A conversation with Alla Weinberg. CEO & Culture Designer at Spoke & Wheel

“I think it’s really important to understand the difference between safety and trust. So safety is actually a state of our nervous system. It’s a neurobiologic process that happens for human beings. Trust on the other hand is how we relate to each other. It’s a way to have relationship. So I can trust you maybe to complete your work and say you’re going to do what you said you’re going to do, and the extend that I trust to you, that’s a way to relate to you. Safety is I feel I can have vulnerability with you, I can be vulnerable around you. I don’t feel defensive, I don’t feel shut down around you. And all of that is actually stemming from a biological process that is happening in my body versus a more emotional or even mental process like extending trust to someone.” – Alla Weinberg

In this episode of Control the Room, I had the pleasure of speaking with Alla Weinberg about her career as a UX Designer turned Culture Designer and thought leader.  She starts with reflections on why she became a Culture Designer.  Later, Alla discusses the differences of safety and trust.  We also discuss the relationship between psychological safety and the state of the nervous system.  Listen in for insights into how to build better relationships and connection at work.  

Show Highlights

[1:50] How Alla Got Her Start As A Culture Designer.

[12:00] The Trust-Transperancy Gap.  

[22:30] The Imagination Definition In How We Work.

[32:15] How To Fold Feedback Into Environments For Growth. 

[34:10] A Work World With Well Being And Creativity.

Alla on LinkedIn

Alla on Twitter

About the Guest

Alla is the CEO of SPOKE & WHEEL, a culture design & people development company that builds cultures of safety. She is a culture designer & author who has incorporated her design background with the principles of neuroscience, positive psychology, and relationship research to offer the most customized and compassionate cultural solutions available.

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 to 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 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 magicalmeetings.com.

Today I’m with Alla Weinberg at Spoke & Wheel, where she’s the CEO and culture designer. She’s also the author of A Culture of Safety: Building Work Environments Where People Can Think, Collaborate and Innovate. Welcome to the show, Alla.

Alla: Thank you so much for having me.

Douglas: So great to have you. So as usual, would love to get started by hearing a little bit about how you got your start in this work.

Alla: It’s been a windy road to get here. I started out as a UX designer and I did that work for close to 15 years and got to a point where I started to feel unhappy in that career. And also I started pretty early on in the tech industry early on in the UX design world in general and was often the only woman working on projects and in the room. And it was a rough experience for me as a woman in tech and in design through all these years. And what I did, I reached a point in my life, I would say… Kind of had a dark night of the soul where I just decided that the pain and the discomfort of change was not as bad as what I was feeling in my life and currently. And I went and I got coaching and then from that I started to really grow and understand myself and what I wanted out of my life and what worked for me.

And that set me on the path to really find what impact I wanted to have in the world. And given my experiences in tech, even as early as just three years ago where I left my last full-time job, I really feel like I found my calling what I’m supposed to do in the world, which is to rethink, redesign how people work together so that it’s so much more humane, so that it’s safer for everyone and so we can be creative and do our best work, because that’s what I’ve always wanted in my career as well.

Douglas: Amazing. I can totally relate to being places where I didn’t fit in. Certainly probably nowhere near the intensity of being the only woman somewhere. But certainly we’ve all had our experiences where it’s like you don’t fit in or this seems dysfunctional and why is it this way? And certainly led me to be curious and try to find ways to bring people together in more meaningful ways and create better work. And I’m really curious about one thing, because we love change and helping people navigate change and you mentioned the pain and discomfort of change, but then it seemed like finding that coach was a pivotal moment and I wanted to key in on a couple things I noticed and see if I was correct in my hypothesis here. You mentioned impact and perhaps the impact gave you purpose for the change and then also talking with the coach gave you some clarity around identity and the shift became less uncertain and there was less fear around it because you could almost see yourself in this new way.

Alla: Absolutely. I mean a lot of what I did in coaching was envision the life and the future and the work that I want to be doing and getting clear on that, and then creating the plan to move towards it. And it was not a quick process. It took me a decade to truly find what was my work in the world. My world work. And a lot of it was kind of using the design process in that because I tried something and I learned from it and I was like, No, not quite that. And I tried something else and I learned from it and I was like, Okay, getting closer.

And so it just kept getting closer until I get only a couple years ago where I was like, Oh, what I really want to talk about for years… This is the thing I want to talk about for years and years now, is how do we create physical, emotional and psychological safety in the workplace for everybody, for all human beings, for all bodies, for all abilities so that we can come together as human beings and truly create something new. I mean there was always uncertainty but also a lot of learning along the way.

Douglas: There always is. And I think that hearing you talk about the kind of iterative nature to that process is really important. Because so often people see some destination or some big change they want and that can feel daunting just because it’s like where do you start? I always refer to it as trying to boil the ocean. It’s like, well, maybe we should do a little thing and see what we learn because we might realize we need to shift course. And as I was reading a book recently… The editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur Magazine, Jason Feifer, just put out a book on change. He was referring to it as the zig-zag innovation. It’s like you’re constantly zigging and zagging your way toward, I’m not even quite sure what it might be.

Alla: And I think for me, the biggest key to navigating that change in my life and I truly completely from the bottom up changed my life. I moved locations from the east coast to the west coast. I got a divorce, I got a new job. I mean everything changed. Is that a lot of it is knowing how to, and this is something I learned through my coaching and training I’ve taken, is learning how to emotionally regulate myself. So fear’s going to come up, that’s a natural human response to change. That’s normal. But does it have to be in the driver’s seat? It doesn’t. It can be in the back and kind of a passenger and letting me know that, Hey, there’s some things that are scary, and I can acknowledge that but still keep going. Still keep making the changes.

Douglas: That reminds me of the Ted Lasso quote where he said… Someone told him, I can’t control my emotions. And Ted responds, Well, by all means let them control you.

Alla: I love Ted Lasso.

Douglas: So good, so good. More people need to pay attention to him and the lessons there. And a lot of it had to do with creating safety and before that instilling trust. And it’s something we talked about a little bit in the pre-show chat.

Alla: Yes. And I think it’s really important to understand the difference between safety and trust. So safety is actually a state of our nervous system. It’s a neurobiologic process that happens for human beings. Trust on the other hand is how we relate to each other. It’s a way to have relationship. So I can trust you maybe to complete your work and say you’re going to do what you said you’re going to do, and the extend that I trust to you, that’s a way to relate to you. Safety is I feel I can have vulnerability with you, I can be vulnerable around you. I don’t feel defensive, I don’t feel shut down around you. And all of that is actually stemming from a biological process that is happening in my body versus a more emotional or even mental process like extending trust to someone.

Douglas: I always think of trust as somewhat utilitarian almost. Right? It’s like, Hey, did they do their homework on time? Do I know that… They say they’re going to do something, does it get done? Whereas to me, safety is more ephemeral. Can be lost at any point. We have to really just be tender with it.

Alla: We do. And the thing about safety is because it’s a state of our nervous system, it’s not a permanent state. There’s different states in our nervous system. One is safety. We feel safe. So then we feel internally calm, relaxed. Our blood pressure’s low, our heartbeats regular, kind of all the functions are feeling at rest. But then there’s two other states. There’s mobilized, which is fight or flight. So now our heartbeats beating really fast, adrenaline is rushing through our body. We’re ready to do something, we’re ready to move into action. Sometimes people will feel restless or anxious as a result of that. And then there’s a third state which is immobilized. And that’s when we feel numb, shut down, almost no feeling at that point because they’re so overwhelmed by what’s happening. And so we’re going between all these states all day long. We’re not permanently ever in a safe state.

We’re not permanently in a mobilized state. We’re not permanently immobilized. We’re going up and down all the time between these states. And so when we’re talking about safety, it’s creating a social environment where even if I do enter a different state, I can talk to you, we can have a conversation and I can re-enter the safe state again. So I can come back to safety. Doesn’t mean I’m going to stay there, but anytime I get out, there’s a way for me to come back. And the way back, because again of our nervous system as human beings is connection with other human beings.

Douglas: I love that. And I think there’s an element of transparency that has to be there too. Because if I’m feeling some emotions and there’s no way that I’m going to hide those emotions because they’re going to be very visible when they’re surfacing and I don’t label that and make it known, and I’m not transparent about that. That can be misinterpreted in lots of different ways.

Alla: And that can be best interpreted as something like, Oh, you have a problem or an issue with me and now I’m mobilized. I’m no longer in a safe state. I feel disconnected from you. Something could go wrong. I need to be ready to run. I need to be ready to fight or defend myself because you’re not naming what’s happening for you. And you do have to have some sense of safety with an individual to be able to extend trust to them. If you’re constantly feeling defensive around someone, you’re not going to extend a whole lot of trust to them even to do what they said they’re going to do. Oh, I don’t know if they really are going to do that the thing that they said.

Douglas: It’s true. It reminds me of a study I saw recently from the Futures Forum where they were saying that… It was something like 70 plus percent of leaders felt that they were being transparent. Less than half of employees say that leaders aren’t transparent. So it’s like there’s a totally different perspective what leaders think they’re doing versus how it’s getting interpreted.

Alla: Yes. And that actually causes a lot of mistrust between leaders and the employees that they lead, this gap that you just described. And what’s really important for leaders is to be really realistic and honest and get data about is there a gap? What’s the gap for me? And start to rebuild trust and safety with their employees. And honestly, you can’t have trust again, if you don’t have some level of safety with each other. You won’t be able to extend that trust. You won’t be able to relate to that person in any way that’s trusting.

Douglas: Yeah. And you were talking about how connection and relating is so core to developing the safety and avoiding these fearful moments.

Alla: Yeah. And Dr. Brené Brown defines connection as being seen, heard, and valued. And again, the connection is a very emotional process for people. So if we’re not naming our emotions, if we’re not sharing our humanity with each other, if we’re not talking about ways that we’ve messed up and we own things that we did wrong and being transparent in that way or just saying, Hey, I don’t know. I don’t know the path forward, I’m struggling here too, it’s very hard to make those connections.

Because at work especially, we’re transacting a lot of the time. X, Y, Z needs to get done. When are you going to get that done by? What do you need to get it done? What support or resources or tools do you need to get it done? Versus, do you have any worries about getting it done? Do you have any concerns about the project at all as a whole? Let’s talk about what’s going on for you. Are there things happening in the world that are affecting you right now and even your ability to focus and concentrate on the work? Let’s have that conversation. What a different conversation to have as colleagues with each other.

Douglas: Yeah, it’s so often missed. Right. And it’s unfortunate because I see two things happen. One is people just want to get to the work immediately. So it’s like the meeting starts and it’s like boom, here’s the agenda. And of course the agenda’s all list of topics and they’re just running down the list. There’s no experience design there at all. And then the other end of the spectrum it’s like, oh, we’re starting off at the icebreaker, and it’s like some fun fact or something. And it’s kind of trivialized. Right. It’s not deep enough to really connect to the purpose of why we’re together or to have us build any real relationship. It’s almost tokenism for our safety.

Alla: I agree. It’s performative. Right. I deeply want to understand you as a human being, not just as this role that you’re playing at work or what you can do. Those are very different things. And I think when people say the leader isn’t being transparent enough, I think it’s the leader not sharing their humanity oftentimes with the team because they think they have to have it all together and be strong and know it all so that they could lead. What’s interesting, it creates the opposite effect on the people who are reporting to that leader because they’re like, Ugh, I don’t know, because I don’t know anything about this person. I don’t know what motivates them. I don’t know what they think about and care about or what struggles they have as a human being. So they’re just a stranger to me that I transact with.

Douglas: It’s so ridiculous that people spend so much time together. You spend so much time in work. Really, out of all the time you spend at work, it’s quite a large amount of time-

Alla: It’s 90,000 hours of our life on average.

Douglas: There you go. And yet it’s transactional. We’re not leaning into those relationships like we could. And yet some companies try to brand their company as a family and then there’s probably still very horrible relating happening there. And then other places it’s like purely transactional. Yeah. There’s this beautiful middle ground where it’s like, why don’t we just show up as humans and know each other and care for each other?

Alla: This is the work I do in trying to help create that in companies. And I also get a lot of resistance from the executives because there’s all this fear. That’s not how we’ve always done it. Is work going to get done or are people just going to socialize all day long and not do anything? And what I think is really important to understand is work gets done in relationship. That is how work gets done in companies. It’s very rare for anyone to be working on themselves, on anything, by themselves, on anything. You have to work with others. The more connected, the more safe, the more trusting those relationships are, the quicker the work’s actually going to get done and with higher quality as well.

Douglas: Yeah, it kind of comes back to your point around how very few organizations are actually practicing collaboration, which is a word that’s thrown out a ton and people don’t know what the word really means. We were kind of talking in the pre-show chat about coordination and cooperation versus collaboration. And I think it’s a distinction more people should really know about.

Alla: Yeah, I mean FEMA did our study recently about collaboration and they surveyed a bunch of people. What does collaboration mean for you? And at the end of the day, what did they find? Collaboration is about relating to each other. It’s about having connected relationships with each other. Coordination is just like you do your piece, I do my piece and we’ll coordinate about the sequencing of how that thing goes together or we’ll make sure somehow they fit or we’ll make them fit even though they don’t quite fit because we didn’t collaborate on it. And then cooperation is, Yeah, sure, I’ll go along with the way you’re going and I’ll do my part, but I’m not going to add anything additional to it. The beauty of collaboration is when… And again, safety is fundamental. You cannot collaborate if you don’t have enough levels of safety with someone. Enough connection basically with someone.

Collaboration is then about, we’re not going to do the work your way. We’re not going to do work my way. We’re going to find a third way. That’s our way to do it. That’s something new that wouldn’t exist in the world if we didn’t get together. Maybe it’s two groups, maybe it’s two teams, maybe it’s two people. Right. But it doesn’t exist in the world without us coming together in this way and finding a completely new way to do work together. Maybe completely new ideas and solutions to these problems versus somebody saying, Okay, this is the way we’re going to do it. Here’s your part. Go do it. We’ll plug it in at the end. We’ll put all the pieces together.

Douglas: Yeah, I love that because it transcends the… It’s not about just merging ideas, it’s transcending the ideas. It’s like you were saying, it’s not the first way or the second way, but it’s a third way. And I think that’s really important because when you look at coordination or cooperation, those kinds of things are more… We’re just kind of integrating the things together. It’s almost like a negotiation where they talk about never meet in the middle. It’s like-

Alla: It’s a compromise where nobody’s really happy with anything really at the end.

Douglas: That’s right. But if we find this bigger thing, it’s like, wow, that’s true innovation. We got to a point where we didn’t even realize we could do this stuff.

Alla: Exactly.

Douglas: Really quite cool. So the other thing that I was thinking about a little bit too was something we were kind of talking about a little bit on this pre-show chat was this deficit of imagination and how that is holding people back.

Alla: I really believe there’s a deficit in imagination regarding how people work together, what the world of work can look like. And we could see that with the pandemic and how everything was upended and people had to find new ways to work together even though prior to the pandemic, there’s so much resistance to remote work, to even changing that small piece of it and saying, No, we can’t do that. We have to preserve the culture and people have to come into the office. And that was appendant and suddenly, Hey, we did find a way to work remotely or hybrid or other ways. It just doesn’t have to be the way it’s always been. We can imagine completely new ways where we do collaborate, where there is safety, where work is humane or puts people first, not only profit first.

And then I think that is an important exercise for people to do. Not to just let’s preserve what we can, even though that pandemic took some of it away, but really reimagine how do we want to work together? What does that look like? And spend time envisioning a future where in my mind, I imagine work to be a beloved community where you come in and you’re accepted and you’re part of a community and you’re working together towards a larger purpose. Sure, that makes money. That’s great that’s like fuel that perpetuates the purpose and the impact and creates greater impact. That’s wonderful. I’m not against any of that, but that you come to work and you feel supported and truly loved and you take that home and then you pour what you received onto your family and then onto your community. And I feel like then humanity at the end of the day is better.

Douglas: It’s truly additive. It reminds me of… There’s a reason why folks that do the work that you and I do and love are fans of improv and bring that into our work often, or at least admire it. And basically collaboration at its core it becomes yes, anding. And there’s times where we might have to add some constraints and pull stuff back, but most of the time we’re kind of elevating each other or the group and seeing where we go. And it also reminds me of even improv musicians. And if you look at what happens in the brain when musicians are playing written music versus improving, it unlocks levels of creativity that are aligned with language and sense making. It actually unlocks potential that it’s hard to tap into sometimes.

Alla: 100%. That’s also my hope for the future. My vision for the future is that at work we’re able to, what you’re speaking to, is attune to each other. That’s what the jazz musicians do. Right. I’m tuning into you and I’m yes, anding it and creating something new from it. I can’t just go off on my own and do my own thing while you’re doing yours. Right. Then it doesn’t actually work together. And so there’s this real level of emotional, intellectual attunement to each other, which we as human beings are biologically wired to do. This is part of our survival. We have to be able to do this to survive with each other that is key, but is completely missing from the way that we work right now. And that’s because a lot of times are considered unprofessional at work.

Douglas: I’ll tell you that word professional, I think that’s done a lot of disservice for a lot of people.

Alla: Well, it’s harmed a lot of people.

Douglas: And to me it’s similar to we go into school, a lot of our creativity is beat out of us because we’re taught to pass the tests and everything has a right or wrong answer. And then you get into the workplace and it’s an extension of that same stuff. It’s like there’s a way to behave even. And gosh, if people only practiced and played more and you got into this mindset of just exploring more, then I think we’d find more enjoyable environments and we’d innovate more.

Alla: 100%. And again, when we have safety, what happens for us is we have access to the parts of our brain that can be creative because we’re not in survival mode. But when we’re mobilized or immobilized, what our body is doing and saying there’s fear here, I’m afraid something’s going to happen, and so I need to be prepared and I need to survive. And so even neurologically, what happens is the parts of our brain that are creative, that are thinking, that are language centered, that starts to get shut down a little bit. Not completely, but it actually gets shut down so that you can run or you can fight or you can move your body.

And so we don’t have as much access to creativity, to innovation, to even seeing the broader picture. Literally our peripheral vision will even narrow. We can’t even see peripherally that well when we’re in a mobilized or immobilized state because our body’s preparing to protect itself for survival. It’s not then in a state of relaxation and creativity and openness and making new neural connections. All of that is cut off to help us survive. So we have to have that safety, we have to have that environment where we’re in that state that our brain can start to create new neural pathways, new connections with each other, with things that we’ve experienced with other people, bringing that in to create something new. The only way innovation’s going to happen.

Douglas: I couldn’t agree more. And something that I personally witnessed is even in a culture where it’s all acceptable and we’re creating spaces for people to bring stuff in, there can still be moments where individuals are feeling afraid to share. When aren’t people aren’t sharing the yes, anding can’t happen. Imagine an improv skit or even a improv musicians, the guitar player just kind of stops playing. Everything will unravel, even one person not showing up. And sometimes, I would say this is a common cause, especially if the work has been done and you’re building the culture, sometimes it’s past experiences people are bringing in.

Alla: That’s 100%. Yeah. I mean honestly, even from our childhood, were you allowed to express certain emotions but not others or not at all? Or what topics were you able to talk about but others not just given your own family or cultural societal experiences? Our brain, again, our whole system is meant to keep us alive. And so if fear starts to come up, and fear is the opposite of safety. If fear starts to come up, Oh, no, I don’t know what’s going to happen if I say something, then we’re going to go into that immobilized state. That’s that freeze response where I’m like, even if I wanted to say something, I can’t physically say it or I go blank sometimes.

That happens to me if I’m in a situation, even if I’m not… If I’m in a meeting and even if it’s not directed at me, but some other colleagues are really having kind of a fight with each other, it’s getting pretty loud, I get triggered and I blank out. I don’t even know what to say. Truly, I don’t know what to say at that point. My body’s like dead, play dead, so you can survive the situation.

Douglas: No doubt. I can relate to that. When I was a CTO, I remember being at startups in leadership meetings and if things got heated, especially if they were directed at me or if I was feeling bad for someone, a lot of times I would just shut down because it’s like, whoa, this is intense. I’m not helping the situation by trying to distill things because I’m in shutdown mode.

Alla: Yeah. And shut down is that immobilized state, right? So you’re definitely now feeling safe at that point. I’m like, Oh, I don’t even know what to say anymore. Just get through it. Just survive this meeting.

Douglas: That’s right. Just hunker down.

Alla: Hunker down. Survive the meeting.

Douglas: I was thinking about the folks that come in with those prior scars and something that’s worked for me is anytime they do share or I get them to share early, the ugly baby, as I was think I was mentioning in the pre-show chat, making sure to really point out what was good about it, even though there might be things we need to address or we need to improve on. And also oftentimes there might be something that was shared that’s not useful now, but there might be some other future use for it. So pointing those things out and really reinforcing the good work and the progress that’s been made can really just start to make people feel comfortable that, oh, wow, this is, there’s benefit to getting this out early. Or even just saying, I’m glad we figured this out now can be a great way to celebrate it versus feeling like, oh, this is not good.

Alla: Yeah. And again, the definition of connection is somebody feeling, seen, heard and valued. And so that’s what you describe. You really listen to what that person has the same value their input, even if it’s not immediately applicable. And that’s so rare for us to experience this on a daily basis. Someone really put your attention on you and listen to you deeply and try to understand you and value what you have to say and validate it. So important. But speaking of creativity and innovation, I’ve been in many meetings, especially early in my career where people were sharing ideas and they would just get shut down by the manager, Oh, that’s a stupid idea, don’t be an idiot. Those kinds of things. And I’m like, Well, next meeting, there’s crickets. Nobody’s wanting to talk at all.

Douglas: Yeah. It doesn’t create an atmosphere for growth.

Alla: No.

Douglas: You know, mentioned that a lot of these scars or these behaviors even rooted in childhood and it reminded me of how as facilitators and leaders questions are some of our most powerful tools yet why can be so disruptive of a question. And a lot of it’s rooted in… As children, we were constantly asked, Well, why did you do that?

Alla: Yeah. And you were talking about scars and what that brings up for me is… And I think as facilitators and as designers of experiences, what we really need to remember and realize is that many people, and I would even say most people have experienced some kind of trauma in their childhood. It doesn’t have to be a huge event. It can be over small things, but over a long period of time that again, physiologically changes the structure of your brain actually changes the way your brain is formed. And you’ll process information differently as a result of that. And it’ll be harder for you as a person. I’m even been speaking for my own experience, because I feel like I experienced what’s called complex trauma, which is a traumatic childhood, which I’ve had gotten therapy for. I had a really hard time prior to therapy taking any kind of feedback.

I wasn’t able to do it to me. Just felt like criticism, which is how my parents treated me. They just criticized me all the time when I was little. And it just really dysregulated me and I wasn’t able to think at that point at all. I wasn’t able to work, I wasn’t able to function. It would stop my ability to function in many ways. And so being really aware of that as facilitators and sensitive to that and understanding that people are coming here, they’re not fresh babies, they’re coming here with a lot of their own life experiences, I’m hoping that maybe more compassion and more gentleness is offered through even the types of questions or how you ask questions of people so that again, we’re creating safety and connection with each other.

Douglas: Wow. Yeah. It is so important to underscore this idea of just noticing people and being curious about them and their future. And any managers that are listening, if you’re spending your one-on-ones talking about tasks and to-dos and plans and programs and initiatives, you’re doing it wrong and you should be listening to her around this. Focus on the future of the individual and making sure that they are being heard and just some interest in their wellbeing.

Alla: Yes. And at the end of the day, as human beings, all we really want to know, especially at work, is that we matter. That’s it. That’s what we want to feel. That’s what we want to know. That’s how we want to be treated, that we matter. That we’re not a resource, a number, we’re not human capital. God, I hate that phrase. We’re human beings. We’re even wired in a specific way for connection. And we feel scared and in danger when we’re disconnected from each other. And at the end of the day that we’re all doing our best and we just want to matter to each other.

Douglas: So I’m really curious, when you think about this work and you kind of peer into of the future, 10, 15 years out and the best outcomes you can imagine, what does this create for the world and people?

Alla: At the end of the day, I think, it creates wellbeing. I mean, so many people are getting burnt out and having so many mental health issues all around the world, even taking mental health leave, having actual serious diseases in their bodies. All of that is caused by our nervous system being in a constant state of being mobilized or immobilized at work. All the stress releases a lot of different chemicals and scientifically have been proven to cause disease or if we want to say dis-ease inside of ourselves. And so at the end of the day, if we have an environment that’s more connected, safe, loving, that’s a community where people can do what they’re meant to do in this world, where they matter, where their strengths and their gifts are valued and used in an appropriate way for some purpose, What I think that will create is a society or even a world of people that have true wellbeing, not just a lot of money.

Douglas: Love that.

Alla: And I also think creativity, right, if you have wellbeing, I don’t even know what we as human beings could create and what we could innovate and what we could change in our world to improve our lives and maybe hopefully the environment and the lives of everyone living on this planet, like what could be available to us to imagine that we will never be able to imagine because we don’t even have access to that part of our brain right now because we’re just so busy surviving it.

Douglas: Amen. I’d love to give you an opportunity to leave our listeners with a final thought.

Alla: My final thought is that work gets done in relationship. Safety is about connection, build it. And if you want to learn how, you can get my book on Amazon, it’s called A Culture of Safety: Building Work Environments Where People Can Think, Collaborate and Innovate. And you can even get a free digital version of the book on my website, spokeandwheel.co, dot C-O.

Douglas: And we’ll get those links in the show notes too, so folks can easily get that and click on them. It was so great to have you, Alla, I really appreciate you taking the time to chat.

Alla: Thank you so much. Wonderful conversation with you.

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 to know more, head over to our blog where I post weekly articles and resources about radical inclusion, team health and working better, voltagecontrol.com.