A conversation with Hassan Ghiassi, VP of Relationships at Voltage Control and Founder of Aristotle’s Cafe

“I think that’s also a big piece of what is interesting about holding sessions with groups is to see how people relate to each other. I think part of what I’ve noticed is that just someone hearing how someone else is feeling and if it matches them, they almost feel that they spoke it themselves. They don’t have the need to validate it. They already feel that they belong to a group. I think belonging is a really important part of what we need in our lives.” –Hassan Ghiassi

In this episode of Control the Room, I had the pleasure of speaking with Hassan Ghiassi about his almost 20 years of experience holding space to help people improve their ability to communicate effectively, think critically, and at the same time increase cultural and emotional intelligence.  He shares what it’s like to facilitate collective conversations across different cultures. We then discuss why his goal is to help others improve their communication skills and take the mystery out of creating engaging conversations. Listen in to hear why it’s important to create a dialogue habit in your life.  

Show Highlights

[2:15] How Hassan Got His Start Facilitating Collective Conversations

[9:45] How To Help People Shift From Their Hearts To Their Heads

[16:30] Why You Need To Name Expected Outcomes

[20:40] The Common Thread Between Facilitating Different Cultures

[29:50] Why Dialogue Should Be A Habit Not An Intervention

Hassan on LinkedIn

Aristotle’s Cafe

About the Guest

Hassan Ghiassi has been on a mission to improve community, state, and national discourse with Facilitation, questions, communication, and empathy. As VP of Relationships at Voltage Control, he has the exciting role of diving deep to truly understand what our partners and Facilitators are experiencing and how we can best serve them.

About Voltage Control

Voltage Control is a change agency that helps enterprises sustain innovation and teams work better together with custom-designed meetings and workshops, both in-person and virtual. Our master facilitators offer trusted guidance and custom coaching to companies who want to transform ineffective meetings, reignite stalled projects, and cut through assumptions. Based in Austin, Voltage Control designs and leads public and private workshops that range from small meetings to large conference-style gatherings.

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Full Transcript

Douglas:  Welcome to the Control the Room podcast. A series devoted to the exploration of meeting culture and uncovering cures for the common meeting. Some meetings have tight control and others are loose. To control the room means achieving outcomes while striking a balance between imposing and removing structure, asserting and distributing power, leaning in and leaning out, all in the service of having a truly magical meeting. Thanks for listening. If you’d like to join us live for a session sometime, you can join our weekly Control the Room Facilitation Lab. It’s a free event to meet fellow facilitators and explore new techniques so you can apply the things you learn in the podcast in real-time with other facilitators.

Sign up today at voltagecontrol.com/facilitation-lab. If you’d like to learn more about my new book, Magical Meetings, you can download the Magical Meetings Quick Start Guide, a free PDF reference with some of the most important pieces of advice from the book. Download a copy today at voltagecontrol.com/magical-meetings-quick-guide. Today, I’m with Hassan Ghiassi, VP of Relationships here at Voltage Control, where he facilitates and serves the partners that we work with and our wonderful facilitator community. He’s also the founder of Aristotle’s Cafe, where he’s been facilitating dialogues internationally and training others to approach difficult conversations with grace for the past 16 years. Welcome to the show, Hassan.

Hassan:  Thanks, Douglas. Long time no see.

Douglas:  No doubt. No doubt. Oh, man. It’s so good to have you and I’m really excited to lean into this conversation around dialogue and tension and all the good things that we’ve just been digging into in our pre-show chat. But before we get started, I want to just roll back a bit and hear about how you got your start. How did you get into facilitation? It’s always really fascinating to learn about how people find their way into this crazy world of facilitation that we all spend our time in.

Hassan:  Yeah. Thanks for the question. I think for me, my journey starts really young coming from a family where my father’s from Iran and my mom is American-raised Jewish. When I grew up, I was really around a lot of different cultures, flavors, tastes, opinions and I really noticed that in some cases, it was turning out to be good when there was patience and love and techniques in place. Sometimes it wasn’t so good. I think as a younger child in the family, I was always trying to navigate and figure out how I was going to be able to actually hold things together and create peace in the environments that I was moving about. So…

Douglas:  Wow. Really cool. That’s a very formative time as a young man seeing that stuff unfold and starting to just understand the world.

Hassan:  Yeah. I mean, I think and I never applied to be a facilitator. It never was something that I even knew was a profession. What happened for me is that when I was in college, I ended up studying communication and public speaking, and then that led more to actually holding group discussions for students that were my same age and how to have discussions outside the classroom that would let us as students learn more and practice our skills and dive deeper. Those were some of the most important lessons that I’ve ever learned in my life and education that I’ve ever had. Just continued it and just wanted to keep holding those spaces for people.

Douglas:  Yeah. Amazing. When you were doing some of that early group work, what were some of the most memorable moments when you reflect on it? Any of those jump back to you when you think, oh, that was a real pivotal moment for me?

Hassan:  Yeah. I always tell this story in my training when we talk about tension or aggression. I went to the school in the Mountains of Boone, North Carolina. It’s a beautiful area and we also have a lot of differences. In one of the meetings that we had, one of the discussions, there was a conversation about God and religion. There were some people that were very religious and some people that were very atheist. I’ll never forget, one of the guys basically standing up and shouting in the middle of the discussion and I mean, I was 18 or 19 and trying to figure out what I should do in that moment. We found a way, I mean, through some conversational dialogue techniques that I did on accident to settle things down, cool the temperature of the room. Then actually, everyone stayed for the whole discussion. At the end, people weren’t best friends leaving, but they, at least they had a little bit more empathy for each other.

Douglas:  Wow. Yeah. It’s like, as you’re telling that story, I could almost feel it in the, maybe the lower regions of my throat or maybe my chest, just started to tighten up a little bit. It’s like, oh, I’ve been in those situations.

Hassan:  Yeah.

Douglas:  You can, it’s like, man, you, especially when you are young, new, inexperienced, and just thrown into the situation like, oh, here I am. What am I going to do? It can be difficult.

Hassan:  Yeah. I think for me, even when you’re saying that, I think for me the benefit was that I didn’t come from a really quiet or soft-spoken home. When that happened, I was like, this isn’t the worst I’ve seen, but we can make it better. I think that was one thing that I was able to not be too wrapped up in the emotion of it, but still analyze it and figure out in a way.

Douglas:  How would you describe the technique you used as far as the approach?

Hassan:  Yeah. I really think that people don’t have the chance to, sometimes throughout the day, we get emotional about different things. If we’re stuck in traffic or if our job’s on the line or something might happen. I think people just need help practicing in giving space between one emotion and the next. What I did in that case was because the conversation was really at a high level and there were two people that were, especially at odds and getting towards a state that wasn’t healthy.

What I did is I just cued in and I asked a question that brought people more into their heads, instead of their hearts, and I turned it to the rest of the group that was a little bit more civil, relaxed, not as emotionally involved. Then they were able to say their pieces about it and then the two that were highly charged were able to settle in a little bit more and reflect and think about how they wanted to act moving forward without calling attention to them or asking them to stop or highlighting them more. Just letting them be in the group.

Douglas:  It sounds like there’s two things at play there. There’s multiple layers because you didn’t call them out. You gave people something to dig into. But the two things that really jumped out were, you bought some time because it takes time for the energy to shift and also you focused them, you talked about the head versus the heart. It reminds me of an NPR story I heard recently where they were talking about when people are stressed out or overwhelmed that Tetris can be very helpful because it’s a game of control. They’re very specific rules and you put the little pieces in the place where they go. If the world seems to be chaotic and hard to put things in their boxes, then it sounds like Tetris might be helpful and it’s a similar technique to what you did, right. You shifted them to something that was a little more analytic, a little bit more structured, and let’s just, let’s get analytical here versus emotional.

Hassan:  Yeah. I think we don’t always have the chance to do that. We don’t always have someone to interject and I think as facilitators, that was a really wonderful role that I’ve been able to play. I need it too at times, right. It’s just nice to be able to put that hat on and play that role and do that for other people.

Douglas:  Yeah, 100%. I want to come back to the other element because I was picking up on two things. There was one that was the focus piece, what you had them focus on. The other one was buying the time. That reminded me of a school in Dallas called the Momentous Institute. They are a really interesting school that teaches children from Pre-K to sixth grade. They started off as a mental health institute and then they started getting into education because they realized that they’re really going to make a difference in these kids’ lives and the mental well-being that they would need to spend more time with them and need to create more ongoing programs. One of the tools, they had so many great tools in the school. But the one that I thought of when you were sharing your story was this thermometer.

Each classroom had a thermometer in it by the door. If a child got overheated and upset, the teacher would take the child over to the thermometer and they would say, where are you on this thermometer? They would point and say, I’m up here, way up the top. I’m way overheated. Then the teacher would say, okay, just sit with your thermometer until it gets back down. It’s cool because it’s acknowledging the fact that there’s a transitionary period. You can’t just ask the child to say cool it because they can’t flip a switch and immediately be cool. They had to sit there with it and let it settle. Another tool they had was this glitter ball. They’d shake the glitter ball up and that’d be them all frantic, right. They had to watch the glitter settle. It’s meditation, but it’s also the time it takes to settle allows them to transition too. I love that you’re giving them space to let things just cool for a second.

Hassan:  Yeah. I mean, that’s, I’m just thinking to myself, I wish that we had that as adults too. I mean, a lot of times we don’t get that education and I think even the words that people use, I mean, even me, I have a limited vocabulary around my emotional states. It’s either happy, sad, angry. We don’t do a good job describing all the states that we can be in. I think that’s an awesome example of what you just said about the school.

Douglas:  That reminds me of the fact that especially in the English language, there are so many fewer words to describe positive emotions than there are for negative emotions, which I think is, and it’s pretty interesting, right. We’re really good at describing how bad things get, but when it comes to celebrating how good we feel, we’re somehow not so good at describing it.

Hassan:  Yeah. No, I definitely agree. I think that’s also a big piece of what is interesting about holding sessions with groups is to see, well, one is to see how people relate to each other. I think part of what I’ve noticed is that just someone hearing how someone else is feeling and if it matches them, they almost feel that they spoke it themselves. They don’t have the need to validate it. They already feel that they belong to a group. I think belonging is a really important part of what we need in our lives. Sometimes belonging in a negative way is easier than belonging in a positive way. It’s easier to complain about the bad things to people sometimes than it is to sit and enjoy the nice things about life in some moments.

Douglas:  Yeah. Belonging is a really interesting, fragile thing too, right. Because at any moment’s notice, we can quickly begin to feel like we don’t belong. I think that when I hear you talk about the work you do, it really speaks to me around this concern about being tuned in to those needs and even if it’s in a moment of tension, making sure people feel that they can show up.

Hassan:  Yeah. No, I’d agree. That’s another thing too that’s interesting is that sometimes people, when they think of [saltation 00:11:49] or I know there are different ways that people do it and the story that I told you, I mean, I don’t really want to have people standing up and shouting, but I also don’t want us to shy away from tension so much that we don’t have the critical moments that we can overcome things and adapt in those. I think that’s one of the things. Can we belong and still disagree? Can we belong and still have heated arguments in a way or heated conversations or heated dialogues? My answer is yes to that. It’s something that I really have found to be true over all these years no matter where I’ve been. So…

Douglas:  Yeah. It’s something we talked about in the pre-show. You were talking about not overprotecting people, which I thought was a really fascinating concept, especially when you care so deeply about creating a safe place, a safe environment, but then so this notion of not protecting them from the tension, but also making sure we make it safe. I’d love to hear some of your thoughts on what that means.

Hassan:  Yeah. It’s funny, because now I lead more towards describing the spaces that I create as brave because when I started, safe space wasn’t a thing. It wasn’t something that was mainstream. Safe space for people was a reprieve, a place to practice, a place to be themselves, a place to agree and disagree. It’s evolved in a different way now and so now, the wording that I put on is brave because I think bravery is what’s going to get you to become a better citizen, a better human being. It’s tough sometimes. People might show up to these discussions and they might reveal something that they don’t reveal to their closest friend, someone that they love deeply. They might share it with strangers.

On the other hand, they might get into a conversation that to them typically would be an argument in this space, and then it becomes a dialogue, right. It’s facilitated correctly, it’s facilitated in a healthy way. For that reason, a lot of emotions come up. I think that those emotions are transformative and many times those same people that might have had a tough moment will come back week after week and they’ll talk about that transformation. They’ll talk about how that conversation sparked a thought, how that conversation sparked a discussion that they have with someone that they should have had. I don’t want to protect people from breaking through in those moments. I want to embrace them in it and sit with them and accompany them through that process.

Douglas:  When you said brave, the thing I immediately thought of as a corollary or as a nice companion, was this idea of generous, a generous space.

Hassan:  Yeah. I love that too. That’s also a really nice way to put it. When you say generous, what do you mean when you think of it?

Douglas:  Yeah. Well, because I was thinking of this idea of asking people to be brave and if we’re asking folks to be brave, then we also need others to be generous about being willing to accept others and the bravery that others are bringing and being generous about our offerings, right. If we are going to be vulnerable, let’s really be true about that, and put it out there. I think there’s a few different ways you can apply the definition and I think it’s beautiful. I don’t know. I feel like it works in concert with this concept of bravery. It just jumped to me.

Hassan:  Yeah. No, I’d agree too. I think also on that note is another piece that I think about when it comes to that brave or generous space now, is that idea of we don’t have to take things so personally all the time. I might have an idea in that timeframe. It might be true for me then, but our opinions just like us evolve and through the process of sharing them, throwing them into the center, and letting them get tossed around, it’s something that should happen, right. It’s a healthy process to our development. It’s not something that we have to hold and protect and feel so attached to. I really love giving people moments where they can go through that process and flow and evolve in it.

Douglas:  Yeah, absolutely. I think a lot of it is about expectation setting. Folks know going in that we’re going to go to some places that might feel a little uncomfortable and we do it with intention. It’s a little different than if it just starts erupting and then people get scared about, look, what’s happening? I’m not used to this.

Hassan:  It’s funny that you say that, because I even at the beginning of my discussions I have found for a long time I didn’t say it and I would just say, let’s start the discussion. But I added the expectation in, which is, we might start with one question, and with more questions, you might walk away with more questions than answers. I hope you’re ready to take those into the world with you. Just that small piece of uncertainty being named at the beginning and the expectation, it really changed the way people reacted and like you said, open them to those possibilities to happen throughout it.

Douglas:  Yeah. I love that. Naming the expected outcome and being clear about that intention, setting an intention with the group, because I feel like so much of the unhealthy dysfunction, using your term, you talked about critical tension earlier in the pre-show chat, it’s like this unnecessary tension. Not the tension we want. It’s this unhealthy tension. So much of that comes from people not understanding the expectations or walking in with different expectations and being upset that they’re not met and it’s just confusion, right. How simple is it just to get in front of that and say, hey, no, this is what’s going to happen. It’s okay that we’re not going to have the answers. Say, oh, okay. It’s like, I can get on board with that.

Hassan:  Yeah, absolutely. I’d love to know for you, if there was a moment where that showed up strongly?

Douglas:  Wow. Yeah. Well, I don’t know. It’s like, I think for me, it’s been a progression throughout my entire career. I was a CTO for many years, managing lots of engineers and product folks and designers and whatnot. Just realizing that if I don’t set the intention with the group and let them know what we’re doing, then it’s much harder to get them excited about, motivated to do what we’re going to do, right.

Hassan:  Right.

Douglas:  I think I just learned it organically through the years, but I definitely get reminded of it often. If I maybe, I’m asleep at the wheel or don’t do such a good job of setting things up for success, or there’s an example recently where I was planning a session and coaching the client on some things and hearing some things. It’s like, well, I don’t know if I would frame it like that. This is how I would say it. Then didn’t follow my own best practice and let them send out the invite. Sure enough, they miscommunicated everything. When everyone showed up, things went off the rails a bit. But luckily we did have those conversations with leaders around the intention.

They spotted the root causes and so we were able to address them. It would’ve been much better for the team had we understood it earlier and addressed it. I think most facilitators have, we’ve all got plenty of stories like that where we didn’t quite get it clear or there’s a miscommunication. Then here we are in the moment and it’s like, okay, someone’s not feeling comfortable here. They probably aren’t clear on why we’re here. My go-to is always stop and make sure everyone’s clear on the purpose, because to me that’s the number one silver bullet. If people are getting off the rails, just hit the pause button and go, hey, why do you think we’re doing this? Just pull everyone.

Hassan:  No, we came for the free pizza.

Douglas:  Yeah, that’s right. I don’t know. The brownies for me. What about this international nature of the work that you’re doing? That really fascinates me. I mostly worked with certainly in my startup years, U.S.-based companies, and then through the pandemic, we’ve certainly gotten lots of global interest in our Facilitation Lab, in our training programs. Even just today, I had folks from all over the world in a session that I did on liberating structures. But I haven’t done a ton of work inside teams at this very emotional attention-based perspective. I would imagine different cultures, different language, you start to get into the types of diversity that requires a lot of care and attention.

Hassan:  Absolutely. I’ve had a long history of loving travel. I’ve lived in Sweden, I’ve lived in Thailand, I’ve lived in Germany, I’ve lived in several countries. My work in my life brought me around different people and also inside the U.S., I’ve lived in the East Coast and West Coast. I mean, I always talk about our internal culture too, but when we put that into teams that are globalized and truly mixed up, I mean, in Thailand, you might have 50/50 split. Half the team is Thai, half the team is from all around the world. I think for me, the one thing that’s really held true is that, although there are lots of different intricacies and different things that go on, I really have to say that there is a common thread that runs through all of these cultures, all these people and even how to approach dialogues, which is what I’ll say is in my experience, there’s funny things that happen that are much different.

In Thailand, they have discussions for four hours at a time. They want to talk a long time, which is really interesting. I don’t know if as Americans, we would necessarily come together and do that for four hours straight, but they love it. I think they’re really yearning for that. In Germany, they have their own different approach or just their natural way of approaching it. But the thread that’s common is, people want to know about love, family. They want to know about happiness. They want to know why we’re here, existence, all those different things. I think in the end, the interesting thing that happens because in Bangkok, especially the groups that came together there were really mixed upright in the center of the city. There’s a lot of diversity.

When all these different groups met, they were always so surprised that they had such different upbringings, but such similar goals, similar values, similar weavings between them. I think one of the things that I really learned throughout that process is that, when it comes down to it, a lot of teams are struggling with things that are really important as the first step, which is trust, communication, understanding, empathy. For me, one thing that I learned is that whenever I start to speak to any person or team or group, it always, that’s the first step that we take. That’s the first thing that I try to unravel because once that’s unraveled, then everything else flows pretty easily. Everything else gets focused in the right direction.

Douglas:  What’s your general approach to getting started in that way? Is there some first step you like to take or some mechanism you might like to use?

Hassan:  Yeah. Interestingly enough, this is what I’ll be doing at Control the Room, coming up. That is really the approach that I polished each week over these past 16 years. It could take a lot of different forms, but I mean, in the simplest way, it’s just the idea that dialogue should be a habit, not an intervention. We try to create a process that’s easy to follow that people can keep up with where everyone’s included, where there’s belonging and all these things that I just spoke about at the beginning during our conversation. That’s my starting point. What that means too, is that I also always love to allow the participants to choose their adventure, to decide what the focus of the discussion will be and to decide how it will go. I use that as the boiling point to then break off and start doing other activities or other things to work through. I get all my sourced information from them and then I tie that into my next plans.

Douglas:  It reminds me a bit too of the sourcing from the group. One of my favorite techniques is to, especially if I have a leader or a small design group that I’m working with ahead of time, if I can get them to give me a rough draft or whatever. If they want to make a decision, what’s the rough draft of the decision? Then it’s so powerful to present that and have folks just maybe tear it apart. But if I present it as if, hey, I think I got this wrong, but here’s this thing. Can you help me figure out what’s wrong about it? I found it really helps get the conversation going because what was it Cunningham’s Law, if you want to learn anything on the internet, post the wrong answer.

Hassan:  Yeah. That’s cool. Yeah. I like that. Well, but I have to say too, I really like what you’re saying, because I think sometimes people or facilitators, we put too much pressure on ourselves to come up with the perfect start or the perfect answer or the perfect topic. I mean, a lot of times it’s just right in front of you, you just have to let it happen. It’s a lot, I mean, it’s a lot less pressure for you and a lot of times I think it ends up in a really good way.

Douglas:  I want to challenge that word perfect too, because if we bring perfect to the group, is that the best thing for the group? What I’ll compare it to is, imagine you’re an editor and you get a piece of writing sent to you and it’s perfect and you’re reading it and you’re thinking, it’s actually might be painful, because you might be like, I’m supposed to do something. What do I do? I can’t even, I don’t even see anything to change, but if it’s just rough, just rough enough so that you can do your job, it’s actually probably more enjoyable as an editor because you can do what you’re there to do, right.

You can be an editor. I think that’s maybe the right fidelity. That’s a sweet spot to show up as a facilitator and as a leader, right. If you, as a leader, show up with solutions that are so polished, that the team can’t have any voice or make any imprint on it, then and even if you ask for feedback, even if you tell them you want them to have a voice, it’s going to be hard for them because they’re going to see a perfect solution and go, this looks great. Right. They’re not even going to see the opportunity for a difference.

Hassan:  Yeah. As much as I have facilitated these discussions and ask questions, I think it’s also so interesting when you throw out a question and the group goes, we don’t want to talk about that. We’d rather talk about this and I always talk about that. Sometimes throwing out a question like that, that gets rejected is really healthy for the group too, because then they really start to gel and take power over what they’re going to be focused on. That’s okay at sometimes, right. You can, at some moments you can let that happen. I love your example. Yeah.

Douglas:  That’s cool, Hassan. I want to just point out to the listeners that often we talk about alignment and cohesion and what you’re describing is the group becoming a cohesive unit and saying, no, that’s not for us. If we don’t allow that from time to time and sometimes we might have to push them and say, no, this is important. We got to go there. But if we do that all the time, then we don’t allow them to be a team. We don’t allow them that moment to be a unit.

Hassan:  Yeah. I love that. I never even thought about it, how you’re saying right now. I’ll take credit for it like I did. But for me it’s just interesting because you’re right. You can see that shift, right. You know that groups that do that, well, they feel psychologically safe to challenge you. Right. They don’t feel intimidated by you. They also feel ready to speak up for their needs and they are ready to engage deeper. Right. You don’t have people do that unless they’re engaged, right. I think I’m going to take that one though. Cohesion, I like it.

Douglas:  Nice. Yeah, do it. Yeah. I want to talk a little bit here about the connection between the life work, the personal work, the career. I know you do a lot of volunteer work and the volunteer work relates around facilitation and tension and people and even just honoring the fact that you were called to this work by your experiences in your home life. I’m just curious how, it just seems all so integrated and I would just love to hear a little bit about that.

Hassan:  Yeah. Great question. I think one of the biggest things in terms of how it shows up for me is that, one reason why I like to create these spaces for people is because I’m always trying to practice. I’m always trying to learn how to have better conversations, how to think critically, how to listen actively, how to do all those different things. It doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s something that I really believe is a muscle that I have to work. Each week when I’m holding these sessions, it’s really my gym, right. It’s my way to work out those muscles. It has really improved my personal life, my professional life and I think also for me, one thing that I am really proud of is I am genuinely curious to meet anyone in this world. I really would love to meet people.

That’s why as VP of Relationships, I’m spoiled. I get the chance to learn about people. I get the chance to find out about how I can support organizations, how I can support teams. This work that I’ve done and this foundation around dialogue informs each and every aspect of my life. I’m just so happy to be able to do that and getting to know the facilitation community and getting to know the groups that we work with is just wonderful. It’s just a joy. I think for anyone that might have a call with me coming up, just know that I’m extremely excited and curious to ask you questions and find out about you.

Douglas:  Amazing. I’d love to hear that. I think like me, you have a clear passion for the work and it shows. Before we move on to our final moment where I just have you share our listeners with a final thought, I wanted to just get your perspective on where do you think all of this is headed? In the coming year, as we shift into 2022 and beyond, what do you see on the horizon?

Hassan:  The word that pops out for me is adapt. I think that we’ve already seen that, that throughout history, people, organizations, groups that can adapt can thrive, can end up moving in the directions that they want to. I think facilitation for me is really about that adaption, right. We both, as facilitators, we have to adapt to moments, we’re overcoming challenges during our own processes. Also, we’re helping enable and empower groups to adapt and thrive in these moments. I think there’s a lot of grief and a lot of things that we have to get through as a society, as a human race, as a global community with COVID and all that’s happened. For me, I just hope that we can put our efforts and make impact to help other people adapt through this time because we need it. We need to find ways to survive and we need to find ways to find hope and ways to move forward in this process.

Douglas:  I love that. It’s definitely a tender time. We’ve spoken a lot internally about how, there’s just been lots of trauma for folks that’s probably still hasn’t been processed, just because in lots of ways we’re still in the middle of it, right. There hasn’t been that notion of moving through the threshold to exit. I think there’s a lot of talk about the Great Resignation and all this. I think that we probably haven’t seen the full extent of the impacts and I think you’re right, we’re going to see a lot of that in 2022. People will just have to adapt. Companies will have to adapt, organizations, governments. I think that we should definitely watch out for that. In closing, I would love to have you leave our listeners with a final thought.

Hassan:  Okay. I really am going to be a broken record on this. But I always find that people have this spark once something bad happens or once they see things going awry or once they realize that their communication is off or their relationships is trying to break down. But I really want to say again, I think for me, if there’s one takeaway, it would be make dialogue a habit, not an intervention. We have to live the way that we want to be. We have to become that, we have to practice that. It’s not going to be a one-time solution that will change our whole lives. We have to practice, we have to make it a habit. The quality of the conversations that we have will determine the quality of our lives. I hope that people go out and have great conversations after this talk and continue learning and growing.

Douglas:  Hassan, I think that is important for folks to reflect on and just to underscore this idea that it’s not just about taking this super intentional moment when things get tough, but when things get a little bit uncomfortable on a Wednesday afternoon, are we willing to stop and have a real conversation?

Hassan:  Right.

Douglas:  I think that, that work is important work. Especially, when we’re talking about an issue that’s near and dear to me, and I know you and the rest of the folks at Voltage Control. But I think that when we think about domestic violence and what can manifest if emotions aren’t dealt with in a timely fashion. I think you’re spot on, if these conversations can start to happen productively and often, and we can get past whatever it is that’s preventing us from being able to speak our truth, to speak our emotions.

Hassan:  Yeah. I completely agree. I guess what I would say is that, thanks for having this conversation with me, and I hope that we continue doing this. I hope that people join into this and it’s wonderful, the space that you create too, Douglas. Thanks for being part of that process and that positive impact.

Douglas:  Yeah. I’m so glad you joined us and thrilled to have you with us on this journey and let’s just walk the walk and keep the conversation going.

Hassan:  Awesome. Thanks, Douglas.

Douglas:  Thanks for joining me for another episode of Control the Room. Don’t forget to subscribe to receive updates when new episodes are released. If you want more, head over to our blog where I post weekly articles and resources about working better together, voltagecontrol.com.