The Level Up Leader
Episode - 6

The Power of Proximity with David Dickinson and Michael King

Disconnection is making workers feel lonely and isolated, that their colleagues don’t care about them and that they’re replaceable, according to the Airspeed/Workplace Intelligence report that surveyed 800 C-suite leaders and 800 workers in March.

Disconnection is making workers feel lonely and isolated, that their colleagues don’t care about them and that they’re replaceable, according to the Airspeed/Workplace Intelligence report that surveyed 800 C-suite leaders and 800 workers in March.

A majority see their work as solely transactional: 52% of workers reported they’re only in it for the paycheck.

CNBC reports that being disconnected and lacking proximity are the #1 factors for resigning. This was an issue before covid, but now it’s worse. 

Regarding proximity, today’s guest is doing what he can to make sure this isnt an issue within his company.

On today’s podcast, I am joined by David Dickinson. David is the founder and president of Bankers Compliance Consulting. Bankers Compliance Consulting has been making an impact for over 30 years.  Dave is an active educator and a highly respected and sought-after leadership guru throughout the industry.  

I enjoy talking to Dave because he is a no-nonsense leader.  He is passionate about what he believes, and he does what he can to make sure that no one on his team is left guessing what he is thinking. He makes connection a priority.  He also pauses long enough to recognize that human capital is his greatest asset and to ensure his team is cared for. A leader that recognizes this will never lose. 

Please stop by the Level Up Leader Group on Facebook and interact with Dave.  

A special thank you to our featured Artist, Names without Numbers, for allowing us to use their music.  We decided we wanted to feature music that I produced on the that’s pretty cool.  

To find out more about everything we’re up to, check us out at, and don’t forget to join our Facebook group at

Where to find Michele:

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Michael King  0:00
disconnection is making workers feel lonely isolated, that their colleagues don’t care about them and that they are replaceable. Now, CNBC reports that being disconnected and lacking proximity are the number one factors for resigning. This was an issue before COVID. But now it’s even worse. Now regarding proximity. Today’s guest is doing what he can to make sure that this is not an issue for his company. Welcome to the level of leader podcast I am your host, Michael King. I’m an executive coach and founder of teams dot coach, I work with sea level leaders to clarify and expand the vision elevate performance, and level up their leadership. On today’s podcast, I’m joined by David Dickinson. David is the founder and president of bankers compliance consulting, bankers compliance Consulting has been making an impact for over 30 years. Dave is an active educator and a highly respected and sought after leadership guru throughout this industry. Now in full disclosure, David is a client. But I wanted to feature David because there are just a few people that you meet throughout your life that you want to make sure that everybody gets a chance to know. So please welcome David to the podcast.

Dave Dickenson, thank you so much for hopping on the level up leader podcast, very excited to have you with us today.

David Dickinson  1:34
It’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Michael King  1:36
So good. So we’re gonna dive in a little bit into your story here today. We’re gonna talk about some best practices and also some best revelations within your leadership. I love about your stories, because you’re a highly charismatic leader. You’re your personality and your your blast radius is absolutely transformational. It’s big. But then you also have this really big relational burden when it comes to leading your organization. Talk to me a little bit about when what happened or what was what was the big green lights that that appeared in your life that made it apparent to you that you needed to start leveling up your leadership?

David Dickinson  2:14
Yeah, I sucked as a manager. And I lost another good person. And I realized it’s not them. It’s me. So gosh, that’s that’s pretty harsh truth. But it was somewhere around 2008. I think it was, had been already in business since 93. So 15 years of a revolving door of staff, and you’ll probably never hear me use that word again. Because I learned that their team members and that staff has an infection. You can quote me on that.

Michael King  2:49
Yeah, we’ve we’ve learned that along the way. You just don’t You don’t use the word staff. When you’re hanging out with words, the

David Dickinson  2:54
fact that we’re talking about that communication words matter to me. But yeah, there was a time there where I realized, alright, I’m doing something wrong, because it’s not all these people. And I realized I needed help. And, well, you want me to get into solutions this point, or? I mean, that’s, that’s really what it was. I thought I need some help. And I started reading some leadership books.

Michael King  3:17
Yeah, you came to a place to where it’s all sudden, you recognize you know what, I have to level up my game here. I have to wait, I can’t do this alone. So yeah, so what did you do to start leveling up your your leadership,

David Dickinson  3:28
I basically started reading some leadership books and included Lencioni, one of my favorite authors, Patrick Lencioni, Dave Ramsey, just came out with a book about that time called entree leadership. And there was some principles in there that I think I probably heard him on the radio talking about, I ordered the book, and it just really spoke to me matched my style. I’m not maybe quite as harsh as he can be on some things, but I can be pretty unabashed and speak like it is if you’re gonna walk into a really bright light, and all of a sudden see all these ugly warts, if you will, on me of things that I had to change to get better. And that’s where it started. So and then yeah, I love that well in in that course, I mean, that includes bringing you on as a coach now. So I’m always I guess, looking too good to great. That’s what we call it good to great. Let’s keep getting better.

Michael King  4:22
Yeah, absolutely. And I you know, I love that about your, your temperament and your character, by the way, in that and I’ve seen that to be incredibly consistent with you by the way this this, this thing that happens within your life to where you have this moment of, you have an aha moment of self revelation moment to where you go, you know what I think I need, I think I need to improve something. But then you you haven’t been afraid to take to take steps. And I you know, and that’s what I want people to hear from this is that is that every leader you’re going to have those aha moments in which you have to you have to recognize something’s got to change in order for me to get a different result. And that’s where I’ve seen you even with the burden of running have a pretty successful organization and also a really high, high performing team, that even a leader like you can humble yourself and go, You know what, there’s something better for me here, what I needed to establish.

David Dickinson  5:12
It starts with that. I mean, I guess as a leader, one of my many keys to success is admitting the weaknesses and hiring people that are strong in those areas, whether it’s also on any committee that I serve on any board, those kinds of things. I’ve never met anybody that’s good at everything. Right. So yeah, it’s not to say, Michael, here’s your faults. It’s, Hey, Michael, here’s an area that I think I can help the team with your weakness and advice, and you have to be careful, you obviously have to have trust there. But if I know my weaknesses, and so I hire people that are good at those areas, together, we’re better than right. I mean, that sounds like a real cliche. But I’m also going to add, I’m not the big goal setter, I don’t do write down goals and achieving I’m not that kind of guy that is always pushing out those types of metrics and things like that. Most of it is, like you said, hiring quality team, and then teaching them what needs to be done making sure they’re lined up. I think we’ll talk more about that. But then ensuring they see the vision. They have the equipment, the tools, the time, etc. And get out of the way. Let him go. And I find that painting will do things probably better than I ever would have. If I’d have just done it. So, you know, the success in a sense is really, and this sounds really cliche, but is the team. But rounding out by admitting I’m not good at and giving permission to people that are good at to fill in my voids. And

Michael King  6:53

David Dickinson  6:55
sorry, good.

Michael King  6:56
Yeah, go for it, go for it.

David Dickinson  6:58
I’m a starter, and I hate finish, right, I hate and all that. So I don’t finish things well. And I get quickly bored. I’m kind of the ADHD poster child, I like to say. So I hire people that finish and I give them permission to tell me, Hey, you don’t get to go home tonight, unless you sign this or finish this or whatever, I have to have people that do that, for me, that hold me accountable to some things, or they’re gonna finish it if they can. So that that’s one of them is it’s projects, I often start but then leave. And I need people to figure it out the rest of the details. And I like going on to the next shiny thing.

Michael King  7:38
As you know, you’ve been working with me for a long time now. So when I say things like, you know, your bandwidth is your greatest asset that you have. Well, the number one area that I see leaders fail in consistently and in this failure always leads to burnout, by the way is that when a senior leader doesn’t recognize that it is possible for them to replicate or bring somebody else onto the team that can do something better than they’re doing it, and then empowering them to do it. And getting out of the way. So kudos to you for being that leader of because it does take a certain level of security and humility and that fine dance of, of basically going there’s, there’s something that I have to go through right here on this in order for me to understand what scalability for my company looks like. And also for me to empower team members to allow them to become something maybe they’ve never thought they could ever do in the first place. So I want to get down to some practical things here for the next few minutes. Right. So you obviously you have you have some leadership principles that have given you significant return. So I want to talk about that. And then I want to talk about what is a personal story that’s attached to these principles. So when I say personal story, I’m literally talking about, you know, how can you talk about yourself? And in the middle of that principle? Or do you have somebody on your team, a story that you can attach to the principle that we’re talking about?

David Dickinson  8:55
So one of the principles I believe strongly in is communication, and we have some sayings around it. One is, you can’t manage what you don’t know. And you’ll hear all sorts that you need to repeat things seven times, stuff like that. I’m just real big on we have to communicate. And that starts with me in the sense of when I started this journey of improvement back in 2008 2010. Somewhere in there. One of the things that I did is I heard about this playbook. I think it came from Ramsey. I’m not positive that but I think it did. And I started articulate. How do we operate? How do we behave? What it wasn’t mission statements, it wasn’t core values, although you might throw those in there. But I started this articulating if I wasn’t around, somebody could read this and probably know what would Dave do in a situation if you will? And yet it’s pretty generic. And it’s kind of like we we value trust. We communicate we talk about Knights of the Round Table we there’s there’s those sanctions, we don’t shoot our wounded, we do shoot sacred cows, these are all like chapters in this, it’s 15 to 18 pages now, of this is how we behave. And I just, I wrote that out and ran it by the team. And then when we have our monthly team meetings where we gather everybody together, excuse me, I would teach from it. I also use it as a hiring tool, because this is who we are. And it’s going to describe our culture. If somebody doesn’t fit our culture, they will be miserable, where we probably miserable for a while to until we let them go. But so I use that as a tool to talk to serious candidates, once I say I felt like this person might be able to fit our team. And we work through that. And I explained to them, this is how you’re gonna have to behave. So if you don’t line up with this. So talking about trust, you know, if you’re not a trusting person, you’re you’re probably not going to make it with us, we are going to be vulnerable, we are going to admit our mistakes and things like that. The other thing I wrote was called the history book. And it’s basically how I how the company was started. And I’ll give you a for instance, in the back of a barber shop on a card table and two folding chairs is how I started my business in 1993. But I just violated a rule. And so as I said, that’s how I started, what I want everybody in our team is to, to know that story so well that they can see themselves sitting at that table, because it’s our story. It’s not Dave did this, it’s we did this. And if I can tell those stories, which again, we try to teach at monthly meetings, then you do you start to say, This is who we are. And so we we say the first day we hire somebody, here’s your story. Now, this is how we did it, how we built it. And that creates this ownership versus a renter mentality. And, and I think that that’s, that’s valuable. So so if I, if I’ve taught this is how we behave, and I’m constantly teaching that. It’s a behavior alignment, one of the things that we ask of all of our team members is that they weekly, write out a weekly report. And it’s not to justify they earned their keep, that’s not the point, although you should be able to justify your and your keep, but it’s something you learned some frustrations, and maybe something personal going on in your life. And those get sent up to the their reports, if you will to the key leaders in our organization. And then they reply back and copy me on those. So I get to see every single one of our team members, what’s going on their life. Now there’s a responsibility when you have that if somebody’s dog died, you’d better be calling them. I mean, I just read these a lot them off, right? So we’re following through on those things. And it’s, it’s been amazing to see how you can walk through life. And we That’s another one of our sayings, we’re not doing business together, we’re doing life together. And so that comes through with those weekly reports. And, and then obviously, my direct reports, and then I respond to them. And we usually write those either Friday afternoon or Monday morning, kind of like the Monday morning, here’s what happened this weekend is why, you know, some of the kids activities are worked on this, that kind of thing, just personal stuff that gets added in there. It’s not all work. And so there’s a two way communication that’s always happening, I can’t manage what I don’t know.

Michael King  13:32
And you do you do learn along the way, you know, like you didn’t, you didn’t just wake up one day and just go you know what, I’m gonna put together a playbook. I’m just gonna put together a playbook just to know this came out of this came out of a sense of burden of alignment. There’s there’s something that happens in an organizational leader, when they when they start to recognize this thing is bigger than myself. And if I want to create the culture, that is the culture that I want, I’m going to have to start to define it a bit, and what I love about what you’ve done, and I might have even actually stolen some of your best practices along the way as we’ve developed some of the things that we do, because because the senior leader needs to understand vision more than anything else. And so vision is what we see mission is what we do. But then they have the values, the things that we are about, and then the behaviors, this is what we do. And what I like about that is that you’ve you’ve invited people into the story, you’ve invited people to be a part of the history context of BCC. And then you’ve literally start to tell them like, Okay, this is how I behave. And this is how I do make my decisions. And this is why I do what I do. And it’s important that you understand who I am as a leader.

David Dickinson  14:40
Absolutely. In fact, I’m going to parallel this a little bit. I have three adult grown children. Nobody lives in the basement. And when I was raising these children, I remember saying, I’m not raising children. I’m raising adults. Now you might go, Where are you going with that story? It’s the same thing true when you hire somebody they don’t really know. They’re doing it right. But we’re training them. And we’re, we’re trying to raise them into being key people that I’m going to be added here in some few years. And I need people that can take over in a sense and understand and and then that’s the other thing is usually admin, this might be where we’re headed. But there’s, there’s other things that people add that I would have never thought of. In fact, Michael, I’ll tell you something, I say this all the time, I’ve never had a great idea. Never. I’ve had some good ideas. And when I express them to team members, or people like you, that circle that I, that I, you know, want to work with those things evolved them. And so the good idea, I’m not afraid to put that down and have somebody say, that’s really dumb. But what about this, or, you know, or, Hey, I think I can make that better, we call it that we stand on each other’s foot, I don’t know who the original author is, I’ve seen, the reason I see so far is because I’ve stood on the shoulders, or the shoulder of giants, right? We like to say, I put a foot down and you step on it, and you become a little taller. And then when somebody else steps on that they become a little taller. And the reason I like that analogy better than standing on the shoulders of giants is some people can get offended and hurt when you step on their foot. So somebody writes an article, and somebody else on our team might rip it apart. But it got a little better. And I can tell you over and over and over how many times I have written an article. And one of our team members took it. And if it was, you know, back in school, a red pin from the teacher would have went across a lot of things. Maybe they maybe this is two articles or three articles, or I don’t think we should go here, I think we should go there. And they send it back to me. And I’m like, wow, this is so much better. And I rewrite it with some of their thoughts, and that maybe thinks makes me think of other things. And we end up writing these position papers where were thought leaders in this industry. And so together, we see further if you want but again, I liked the whole idea of step on my feet, I gave a choice there, I can say ouch. Or I can say Wow, look how high and how far we’re gonna see with this. And that’s really where the great idea comes from that that thought leadership and that evolution.

Michael King  17:17
Though, I love it, I love it. I’m gonna pivot just for a few minutes here as we as we kind of close out today. But first and foremost, thank you for your, for your character and for your heart. And just for your, for your love for your team. I love the things that you bring to the table as a leader. And that’s why I wanted to highlight you and I wanted to I wanted to bring you visible onto this onto the show. Now with this, I want to ask you these kind of these two questions. In closing, the first one is, what is something that is a is a bigger leadership challenge that you’re looking down the pipe and you don’t necessarily know what the solution is yet.

David Dickinson  17:51
One? We’ll just do one today. Okay, yeah, one, you know, I’m gonna say it’s, it’s this. I’m about relationships, you induced me that way that and I said, we’re doing life together. One of the challenges here is this two dimensional versus three dimensional is what I’m calling it, of meetings. And I love that we can meet online instead of just a phone call or just an email. But it’s, it’s still not the same. Yeah, and in the post COVID world, or, you know, people working from home all the time, my team has been doing that since we started really, for the most part, most of us do work from home. But we get we get purposeful. And I don’t know if you can tag this with a previous conversation we had about where I talked about day together day with Dave, or we spend we’re very purposeful about getting together. I don’t see that happening in most businesses. And, and I really feel like there’s going to be consequences down the road. I I truly believe that we’re wired to have relationships. And work is not work as an example of that. Not an exception to that. One of the things we struggle with all the time is what we call the water cooler. We are spread throughout several states. So every Monday morning, we have a Monday morning meeting where we say hey, what’s going on this week in business, but we have people that log in like 15 minutes early, and they have their water cooler, if you will, and we should post him on social media to each other and things like that trying to stay connected. But it’s still difficult that that’s still two dimensional, not three dimensional. And so getting together and eating lunch, sharing things. We pray to promote that all the time as we’re traveling if we get with other team members, things like that. I really do feel like that’s up and I don’t have all the answers to that by any means.

Michael King  19:55
But I’d say it’s it’s going to be a big issue, you know, as as we move forward What are some of the things that we hear about all the time is because because we’re kind of heading into that post COVID world a little bit to where people are embracing the idea that maybe work from home is the best idea. I don’t know that because all the metrics that we get from, from organizational leaders, you know, like, turnover ratio within organizations is the highest it’s ever been. And the history of, of, of our of our working world, the number of percentage of actual functional, psychological and emotional health concerns the existing within corporate space, we have to remind ourselves that proximity is a gift. And, and that but in order for us to take advantage of that, we have to be able to elevate priority. So when we are together, it matters. And I do see you doing that pretty consistently like and I will, what I will do for you, Dave, on this is that we had a phenomenal interview talking about your day with Dave philosophy that we use as a resource for our company. I’m going to put a link to that YouTube video in the show notes. Great, because I want to make sure that people hear that because that is absolutely brilliant content as well.

David Dickinson  21:08
I just wrote down proximity as a gift, I’m going to steal that from you, too. So

Michael King  21:14
steal away, it’s, it’s all yours. So well, awesome. Well, I want to I just want to close out with this is that people will be we’re kind of breaking the fourth wall with this with this, with this program with this podcast. And so we have a, we have a level up leader podcast group that’s on Facebook. And you’ll be you’ll be in the group. And so you’ll be able to actually, you know, people will be maybe shooting some questions off to you, maybe you can engage with our listeners, with this concept you’re talking about today, or maybe even the problem that is still yet to be solved with your proximity question. But outside of that, is there a specific way that our listeners can can reach you?

David Dickinson  21:52
Well, yeah, my mom, LinkedIn, mon, some other I would say I’m not a big social media guy. I probably check Facebook like twice a week. And in fact, this morning, I went into LinkedIn and there was a message from last Wednesday that someone had left me and I, my son just got married, I was off Thursday and Friday is my excuse, but I don’t check it all the time. But really, the thing to do is just just email me directly, Dave at Bankers that you can hit me up by email that way. And give me your contact information. I’d be glad to reach out reached back that way together. We see further right.

Michael King  22:28
I love that. I love that. Alright, fantastic. Dave Dickinson president of bankers, compliance consulting, you are a gem of a person and a great friend as well. So thank you for thank you for being here.

David Dickinson  22:38
Very cool. My pleasure.

Michael King  22:42
So thank you for joining us today on the level of leader podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, consider leaving a review on Apple, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts. It helps you get the word out. And make sure to like, subscribe and follow so you get all of the episodes. Now I enjoy talking to Dave because he is a no nonsense leader. He’s passionate about what he believes and he does what he can to make sure that no one on his team is left guessing what he’s actually thinking about. He makes connection a priority. He also pauses long enough to recognize that human capital is his greatest asset and to ensure his team is cared for a leader that recognizes this will never lose. A special thank you to our featured artists names without numbers for allowing us to use their music. We decided we only wanted to feature music that I produced on this podcast. So that’s pretty cool. To find out everything that we’re up to please check us out at www dot teams dot coach and don’t forget to join our Facebook group at teams dot coach slash level of leaders