they're worth. But what we want to do is we want to actually ask big enough that we touch the ceiling of what's possible that comes in a no. But we also at the same time say that if we get told no, then we must not be worth what we've asked. Worth is agnostic to people's responses. Your worth and worthiness is 100 percent infinite. It's about your inherent youness. It's about your humanity.
So, instead, what I learned from the world of auctioneering is [00:12:00] that, and my clients would say, and I extract all of this from just lessons of doing this work, clients would say, I want this piece of art to go for 10 grand. I'm like, look, I'm going to sell it for above the reserve. We're going to name what that is, which is the minimum we'll take for whatever somebody in the room values it at. And in that way, I've sold things that were way over what I would think it's worth and way under what I would think something is worth.
Worth is a slippery slope. Stop deciding what something is worth as an absolute and stop tying that to your sense of worth and worthiness. Instead, we can think of it as price, or what somebody will do or say, is a way to see how someone values something and where they value it, not a way for us to extract, measure, or define our own worth or worthiness. What we're looking for are ways for there to be an intersection between how we value something and how someone else does. And if it doesn't hit, it doesn't hit. It's not a commentary on your worth or worthiness. Period.
Now, you as creatives might be in the world of pitching. You need to tell a great story. You need to do the work to demonstrate value in a way that [00:13:00] resonates with the people you're talking to. My rates change monthly. Every quarter I do for a nonprofit, I do a super low bono. Sometimes it ends up being a totally pro bono engagement, a keynote, or a workshop. Okay. But if you're going to hire me for a stage, it's 25 grand. So, what am I worth 25 grand or zero? The answer is neither.
Erik Martinez: And that's hugely important. Our audience is a mix of business owners and CMOs and directors and practitioners, right? And what you're talking about affects every single one of us regardless of the role we have. We are asking other people for things. Whether it's an employer-employee relationship or a negotiation.
Dia Bondi: Let me just jump in and say like, you are not socks. Okay. A pair of wool socks, you kind of have a gut of what that should cost. You're not wool socks. Okay. You're not a wall of socks hanging in [00:14:00] Marshall's or Ross or whatever you have where you live. This is about the context that you are in right now with the people that you are having a conversation with, with what you've decided you would say yes or no to based on where you want to go in your business, in your career, in your life. The context is so completely unique. The market that you're in at that very moment is so completely unique to that. Stop comparing yourself.
Now you need to do some market research. I get that. What can somebody expect to pay for, you know, an hourly copywriter? That's fine. But I know people that charge 250 bucks an hour and people who charge 50 bucks an hour. And those people were the same person at one point. You know what I'm saying?
Erik Martinez: Yeah, I totally do. Yeah, totally do.
Dia Bondi: Are they worth more now? No. Their worth is infinite from the beginning. So, when you go back to the question of like, what is the ask and what holds us back? My belief is that we stack too much meaning in the answers that we get. And that prevents us from going to get a no because if I get a no, I must not be worth it. That's number one.
The story you're talking about, the sheet cake is the opening story in the [00:15:00] book where I say, this book is for your tiny genius. That tiny genius who wanted sheet cake ran up against a couple of walls. We're told no. Ended up with a treat that wasn't sheet cake, but met the need from the fourth ask you made. We used to have that ingenuity and it gets kind of dehydrated out of us because stakes are really high. Now, the second question is what is the ZOFO?
Erik Martinez: Yeah.
Dia Bondi: The ZOFO. The ZOFO stands for the Zone of Freaking Out and it's the place where all the potential is, and every ask that lives in the ZOFO is the ask that is more than you think you can get, between that and the actual no. Okay. So, when somebody says to me, I'm going to put a price on this project. I'm going to charge 25 grand for this project. And I say, okay, is that in your ZOFO? If they know what it is, they'll say, not really, because I'm pretty sure they're going to say yes. I'm like, great. What's the ZOFO number? [00:16:00] And if they say, well, I don't know. And I say, how about 40 grand and they get that feeling in their stomach because they're like, they would never go for that. Now, we're on to something. Now, we're in the ZOFO.
I like to flip the idea that the Zone of Freaking Out is the Zone of No Guarantee because it's the zone where you're like, I don't know, they might throw me out of the building. They might just say, no, not that, and then have a conversation about what does work. But what it does do is it puts us in that state of, Oh no, they'll never go for this. In that way, it is our own personal ZOFO. It's also where all the potential is.
Erik Martinez: That's a little bit of a choice too, right?
Dia Bondi: Hells to the yes.
Erik Martinez: It's a choice on either side for those companies that we work with that sell product. It's like Hey, I could sell this product for a hundred dollars and I can sell a hundred of them, or I can sell ten of them for a thousand dollars. The value is to a different group of people. You talk about that in the book, but now I'm going to stop monopolizing your time because Tim's going to get very angry.
Tim Curtis: Tim, you're up. [00:17:00] All right. Let me kind of pivot a little bit. Obviously in the book, and I think this has been a theme in your practice well before the book, you talk about the importance for people to find their authentic voice. Legitimately, one of the things in coaching sessions or in one-on-one with client executives, one of the things that has come back before when that subject has come up is how do I find that voice? I have so many voices in my head, which one is the authentic one? At your most basic, you understand what they're asking and it is a tough question. It's something that you really have to be prepared to think about. I'd love for you to go a little bit deeper in that aspect of the voice.
Dia Bondi: Okay. So, let me just say, I don't deal in authenticity very much. Dreamforce is happening right now, so I work with a bunch of executives at Dreamforce getting ready for their keynotes. Product marketers write their script and then they need to make it their own and make it sound like them, so they can be authentic. And I'm like, what does that mean? And too often it means be comfortable.
And I'm like, well, what it takes to actually have impact might mean you have to actually grow your [00:18:00] range. And that is going to be, I don't like the word uncomfortable in that context, unfamiliar. Which is going to feel inauthentic, but it is exactly the thing that makes me go, who the hell is that?
Tim Curtis: Yeah.
Dia Bondi: Okay. I understand what the desire is and question around authentic voice. I don't use that language very much, a little bit here and there, but it's tricky. Okay.
Tim Curtis: It is tricky.
Dia Bondi: Yeah. And when people say, I want to be able to use my authentic voice, when I say, what do you mean by that? They don't even know. Now, what's really interesting about the idea of my work being about helping leaders and VC back founders who are often first-time founders, although that's not true in my client portfolio right now I have somebody who's a second and third-time founder, but find my voice is not a phrase I ever used in my practice ever.
But on exit debriefs, we learned that that's what leaders were talking to me about what happened in our work together. Okay. So, I love the question, how do you [00:19:00] find your voice? Look, leadership is boring. Erik's laughing. But talking about leadership is boring. It's all these platitudes that are like way up here. It's not action-oriented. I'm just like, I die.
So, I have a framework for this. It's not just a matter of thinking, you can actually do some prompted exercises to help you develop something I have named the Platform Map, which is like a compass that is not necessarily content that helps you go, Oh, that's so me, and use it to inform how you show up, how you talk about what matters when the stakes are high in critical conversations, critical presentations, client pitches, keynotes, industry events, et cetera, in all hands internally, how you show up and guide your ELT, executive leadership team meetings, whatever, and it has four components.
So, I'll start with the first one, which is always where we start, which is purpose. And it's not like, what is my last purpose in this [00:20:00] company? It's not a mission statement for the business. Okay. And it's also not something you choose. It's something you're already doing. So, we always look backward to articulate the four components of your Platform Map from your already existing experience. We harvest it from your existing self, from your personal history. When you think about finding your voice, it's more about naming and claiming what you already do and making it go from implicit to explicit.
Okay, so there's four components purposes first, and when I think about purpose it's an impact kind of outcome statement. I am here to, so that, and it is regardless of your role. Erik before we pushed record you shared that you are a fast-pitch coach, right?
Erik Martinez: Yep.
Dia Bondi: Your fastpitch coach, and so, what you're doing on the field with your team is likely a lot of how you show up and tools you use and internal mental models and what you listen for in your leadership. [00:21:00] We are who we are, who we are, everywhere we go, so we want to draw on that. So, a purpose platform statement has two components. I am, so that, or I am here to, so that. Again, agnostic of your job.
So, for example, some of my clients, I've just developed one with an executive last week, which sounds like this, are you ready?
Tim Curtis: Mmm hmm.
Dia Bondi: Also, this is not content. This is for you to have and go back to when you're stuck and you go, how do I speak this in a way that makes sense to me? Where do I put emphasis? Where do I find example stories that bring the story to life? How do I source my own voice and bring it to the table when it matters?
This one executive, hers sounds like this. It's something like I am the power smasher. Yes. I mean, this woman runs product for an enormous industry. Okay. I'm the power smasher that lets workflow. And that comes from her 20 years platforming a big part of her leadership is about [00:22:00] platforming other voices regardless of where they sit in the hierarchy. It's about challenging assumed hierarchy where it doesn't exist. When she and I say it, we know what we mean.
So, we can look at her scripts, we can look at how she's going to go into this big conversation in FinTech with partners with whatever and go, what are you going to do to show up in a way that people understand what you're about even implicitly, and how does that inform how you talk about trends you're noticing in the industry? How are you going to find an example here of what you observe that is uniquely yours as an executive in this space? Is this an opportunity to make an observation that's power smashing observation? So, she can be like, Ooh, look at this. This is a power-smashing opportunity. That's so me, right? That's so me.
Tim Curtis: Then she steps into it.
Dia Bondi: 100%. I have a purpose platform statement that is so integrated into who I am. I designed it 10 years ago, and it helps me when I'm feeling like a teeny tiny version of myself. I go, Dia, just be the earthquake. And I can go, Oh [00:23:00] there I am. There I am again. If you are an earthquake, how would you open this conversation? And I know what I mean by earthquake. It's not destructive. It's that kind of tremor that goes. What was that? That was kind of fun.
Tim Curtis: Everything stops. Everyone pays attention. Yeah.
Dia Bondi: Yeah. Something just shifted. Did you guys feel that?
Tim Curtis: Yep.
Dia Bondi: That's what it is. So, when I'm like, Dia, you're being a small little teeny tiny version of yourself. Stop biting your tongue. It also helps me go, guess what? Because not every moment needs your leadership voice. Sometimes you being a leader means shutting up because not every moment needs an earthquake.
Tim Curtis: Right, right.
Dia Bondi: So, we develop first, from your past experience, we harvest it from your peak experiences, what drove you and created those peak experiences. We find themes in those and then we articulate a purpose platform statement that you can go, yes. And what we're looking for is that it's resonant and true, period. You can look at it and go, that's so me. And by the way, this platform app came [00:24:00] out of thousands of coaching hours.
When founders come to me, particularly, they ask four critical questions that inform how this got built. Platform Map happened because I was working with a client going through my regular routine with people, but it's very bespoke and intuitive how I've worked so far. And a couple of years ago, I had just finished an engagement with a client and we buttoned something up. I have it actually on my wall over there.
I was looking at it and I was like, Kim, look what we just did. I was like, I think what we've done here, this is basically your platform. And this is like the product of our three months of work together. This is like a map that you can use going forward as you think about going into your series C, as you think about scaling your product organizations, as you think about how you're going to start talking to the industry publicly about what you're shipping in the world. It's like a map, but it's also your platform. It's your platform map.
Tim Curtis: There you go.
Dia Bondi: So, it starts with purpose and then it goes to provenance, and then I'm going to shut up. This is about your braggables that help people know [00:25:00] who are you and why you. And this is not about well, I've been 30 years in this industry and we've won seven medals. It's braggables, but it's first who you are that makes those braggables have context.
I'll give an example, would you like an example for this one? So, I worked with a guy two years ago, getting ready for an event called Money 20/20. I don't know if your audiences know about this. It's a very big financial services event. Anyway, Money 20/20. He was going to be participating in a panel as the sponsoring organization with two global athletes that we're going to be talking about their entrepreneurial journeys, wealth building, et cetera.
He's kind of new to the industry and he was like, what am I doing here on this stage? I'm the sales guys for the software company that's sponsoring this event. I mean, he's done some really incredible things, but he's like, what am I going to say? I'm just going to get up here and say, I'm here not because you know, I'm a gold medalist or because I was MVP multiple times in a row. And I'm not an athlete. I'm here [00:26:00] because I helped with a really big bank merger. He had made big moves in business, but that doesn't really tell anybody who he is and what he's about. These two other world-class athletes, everyone knows what they're about. They know what their sort of drivers are.
And so we identified that like his provenance, meaning his origin of all of his accomplishments came from the notion of wanting to be part of something significant. He could point to his accomplishments as moments where he was delighted and proud of having been part of something significant, threading that directly to this moment in time right now is just coming out of the pandemic. Inflation was nuts. Everybody was looking for squeezing margin, trying to make more with less, simultaneously trying to have a personalized experience in this space that he's in with large banking institutions, large financial institutions.
And he was like, and here we are at a time again, where I [00:27:00] have the privilege of helping this moment, which is so significant, be a moment where all of you can be successful. It was like a perfect dovetail. And it helped him brag about his accomplishments in the context of who he is. People talk about their origin story, right? What's my origin story or my founder story? This is the other thing. And it's just a parade of like on your left, I have this accomplishment, and on your right. It means nothing to us because it doesn't tell us about who you are.
So, when a leader or founder can articulate their own provenance story in a way that feels aligned to their drivers and what led to those accomplishments, they can speak about it more naturally and we can get into relationship with that leader more quickly. When we know who you are, it's easier to be impacted by you. So, those are the two top components of the Platform Map that are about the who of you.
And then the bottom half is dedicated to the what. What are you about? And that's when we get into point of view and playbook. Which is, in your industry, what kind of transformation do [00:28:00] you want to cause in the world? I had a client. He's in the world of utility upgrades. He has a construction company, huge, big stuff, construction company. But when we identified his point of view on playbook, turns out he's all about culture, and that the construction industry could benefit. The way he's had success is to focus on culture, not tractors. It's not abstract. It's really concrete.
Tim Curtis: Yeah. I mean, you're going through things that are by their very nature, extremely concrete. I think one of the things that jumped out at me, and I actually went and wrote this down. We are so important that we received a pre-copy of this book. Just the first time I've ever had one like that.
Dia Bondi: You got an unfinished manuscript, didn't you?
Tim Curtis: We did. Which I was like, Ooh, kind of feels like, you know, you're reading Harry Potter before it's published. But in that, you talk about the nuance of your work, but what really sort of triggered to me that, aha, this is a kindred spirit, she is my people is you talk about that interdisciplinary approach that you took. You know, your curiosity about the world, how you went out and looked [00:29:00] for frameworks from different disciplines and you stepped outside of just your pure communications role, and that sometimes the echo chamber that is the industry or the space we work in, and you found learnings from other things like auctioneering, and that gave you new ideas, fresh perspectives. It really made you think in a different paradigm.
When you're coming together with a platform map, you're coming at this, you can really kind of sense and tell how that exercise or that discipline of going outside of that comfort zone and looking at other things and bringing that perspective and how that must have really, really played a huge part in shaping this.
Dia Bondi: Can I just add to that?
Tim Curtis: Absolutely.
Dia Bondi: When folks bring this up that I took a bunch of classes and learned about something called spiritual will writing, which is about writing down your legacy, not about like who gets the couch and who gets a diamond ring, but like your actual hopes and dreams for the next generation, to pass on your values, to tell core stories that matter to you, an opportunity to [00:30:00] apologize. It's about passing on the intangibles.
That was really powerful and it informs what I'm listening for in a point of view and playbook component of the platform map because I want to understand what transformation you're trying to cause in the world. From your perspective as a leader in your domain, how do you imagine us engaging, like, how do we actually start to instigate that transformation? And that has nothing to do with stock options. It is to do with like kind of your legacy.
I have discovered from doing this weird thing, going like, I learned about the thing called spiritual will writing, I'm gonna go take a workshop on that, I have found that people are dying to talk about and find ways of weaving into their everyday work, the legacies that they want to leave.
I have one leader, runs an enormous nonprofit part of a global brand. I don't know what their budget is, a billion dollars in philanthropic work. Anyway, the way he's caused the transformations that he has caused and wants to continue [00:31:00] was recognizing that while every initiative needs a business model, it must be paired with a trust model. Okay.
And his whole topic in there was about trust economics and recognizing that it doesn't matter how great your business model is if you don't recognize the components of the trust model that you need to pair with that in order to action it, you're just going to be beating your head against the wall. And this infuses everything he does, and he just didn't have the words to say it. You know? We went round and around and around with it. Once he hit it, it was like, what a freaking relief. You know, I was like, are you talking about the economy of trust, like the economics of trust, like trust economics? And he was like, Yes!
Now that didn't come from me, that came from him. But bottom line is, because I have stepped outside of my discipline and learned about other things and seen how resonant things like spiritual will writing is, it's let me double down on pursuing the [00:32:00] more intimate and connected conversation with my leaders and not keeping it surface level. It's given me the courage to do that, to go like, I know that you're all about business on the surface, but let's close the door and sit down for a minute. It's emboldened me to do that and take that risk of being like, let's go deep a little and get closer to one another than maybe you expected we would in our coaching engagement.
I guess I share that for folks who are listening, whether you're a creative or you're in a business place, or maybe you're a master in agile management, or maybe you're a data scientist. I just want people to recognize that when we follow our curiosity, step outside our domain, and learn something that isn't even domain-adjacent, you can draw on that and bring it back into the work that you do every day in a way that keeps you alive, that lets you see unlikely connections that can work like little teeny tiny innovations for you.
Erik Martinez: That is so cool.
Dia Bondi: Sorry, Tim. I know that wasn't a question, but I just went off. So, there it is.
Tim Curtis: You're [00:33:00] nailing it. I mean, the thing we can do most to help our thinking is actually to disrupt it and to get outside and get different perspectives. It reframes conversations. Neurologically, we know that it grows new pathways. It opens up new lines of thinking. There's areas of our brain that light up that haven't lit up in some time because we're in kind of a rut. So, it's all underscoring the importance of that.
Dia Bondi: Understand, I'm in that right now. I just want to kick every tree when I walked down the street. I am right now in a lull and I'm looking around. I'm like. Oh yeah, cause it's been like seven years, six years since I went to auctioneering school. I know it's because it's time for me to do another weird adventure. So, I'm going to the hills of Montana on a five-day writing retreat with a woman I've never met.
I just was like, yes, because I got to get jarred a little bit. When I feel muted and I get the itchy scratchies, I'm frustrated and feel like I'm staring at the same thing and I'm like, there's a stuckness in my work. It's been happening. I'm six months in and just two months ago I realized like, Oh, it's cause I got to get out of here. You [00:34:00] know?
Tim Curtis: Yep.
Erik Martinez: It's like your own circadian rhythm.
Dia Bondi: Kind of.
Erik Martinez: Yeah. Yeah. So, Dia, you know, you're talking about jumping out into areas that are not in your domain. And one of the things you talk about in the book is confidence, and I think those two ideas are highly related, jumping out of your domain and confidence. In reading the book, it's really interesting because I told you I coach fast pitch and 15 and 16-year-old girls struggle with their confidence. They don't think that they can do what they can actually do.
One of the things we spend a lot of time on is trying to encourage them just to break through that hurdle. Here's the question. How do you get people to be more confident to do things like get out of their own domain and then apply that to their domain of expertise?
Dia Bondi: Your making me think. It's so [00:35:00] innate to me is like kind of how I operate. So, I know I talk about in the book about like we have a lot of assumptions that we need to have confidence before we do a thing. But the truth is that confidence is an outcome of action. It's never a prerequisite. You'll never be confident enough. Okay. But if you need to manufacture confidence enough to be ready to do something like all the practices that you run, all the BP your girls do, like they do all these reps, they do all this work, that is preparation.
Preparation produces confidence, preparation gets you ready to act, action creates confidence, and then that feeds back into action. So, there's like a flywheel effect, but the manufacturing site, the production building, the production line for confidence is preparation to act.
When I take a stage in auctioneering, even I'm like, [00:36:00] I can't say I feel that confident, but I have a belief that I'm prepared enough to do it. I mean, think about it. The first time you jumped off a high dive when you're a kid or the end of the dock in an open lake or on the side of a boat, you know, in open waters or I don't know what you feel, Oh my gosh. And then you do it and you're like, Oh, I'm going to do that again. Because confidence came after the act, not before.
So, I think the first shift, and I don't know how to connect this to domain, you know, bringing it back to your domain, but I will in a second. The first thing we've got to do is notice if you're a person right now feeling like, I got to get out of here. I need to expand my thinking. I need to bring tiny innovations into what I do every day by doing something completely different for a minute. I don't know what it is for you, learning to woodwork, taking a flying class, getting into a ballet class for the first time in 20 years. I don't know what it is for you. Backpacking again. I don't know. Notice all my things are kind of adventurous. I told you, connected experiences and adventure.
Erik Martinez: [00:37:00] I just started yoga, okay, and I am not a flexible person.
Dia Bondi: See? Like whatever it is.
Erik Martinez: And I can tell you, it is painful.
Dia Bondi: Yes.
Erik Martinez: But I've been doing it now three weeks with a personal trainer and it's getting easier.
Dia Bondi: Yeah. And I'm curious what you might discover about yourself and how you coach your body into certain positions or the coaching you receive might be useful in how we talk to one another when we're in the middle of a creative frustration. Interesting, like, I don't do a lot of yoga. I've done core power a few times when I was doing a lot of obstacle course racing and CrossFit lifting and whatever. And I would take one core power every week.
I had this one instructor who would say things like, open the back of your neck, feel the back of your body, and to bring awareness into parts of my space that I couldn't. And I was like, Oh that is something I can use in the way in which I coach live presentation coaching for the executives I work [00:38:00] with. Where they hyper-focused their awareness in one area that if they expand their awareness, what might be prompts that I could use in my practice that puts their awareness in an unlikely place and lets them widen their peripheral vision, so to speak? So, maybe that's an example of how you might take something that you've stepped away to learn and bring it into your everyday practice.
To close the loop on confidence, one is we've got to follow our curiosity if we're going to step out of our domains. We have to trust that confidence will come after we engage in the action. I'm about to go on a five-day writing retreat with a group of women who are all novelists. I am a nonfiction writer. I took a one one-woman show writing class in San Francisco when I was pregnant with my first kid. That was 17 years ago. I've never engaged in developing the craft of writing.
Although thank you. You said that my book was well written. I appreciate that, but I want to develop that craft and I [00:39:00] am going to feel like a teeny tiny person in that writing circle. I'm going to hold on to my earthquakiness while I'm there, and I'm going to trust that on the other side of those five days when I develop a practice, I'm going to build confidence in writing, period.
So, following your curiosity, trust that confidence will come after action, and doing whatever you need to prepare for that action so that you can actually believe you're ready to take it. Being ready doesn't always mean that you're also confident. And then secondly, once you've engaged in that exercise, whether it's art or learning how to do data visualization, to ask yourself, what here might be useful to me in my professional life? What here might be? How might I use this? And you might be surprised at the answers you get.
Erik Martinez: It's absolutely amazing, Dia. I think there's a lot of lessons to be learned there. We can probably talk about this for another two [00:40:00] days, just that one topic.
Tim Curtis: Yeah. It'll be really interesting to hear how things go with the writing retreat. You know, the application of that again in an unfamiliar space where you're kind of at that precipice and you're kind of leading into something new.
Dia Bondi: Good news for you and for your listeners, because I create a lot of content in and around my world of communications in Ask Like an Auctioneer. Folks can go to diabondi.com and go to the resources page, I'll send it to you for your show notes, and find the purpose platform exercise. They can walk themselves through those resources there. I do a lot of content around all my professional work.
But just this week I launched a Substack. Which is going to be my super unofficial writing zone where folks can listen to me go on the journey of developing my craft of writing behind the scenes. It's called Far-Fetched because some of the ideas I'm going to write about might be a little bit far-fetched. I'm excited to actually talk about the very thing that we're discussing right now. Like, what is this for me to go learn this thing in a way that I can [00:41:00] talk about publicly instead of just over the dinner table, you know?
Tim Curtis: Right. Yeah. I'll definitely subscribe.
Dia Bondi: Thanks.
Tim Curtis: As we kind of wrap up here. Let's hear your pearls of wisdom. What are your one or two takeaways that you really, really, really want people to walk away from?
Dia Bondi: From our conversation?
Tim Curtis: From our conversation today? Yep.
Dia Bondi: Well, the first one is kind of where we started that you do not need to conflate the answers you get in the negotiations you have in the asks, the responses to the asks you make with your own sense of worth and worthiness because that is infinite. It's a signal of misalignment around what's valued, it is not a comment on your worth and worthiness. That's first.
I hope that that idea gives folks the freedom to challenge what they think is possible in an ask they might make, whether you are asking for more money, more influence, an opportunity to stand in front of a [00:42:00] network and speak about your work, a chance to reach out to a mentor, whether you're looking for a promotion or a chance to be the author of more authority in your own life or domain, how you craft your days every day, or you're looking for more balance, bringing into alignment the work that you do every day with who you actually are. There's a million things we can ask for, and when we ask big, it is often that's aided by uncoupling our sense of worth and the responses that we get. That's number one.
Number two is the idea that your voice is already right there, it's not something you have to make up, but naming and claiming your voice from your actual experience and harvested from who you are every day through actually writing down and articulating what matters to you, how you operate, what values you [00:43:00] have, the perspective that you often step into when you need to solve a problem, the transformations that you want to cause in the world and how you see that transformation happening is all part of your voice. It actually is very pragmatic and practical. So when you think about finding your voice, it's actually a little bit misleading. You don't find it, you name it and claim it.
Tim Curtis: Name it and claim it. I like the proactivity of that too.
Erik Martinez: Thank you, Dia, so much. If someone wants to reach out to you, besides going to diabondi.com, what are the best ways to reach you?
Dia Bondi: Best email is firstname.lastname@example.org. If I'm often busy, my ops lead will respond to you and get you connected with me, or you know, respond to whatever requests that you have. I'm also on Instagram @diabondi. I'm not there very much. I sort of struggle with the socials. I gotta be honest. I'm also on LinkedIn. Please link in with me and/or follow along. My DMs are open to folks who connect with me.
If [00:44:00] you're listening to this podcast and you want to actually connect on LinkedIn, you're going to need my email address because I get a lot of spam over there, which is email@example.com. You can always send me an email directly, but if you send it to the hello, you might get it handled a little bit more quickly. You can, I can't believe I'm saying this, but like, you can follow me on the Substacks on the Substacks at Farfetched. Yeah.
That's a lot of ways to reach you. And we really appreciate everything you've given us today. This has been a fantastic conversation. Folks, get the book, Ask Like an Auctioneer by Dia Bondi. It is available now for pre-order everywhere books are sold, so I have been told. And that's it for today's episode of the Digital Velocity Podcast. I'm Erik Martinez from Blue Tangerine.
Tim Curtis: And I'm Tim Curtis from CohereOne. [00:45:00]