Today’s author, David Savage, lives in British Columbia, Canada and loves living among the Rocky Mountains.

He used his career in oil and gas to get the start for his current work and book. His whole life has been helping people with conflicts and negotiation. That knowledge turned into a series of books to help everyone with conflict.

David is also offering to send a free copy of his book tothe first 20 people to email him. Visit his website:


About David

David brings expertise, experience, and leadership including oil and gas, renewable energy, health care, entrepreneurship, stakeholder engagement, business development, coaching, and conflict management. Over a ten-year period, David and his partners collaborated to develop 5 companies and 4 not for profits. Since 2007, Savage Management has focused on building capacity, innovation, and accountability in people and in and between organizations and communities.

Beginning in 2015, David has published seven books and hosted forty-five podcasts on collaborative leadership, negotiation, critical thinking, and collaboration.

Currently, David is;

  • President 2021/22, Rotary Club of Cranbrook Sunrise,
  • Co-Chair, Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group D 5080 (SEBC, E. Washington & N. Idaho),
  • Advisor, The Canadian Energy and Climate Nexus, and
  • Director, Waterton Glacier International Peace Park Association.

His Book

Better By Design – David Savage


Think again – Adam Grant




[00:00:49] Stephen: Hey, wordsmith humans. Welcome to another great episode. I’ve got. The important one for you today? David Savage, who has used his knowledge through business [00:01:00] from his whole life, helping people with conflicts and he’s putting it into a series of books. So this is a good one. We could probably all use some at times, especially.

If we’re in business and negotiating contracts. So it’s a good talk with David. And if you have a need for that, this is a one to go check out before that though. I want to give you a quick listen Kobo writing life. If you are a reader and you’re looking for someplace other than. The main one that people buy books online, check out, cover writing life.

They do a lot for the authors. They do a lot for the readers, so it’d be a good one to find some great books and get something. So here’s Kobo writing.

[00:01:43] David: Hi, I’m Rachel and I’m Joni and we’re from Kobo writing life Cobos free, fast and easy self publishing platform. KWL was built by authors for authors and our team of dedicated book lovers is always working hard to help authors reach new readers around the world. With Kobo writing [00:02:00] life authors can now publish audio books and e-books right in their KWL account.

We don’t ask for exclusivity and you’ll always control your pricing. And up to 16 current. You can also create a pre-order for your audio books or e-books with no date limitations. We have a lot of great opportunities for indie authors, including the option to include your books in our Kobo plus subscription catalog.

And so the regions, as well as break promotional opportunities available in the promotions tab, in your KWL dashboard, if you’re a KWL author and you don’t yet have access to the promotions tab or the audio book tab, email us@writinglifeatkoa.com and we’ll get you sorted. We’re all about providing excellent support.

Create your free account today at kobo.com/writing. If you want to learn more about Cobra writing life, check out our blog podcast and find us on socialist.

[00:02:48] Stephen: Okay. Thank you. And now we’re going to hear from David and the second half for authors. We have, we talk about using your book as your brand, that they aren’t separate. So it’s a good talk with [00:03:00] David. So here’s David with his book better by. Today I’ve got David Savage, David, welcome to a discovered wordsmith podcast.

How are you today?

[00:03:07] David: I’m excited to be here talking to you and talking to your audience. This is a, this is awesome. And love the technology and even the, in these isolated times.

[00:03:16] Stephen: Yeah. It’s especially good for all of that. That’s one of the nice things about the tech 10, 15 years ago, it would’ve been a lot harder with all this COVID stuff.

Tell everybody a little bit about you outside of your writings and things you’d like to do where you live, that type of thing. Yeah.

[00:03:31] David: I live in the Rocky mountains of Southeastern British Columbia, Canada. I actually grew up in Calgary, Alberta, and all my career. I’ve been working to get people to figure out things by themselves.

And my book series of seven books is all about collaboration. So I’ve really found that in my career, which started out in running, starting selling small Canadian, natural gas exploration companies. [00:04:00] And then I moved about 17 years ago to say you don’t, it’s actually about the teamwork, about the people, about the helping to solve the challenges because.

There’s too many great ideas that never actually get launched. There’s too many people that are in the way. And so when I realized my skills and experience in oil and gas as business development, negotiation, conflict resolution are transferable to every industry, in the last 17 years.

Working with a tourist organizations family practice health care, renewable energy, wind farms. It’s all fun. And I guess, why do I do it? This is my purpose. This is what I love to do all my career. And I, Stephen now I have five wonderful grandchildren, so I really want to assist and guide and coach people and organizations [00:05:00] to make a better shared future.


[00:05:02] Stephen: And with all the grandchildren and probably is makes for really good holidays.

[00:05:06] David: Yes. And the, I just love nature, love forests and mountains, and, they, they would my grandkids see me as kind of a. Mountain guy, who he wants to take them out, out into the mountains, hiking and backpacking, but they’re very young.

So I’ve only had a Quinn and Sarah who are 12 and 14 with me and hiking and going to back country huts. Oh, and Wallace and Scarlet are four, two, and not even one yet. I’m just planting seeds with them.

[00:05:38] Stephen: So with all this that you do and what you do for your purpose and work, why did you want to write, especially a series of books because that takes away time and other things.

Why write it all down and put it in books? Yeah.

[00:05:53] David: Thanks for that question. I hadn’t actually been asked that question in a while, but about 17 years ago, when I started to go out on my [00:06:00] own and write and speak and coach and mediate contract. I got involved with a number of people at the Harvard program on negotiation and wonderful people.

Brilliant work, all of that. But what I said to him is you guys do great work, but you’ve not actually ever done the work. Like you’ve been in university. You’ve been some of the smartest people in the planet. I want to add my business expertise to that. I want to make it real for more and more people.

And I find that in the tone of collaboration, we’ve got increasing speed increase in complexity, increasing polarization in increasing alternative facts. And I guess my thing is two-fold Stephen one is nobody gets to be right, because if you’re right, then that must mean I’m wrong.

What, why don’t we just actually come together, learn what we can from each other and work together better.

[00:06:55] Stephen: Sounds good. So you’ve got a series of books. Tell us what the [00:07:00] series is about and what’s the latest book. Yeah.

[00:07:02] David: Thank you. If I can, I don’t know if you can see that probably not very clear, but that’s my first book and.

If people look it up online or on my website, David, the show notes to perfect. So my one of my brilliant friends I kept on looking at, okay, collaboration is a culture. It’s not an event or a leader calling a meeting to tell you what he thinks you should all be doing. It is a culture. It’s a transformation.

That’s a way we are in. And my brilliant friend, Donna Hastings, who’s a chair of Western Canada, heart and stroke foundation. I kept asking Donna can breakthrough to, yes. I’d like to come up with an acronym because sometimes acronyms land with people and through the research I did interviewing over a hundred people in eight countries for my series of seven books.

One of the things I asked them what’s the barrier to collaborate. And guess what the number one [00:08:00] barrier is it’s shaded on the, on my letters on breakthrough to yes. When your audience looks at that, you’ll see the greatest barrier to effective collaboration is E G O S egos. Oh so I, I’m either a, have to be the, a alpha dog or outside need to show that I actually don’t know what I do by trying too hard.

And why don’t we actually allow leaders to design collaborations and that’s my latest book better by design your best collaboration guide, how to produce better outcomes. Because what I found is my, my first six books are, I really love them because they’re a lot of stories, a lot of assessments, a lot of tools.

And then I figured that’s really nice, but me and you and your audience probably have way more books than we’ve actually been able to read or actually engage with. So that’s where I came [00:09:00] up with better by design. It’s a very thin guidebook to say, Okay. Let’s just make it simple. If you want to put this in your boardroom or out in your, a circle around a campfire, here’s a guide to help you collide, collaborate better.

So it is packed with a lot of insights but it’s really meant a better by design is really meant as a guide book so people can walk through. And I guess I just come back to the fact that. Collaboration, I started writing on collaboration eight years ago, still writing on and coaching on collaboration and conflict resolution together.

And while the words when we go to Google eight years ago, you’d searched collaboration and you’d get like 2 million hits of feeds. Now it’s 25 million hits cause every. It’s almost oh, geez. I wish I would have called it something else because collaboration has now become such [00:10:00] an overused and under understood and under engaged concept.

[00:10:04] Stephen: In the series of what are the other books about? How does it all fit together? Yeah

[00:10:09] David: I will start that answer is when I was talking to my friends at Harvard and my other friends. And I said, I want to write a book on collaborative leadership from a business perspective from 35 years in business.

And then I started searching out, okay, what’s my research. Who’s what’s the marketplace. And even today, if you look for books on collaboration, they’re actually not collaborative book. There are one or two people that have written something. So yes, David B. Savage savages on the title of all my seven books and over a hundred experts from eight different countries, because if I don’t get to be right, as a grandfather, as a father who raised teenagers as a person in the world, I’ve realized.[00:11:00]

I don’t know at all. And the older I get, the more experienced I get, I realize that it’s more powerful not to know, actually, it’s more powerful to simply to listen. So that’s where I come from. And I say out of the seven books yes. Breakthrough to, yes. Unlocking that possible within a culture of collaboration is a lot of 10 step process.

A lot of stories. What went right? What went wrong in my interactions and all those different industries and what I’ve learned, how I’ve continued to evolve and tune it. And then over the process between that and better by design a simple guidebook. I was also like you, I did 45 podcasts and I wanted to keep reaching out to say, okay, what do you think?

What do you think? Tell me about collaboration. Tell me about negotiate. Tell me about a social purpose, what are your ideas? And four of those seven books I’ve recorded and [00:12:00] transcribed. The leaders telling me their stories on those 45 podcasts, because I want to make it approachable. I want to make it easily approachable, economic, so that are available.

Audio ebook and in print. I just, I want to have that source out there so that we can make our future a little better than it might otherwise be. Nice.

[00:12:23] Stephen: And is this a traditionally published or self-help.

[00:12:26] David: In fact as we’ve all known and your readers know the publishing industry just keeps on changing and maybe collapsing.

I had a couple offers to publish from print publishing houses on my first book and sure enough, within about a year and a half that company went bankrupt. I decided I just want the freedom and the ability to write my books, bring them out at a lower cost. And we’ll talk a little bit later in another segment about publishing and living your brand of your book.

[00:13:00] But what I will say is I think writers are artists as well, and I want to control. ’cause some of the content in any book is an editor or a publisher might want to change that. I’ve got friends. Who’ve good friends who had a million dollar advance. And then when I read her book, two years later, when it finally came out, it just wasn’t her.

Yeah, I’d love a million dollar advance. Don’t let me lead you astray. Nobody’s knocking at my well, somebody actually just did ringing the doorbell, but no. So the reason for my self publishing and making it available at a reasonable cost on all three formats is just to maintain control and make it available.

And then with people like you, Steven, make people more aware of it and see how we can collaborate.

[00:13:50] Stephen: So you’ve mentioned a few times about listening to what people said and getting their feedback. How has that feedback? I helped you from the first book to writing [00:14:00] the newest book?

[00:14:02] David: Yeah, the actually the

what’s, I’m thinking about that Arab proverb, if you want to go fast and go alone, if you want to go far, go together. And over my career and over the writing of the seven books. And then I am in the process of writing my eighth book. I found actually slow down. It’s way more important to boat to start on why are we doing this?

Who needs to be included making sure that we embrace conflict and really purposefully even design the setting of where we want to collaborate. No two too many offices have rectangular boardroom. So if you want to do a top down, Steven, you’re going to tell me what we’re going to do in the budget next year.

That probably works. But if we actually want to brainstorm, we bring in the art, we bring in any opportunity to be in nature. We bring in [00:15:00] pencils, paper, scissors, whatever it takes. So opening up. So I guess the a that is my long answer to. We need to design a collaboration based on what your intention is, what the opportunity is, what people involved are.

And certainly people will say, I just want to have a meeting and get on with it. We’ve had a hundred years of having meetings and getting on with it. And what was that? Monty Python skit meetings, bloody meetings. Like we don’t need more meetings. We need more successful outcomes.

[00:15:34] Stephen: Yes.

Good. That’s a good pop culture reference that I like,

[00:15:39] David: please. Pardon me?

[00:15:42] Stephen: Yeah. So where can people find your books and do you have a website tell them that or that?

[00:15:49] David: Thank you. So my books are available in all three formats through Amazon, anywhere in the world. And if you, if your listeners viewers go to David [00:16:00] B savage.com, David B as in Bruce savage.com I’ve got the Kirkus reviews.

I’ve got reviews of all the actually nine books that I’ve published. The other two are about company to company, conflict resolution, then expert insights. But if you go to that website there is lots of resources there and we can, I can ship it from the Kooteny Rockies of British Columbia, but it’s probably more convenient and cheaper for the viewers to actually buy it online.

And what I also want to share actually, an offer. Yeah. Since I believe in collaboration and collaborative leadership. And I don’t think I’ve got it nailed yet. I w I always want to learn and grow like you and our viewers do. What my offer is if any of your viewers want to send me an email and say, okay, here’s something I know about collaboration.

I will just email them a digital copy of my book for first 20 that do that, or [00:17:00] I’ll send them a digital copy because money, isn’t the object here. It’s changing our culture and making our future a better place. And I guess to make that memorable, I talked about egos on the cover of breakthrough D S.

My website, David B. Savage. I just think that’s a powerful name. I thank mom and dad for David B. Savage. Sounds like an authority on something,

[00:17:25] Stephen: right? Yeah, that’s great. Oh, that’s a wonderful offer. We’ll make sure have to have links and mentioned that we’ll point it out. That’s wonderful. So now you’ve written all these books.

What’s your plans for the next one? If you even have any.

[00:17:37] David: Some of the things that I’m working on right now are two books. Actually three books, even if I might on the leadership and business development, collaboration view I’ve been writing articles and speaking, and I’m writing a book.

We’ve the working title in the title on LinkedIn. The article that I posted a few maybe a month [00:18:00] ago is. Turn the great resignation into the great opportunity because we here, whether it’s in America, Canada, France, Peru, we hear about people saying, I don’t want to do that work anymore. I want to do something better.

And too often we talk about let’s just give them an extra two bucks an hour. No actually money doesn’t change people. It’s their engagement, their loyalty, their sense of alignment and purpose with the values of that organization. So I want to take it to that next step is to say instead of simply saying I’ll give you a little bit more money or shorter hours.

Why don’t we make work way more rewarding and way more fun and innovative. So people can say I just can’t wait to go to work. No, this is great stuff. So that’s the development of that is the push to people to say, stop making it so simple. It is complex and people need people. Let me put it the other way around in [00:19:00] my career.

I’ve been successful in hiring and maintaining very innovative groups simply because I hire the people that aren’t asking for the money for. No, money’s nice. Now we all need to buy a car and and maybe that F150 lightening in a couple years, who knows, but that’s not what makes us joyful at work.

So let’s go there and let’s guide leaders and organizations on how to do business with purpose and get attract the best of the best. If companies are having a hard time getting staff. That means there’s a ton of staff out there that are really looking around for a better job, a better work environment.

[00:19:44] Stephen: So let me ask you this, David when you’re sitting down to read a book, what are some of your favorite books and authors?

[00:19:51] David: I just, I love storytelling. So that’s why I’m looking forward to later to be reading one of my stories I’ve [00:20:00] really transitioned from a lot of heavy business books into that.

The authors that can combine business with storytelling, that, that actor, that saying, they’ll never remember what you said two weeks after you said it, but if you’re good, they’ll remember how they felt. Think again by Adam Grant. Yeah, that’s a brilliant book and it’s all about not nobody gets to be right at the end of the day.

I’m in a book club and we’re reviewing a atomic habits by James clear. So those are business books and the little nuggets. So the I think again, just completely aligns with inclusion of diverse perspectives and atomic habits to. When you want to change a habit as an example, gee, I don’t have 90 minutes to go walk in the community for us today, but I could probably put on my shoes and walk for five minutes and then see what happens [00:21:00] and then walk for another five minutes and then walk for another five minutes.

A very tangible, so a combination of atomic habits or your very short, tangible, usable skills. And then things that may make people literally think again check with why you’re doing it. What’s underneath all of this and how you can capture it.

[00:21:22] Stephen: Okay. Where you live, do you have a favorite bookstore that you.

[00:21:27] David: Yeah I’m a huge fan of independent bookstores because is such a culture upon their inner selves. So huckleberry books in Cranbrook, British Columbia Aaron runs it. You just go in there and you just want to surround yourself in books and not leave Monroe books in Victoria. The same thing.

I would just, I love the independent bookstore. Yeah. Yes. The big ones and the online ones like Amazon, that’s great for convenience, if we want to talk about the culture of books, check out a local, independent bookstore. I

[00:21:59] Stephen: agree. [00:22:00] All right. Before we wrap up the first half here, talking about your book tell everybody that’s been listening, why they should go out and get your book and read.

[00:22:09] David: If every one of your projects is successful, every one of your meetings ends up with fantastic, better than expected results. Don’t buy my book. But are actually, I’m not going to say what you would expect me to say next. It’s actually not about the book. It’s not about the 10 steps or the assessments or any of the tools I have in my.

It’s actually building that culture within your group, whether it’s a family, whether it’s a multinational corporation, better by design will provide an opportunity to actually talk through things. So the whole process is actually not about buying the book or not buying the book, but the book will guide you.

For example, we do often skip over, okay, what are our values? Yeah. And do we value, integrity? [00:23:00] Do we value a diversity? Do we value conflict? Those are unheard of conversations in most organizations and most families. And once we have that guided conversation, with, or without better by design or breakthrough, It’s really important for us to lay that foundation of trust and who we are together.

What’s our rules of engagement. So that it’s clear that no longer the old business paradigm of, every quarter, I gotta have promised financial results and I got to achieve greater productivity or whatever. No, all of those things actually are the result of better culture, a better inclusive culture of collaboration.

The it’s like money. It will all come when you do it. But if it’s only, if it’s only the short term and the money part, or you’re just going to waste a lot of money and not build much of a fan base.

[00:23:55] Stephen: Great. Hey David, thanks so much for sharing that. Appreciate it. I hope [00:24:00] there’s some people that go out by your book, find it interesting that they need it.

Okay. Sounds like a good book for people in business, people in families, everybody.

[00:24:12] David: Yeah. It’s it is really a culture in a shift. It’s really an opportunity to actually slow down so that we can be way better and social purpose, creating shared value critical thinking there seemed like so such common sense.

But maybe once in a while, we need a reminder about no, w we need to actually listen and devise and plan together.

[00:24:35] Stephen: Great. Great. Thanks. Appreciate that.