A conversation with Brian Sullivan, Director of User Research and Design at Sabre Corporation

“I think one of the things that is unfortunate about design thinking is it gets a little bit of a bad rap in that people don’t see a practical application of it. And I think if you can strip away some of the aesthetics and strip away some of the language, but there are practical applications, I call it, we have to be practical and tactical because we can really drive a lot of change in our organization by doing that.” -Brian Sullivanote

In this episode of Control the Room, I had the pleasure of speaking with Brian about his 20 plus years of experience in the Design Industry and what led him to become a Design Thinking advocate and educator. We discuss how to make Design Thinking more practical and the joy of having a job making other people better at their jobs. We then talk about the importance of creating space for mental health and a few activities he uses with his teams.  Listen in to learn about his unique approach for educating design students, designing mentorships, and knowledge sharing.

Show Highlights

[2:56] How Brian Got His Start In Design Thinking 
[6:35] Moving From Validation To Prevention
[12:28] Healing Broken Teams
[26:40] Designing A Mentorship
[36:25] I Do, We Do, You Do

Brian on LinkedIn
Brian on Twitter

About the Guest

Brian Sullivan is an expert in Innovation, Design Thinking, User Research, Accessibility, Usability, and Service Design. He’s been responsible for rolling out Digital Accessibility, Service Design, and Design Thinking across the globe for Sabre Corporation. In 2021, Brian became an Amazon bestselling author in several UX, Innovation, and Design categories. He is an Adjunct Professor at SMU and UNT where he teaches the next generation of designers. Brian’s mantra is: Design leaders should build future design leaders. 

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, your 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 Brian Sullivan, at Saber, who’s the Director of User Research and Design Thinking, he’s also the author of the Design Studio Method and is currently working on the second edition. Welcome to the show Brian.

Brian:  Hey Douglas, thanks for having me on, really appreciate it.

Douglas:  Of course, it’s great to have you. Feels like ages since you were on the stage at Control the Room, wasn’t that many years ago, but we had this giant pandemic that can slow time down.

Brian:  Yeah, it was great. That was a wonderful experience. It was great to go down there and you miss the energy, being on a live stage and feeling the crowd. And one of the things that I like about Control the Room, as a conference, is that it’s really about facilitation. And I think when you do a workshop and you’re doing collaboration that some people mistake participation for facilitation and they don’t realize how hard it is until they start to try and do it for their sales for the first time. And what’s really refreshing about a focus that you bring to facilitation is that there are a lot of different conversations going on there. And that’s what I really like about your conference in general, I’ve recommended it to several people and Jay Shu who works for me, I’ve sent him down there a couple of times, he loves it. Yeah. You have a great conference.

Douglas:  Thanks so much. And a big shout out to Jay, he’s always at the facilitation labs and what a great human. So thanks for that connection for sure. I wanted to just kick things off here today, just to hear a little bit about how you got your start. How did you get into this work around user research and design thinking and writing books about design studio methods and stuff?

Brian:  So it’s very funny that you mentioned, I have students, I teach at Southern Methodist University in a certification program, and I teach in graduate school at University of North Texas in the interaction design program. To be honest with you, I never thought I’d be doing that, it’s just beyond me that I would be teaching people about user research and design thinking. So the way that I got into it is way back in the day, I had heard about user research and I got to see a user research lab in person, and I got to be in the back room taking notes, and I just loved it because it had all those things that I was passionate about. So for a long time, I was a technical writer, I had a little bit of psychology in my background, and this was really a direct application of those two passions that I had. And I really liked it because it’s something where you can help people and I think that that’s what really drove me to that.

Now, I didn’t get a job right away, there weren’t a lot of college degrees in user research, that’s what was interesting because it was a long time ago, man, it was a long time ago. And at the time I’m taking a MBA class and my college professor asked me, “Hey, what do you really want to do? Because I want you to teach.” And I go, “I really want to do user research.” She goes, “Great. Well, in order for you to teach in the MBA program, I need you to take six more hours.” And I go, “If I do that, my wife is going to kill me, I can’t do that.” So I did a directed reading class and she goes, “Okay, I need you to read 20 books in 16 weeks.” And I go, “No problem.” So I devoured 20 user research and usability books and I had to do a four page report, no problem, because I was technical writing background. And I presented it to her and she goes, “You really need to do this as a career, Brian, because you’re very passionate about it.”

I ended up getting an interview and in the interview I remember the usability manager ask me, “There’s a difference between doing QA testing, which I had in my background, and usability testing, can you give me an example?” And I gave her an example and the example is, if somebody can’t use the ATM, they walk away and you’re losing money. And so what we have to be measuring isn’t that the features are actually working it’s adoption. And she goes, “Oh, that’s really good, tell me more.” And I go, “Well, I did a directed reading course, here’s all of the reports.” And I showed her all of the reports and these were all of the books that she had read in her master’s at Carnegie Mellon. And I got offered the job and was shocked that I got offered the job, but I took my technical writing background and I just dove in. And she was a mentor for me for a couple of years and then I just continued to move up. I started out as a lead, became a principal, then the manager, then a director.

So that’s how I got into usability and user research. Along the way, one of the things that has happened with the discipline is that usability testing, it’s always at the end, it’s always about diagnosing after the fact. And so I didn’t like that because I always thought that was a lot like going to the dentist and getting a checkup each year. And I thought it would be better if we took more of a prevention approach, and so if we’re doing more things up front, so rapid iterative testing evaluations, and that really got us into that prevention mold. And then as I’m continuing to explore that well, with rapid iterative testing, you’re changing the design between users and you’re really refining and honing it down to what they want and it’s a beautiful thing, but I always imagined that that initial prototype that comes in, could be better.

And so I went to a conference, I talked to a couple of people and they introduced me to this approach that they had started experimenting with called design studios. And we talked for hours about it and I can remember coming back the very next Monday. So I went to a conference, I come back on a Monday and I said, “I’m going to do one.” And the person I was talking to said, “That’s great because I have a problem I can’t figure out, my designers need help.” And so I did my first design studio a week later and I started applying things that I had learned such as the Six Thinking Hats of Edward de Bono, Rose, Thorn, Bud I like. I like, I wonder ways to critique, doing things in a respectful way and doing it really quick. And what I learned is that if we do a design studio up front with the team, we probably have a better prototype going into the rapid iterative testing evaluation. So it would shrink and so the rapid iterative testing evaluation became more like a validation.

And so if we move from diagnosis and treatment, which is usability testing, then we’re doing validation, then we’re doing collaboration, what in the world is before that? Design thinking. And that’s when we get into inspiration and the key thing with design thinking to me, and I did talk about it in the discussion at your conference, and it’s empathy. And to me, empathy is about listening, but it’s also about feeling what other people feel because that motivates you, it’s very inspiring. And I talked about empathy immersion, and I spent a lot of time with my students talking about that and that’s where I spend my days now. So that’s the rundown of my career on where did you start and how did you get here? So it’s the long and winding road, but I’m really enjoying the work upfront. And I’ve had a wonderful career.

Douglas:  It’s really fascinating to me, the idea that your exploration into where new developments could go in the field and your practice was almost in a way applying the tools themselves to the process. So it’s a bit meta.

Brian:  Meta. Yeah. I think that there’s this concept of you can design think your life, you can also design think your career. And one of the things that we were talking about a little earlier before the podcast was what’s refreshing with students is how they’re already doing that. And I think one of the things that is unfortunate about design thinking is it gets a little bit of a bad rap in that people don’t see a practical application of it. And I think if you can strip away some of the aesthetics and strip away some of the language, but there are practical applications, I call it, we have to be practical and tactical because we can really drive a lot of change in our organization by doing that. And yes, it is very meta, but I would also say if we do it, we can bring about real change. And it starts with people understanding what they want, understanding what they need.

And a lot of times when, I have conversations with Jay all the time, one of the main topics that we talk about is sometimes our job is to make people better at their job. And they don’t understand their pain points, but if we can get them talking, maybe build a service blueprint, for example, we can improve their hand-offs, we can distribute the work, we can get technology to maybe do the work for us a little bit better. It’s really refreshing to see that happen because I think, again, back when I got started, this is all about helping people and that’s what’s so refreshing about what we do. How many careers Douglas, can you really say on a day to day basis, my job is to help people and make them better? That’s what’s so refreshing about what we do, that’s why I love it.

Douglas:  Yeah. It’s interesting, I was just talking with my team today in our quarterly planning about how during the pandemic we’ve gotten more into training. So we do a lot more training and education, which is great, but I’ve also found there’s the helpfulness, that transfer of fixing that pain is so much more delayed. You don’t always see the benefits, you teach someone, you know they’re going to go off and maybe you talk to them six months or a year or two later and you realize how that impacted them or benefited them. I’ve been noticing that I really prefer those moments where I help someone in that moment of pain and we help solve it right then and there, it’s like the true power of facilitation.

Brian:  Yeah. And you can see a sense of relief, you can see that in some respects, you’re healing, you can heal broken teams with this. I’ll tell you a quick story, Jay and I were in a workshop and were doing a service design, so it’s a service design blueprint. And there were these two ladies, they’re both mothers, their kids go to the same school, they go to the same church, they have all this stuff to talk about, but when they get to work, they don’t talk about work. And when it’s time for lunch, they talk about kids and I’ll drop off your daughter for soccer, well, I’ll pick them up. And they plan all this stuff and they’re just busy. And I don’t know how frequently they really talk about work, but one is more up front and the other is on the back end.

And one of the things that was happening is that these two ladies are working on projects, but at very discrete points in time and it’s like sometimes 16 months apart, so you don’t really feel it, but it’s the ripple effect of something that was happening upstream was killing the person downstream and she sat right next to her and had no idea. And as soon as she realized all of the pain that she was causing, and it was surfaced in the service blueprint, boy did they get motivated and start problem solving. I can do this, I can do this and they’re crying, they’re literally crying in this thing. And Jay’s a real emotional guy, he starts crying and then I have to deal with this, but it’s a beautiful thing just to see they’re getting out that pain, they’re getting out that release, the fracture team is coming together, they’re problem solving and you could see all the relief and you saw it in an instant. It was a beautiful thing.

Douglas:  I think that’s the real power of mapping and anytime we’re visualizing our thinking or what we’re doing, because to your point, there was a time and space separating what they were doing so it made it hard to see those patterns. And as soon as you visualize it, boom, velocity.

Brian:  Yeah. Well, the other person typically is on the phone and they might be reacting to something that’s in some software, JIRA or Salesforce whatever tool they’re using. So they have blinders on, they solve that problem, they go to the next one and then they just want some relief so they want to talk about soccer or anything but work because they have other things to talk about. Anyway, it was so interesting to be able to see that because they literally sat right next to each other and we were floored, we had no idea that would happen. And it was just refreshing to see the healing that went on and these were two people that were already close. We’ve seen it also when people are remotely distributed around the world and we all are now with the pandemic, and I think one of the things that we’ve been doing is I would call it real time service design, because all of a sudden everything has to be touch less and you have to deliver stuff. And we’ve got to figure out how to roll out the vaccines. And we’ve got to wear masks.

Brian:  And Douglas, never, ever in my wildest dreams, would I have ever thought that it would be socially acceptable to wear a mask and go into a bank, no way. But of course, during the pandemic, you see that. And I saw a person, I had a mask on, they had a mask on, the clerk said, “Excuse me, sir, can you wash your hands?” I mean, it’s amazing. And we’ve been having to do real time service design and so our work it’s so needed right now. And we’ve been able to do so much good in the world, again, in spite of the pandemic, we’re all having to deal with it, but it’s had to require us to do a lot of creative thinking on the fly.

Douglas:  We’ve all experienced the same kind of stuff, it’s like having to notice these things and take a moment to step back and go, oh, is this the right way to address this? Is this acceptable? I think to your point around someone in JIRA or Salesforce or whatever, just doing the stuff and that’s really frustrating, but then once you’re done, once you’re clocked out and you’re exhausted, you want to move on, and is there space provided to take a step back and have that reflection moment? Because the thing we’re seeing is that there’s generally not space created and that’s where leadership needs to take an active role in saying, hey, let’s actually have a meeting about the meeting. Let’s actually do some service design on the way that we work, the way we collaborate, because if we don’t, then people are going to be, they’re going to burn out, they’re going to be ground down.

Brian:  Yeah, I would say, in my current design thinking practice probably 60% to 70% of my work is service design now. And again, it’s because of the pandemic and it’s because people had to work at home and then they have to work across time zones. And so you have a lot of your, like in-person processes completely change, literally overnight, and you’re having to react that. And I really understand what you mean by having that time to reflect, so like for us as facilitators, it’s become super critical when we moved to doing remote collaboration, to have those mental breaks more so than in person. I mean, in person, and you’ve seen it, you’ve witnessed it, people are just happy to be together and they talk about stuff, but they literally stay in the same physical space. I’m just imagining people, they’re working in Teams or Zoom or Figma, they’re online, they’re in meetings. And then you eat a little bit of food and it’s like, do you really want to watch Netflix at the end of the day?

And so I’ve been doing really weird things during the pandemic to keep, I think my head together. So one of the things that I’ve done to have that mental space for myself, that mental health is I work out on my patio and my commute though is I take a three to four mile walk on some trails, that’s my morning commute, and I come back, take a shower and I get started to work. And then in the evening, it’s a short walk around the neighborhood, that’s my commute home, and a lot of it, the nice thing about that is that I can do what I call a mind shift, I can shift my mind to get to a place to where all that stress is removed. And I have found that I need five to 10 minutes before I get home to just put all that stuff away so I can focus on my wife and family in the evenings. And maybe we might watch Netflix, we’ve been playing a lot of board games and puzzles and stuff like that.

But I think having some of these little habits where you can step away from the screen, take those breaks. And as facilitators, we need to understand that people need those breaks, we need to encourage that people step away so that they can reflect. I think it’s extremely important to do that. I can’t wait until we get back in person, but I think that as a discipline, all of us have had to level up our remote collaboration, methods and tools and that’s good. I do think we’re going to have more hybrid models in the future where maybe we do some stuff remotely and then we go in person. I love being in person, I’ve also found that we can be very effective remotely, but I think that’s how I would answer reflection, when you’re thinking about reflection, think about how you can give yourself some mental space, bring your best self to your team, to work and encourage other people to do that too, so that they can relieve some of the pressure so they can bring their best self. And again, it’s all about helping people.

Douglas:  Yeah. I love that notion of tending to yourself first, put your oxygen mask on first, kind of thing. Also, I think that you could take that a step further as well and say that if you’re noticing that your team isn’t taking a moment to service design themselves, because what you’re describing and saying that, hey, it’s really important for me to transition from work to home and walking from one room to the other is not going to suffice. I need to change from Clark Kent to Superman and back and forth and there’s protocol for that and how do I establish that protocol? And I think the same kinds of things exist on teams, and so those moments aren’t happening for your team, you can raise your hand and say, “Hey, team, let’s take a beat. Let’s have a 90 minute session, I’ll facilitate it. Or maybe Susan’s really good at facilitating, she’d do that for us so we can have some time just to think about, are we doing the right things?”

Brian:  Yeah. I think that’s really good because especially when you think of younger people, younger people are more used to technology than us, and it’s more ingrained in how they live, work and play, to be honest with you. So for them, it’s a little bit more natural. For people that are maybe a little bit more seasoned, we have to do what I call reverse mentorship, and I think you’ve heard that phrase before. There are things that younger people can bring to the table and ideas, we need to be willing to listen to them and we need to also have, wait for it, empathy for our teammates. Imagine that, let’s have empathy for our teammates. And I do some silly things I think, to relieve the stress.

So with one of my interns this past summer, we would do the dad joke of the day. And so we would end a meeting with a dad joke. And then we had a young lady on our team, she really got into it and what she enjoyed doing is one-upping us. So if we had a dad joke like about penguins, so one of them was why do polar bears and penguins not get along? It’s because of they’re polar opposites. Well, she tap, tap, tap, and she goes, wait a second, wait a second, and then she goes, “Oh, here’s a good penguin joke for a dad,” and she had to one up us. So it was really funny how, we take a break and we do the silly dad joke of the day, we’ve been known to do virtual coffee breaks, we’ve had a virtual beer, we’ve had mural boards where we created a poster that’s a seasonal poster, so it’s fall and so you have to decorate the poster with pumpkins and leaves. And Christmas was really interesting because we were decorating a Christmas tree and putting presents under it.

There’s just silly things like that, that we do, but I think it’s important and I also think that when we talk about facilitation, if we move it into that area, especially for online environments rapport, setting up rapport and establishing that, and you have to do that prior to the meeting, you have to do that in the meeting. And then if you have a workshop where you do something on a Tuesday, there’s a couple of days off, you probably should check in to see how they’re doing, to see if they need a little bit of help, and then you should follow up afterwards. And I think that that helps to build rapport and it’s easier to establish rapport, I think in person, but I think that when we’re facilitators doing it remotely, we need to be very intentional about that. And it can be a virtual coffee break, it could be decorating a mural board, it could be a check-in, all of those things are super critical.

And the beautiful thing is, again, if we circle back to the younger designers, the younger researchers, this is already natural for them, they do this. So if you’ve ever seen younger kids play video games, they’re not on just the console, they might be on the console, but they’re strategizing on another device, it’s crazy. And they’re just so connected and interconnected to their devices. And they’re able to carve out these safe spaces where their friends can hang out in a very respectful and intentional way. And that’s something that I’ve learned recently from just talking to people that play video games. I have an issue, an inner ear issue so video games aren’t something that I do, but I was wondering, isn’t it all kind of a big video game now with remote collaboration? Can we apply maybe these different tools in a couple of different ways? And maybe we can have a back channel going on in a couple of sessions to where it’s almost like somebody’s whispering in your ear so that we’re more effective.

So again, it’s being intentional with the work we do and being respectful and helping people, being willing to learn from younger people too, very important.

Douglas:  Speaking of learning from the younger folks, I want to come back to that reverse mentorship thing you mentioned in the pre-show chat, you referred to the younger designers having a real passion for social change and looking for mentors. And it really struck me as a professor I’m curious, what advice do you have that you typically give to your students on finding a good mentor? And once they find one, how do they get the most out of their mentor? Because if any listeners are thinking to themselves like, oh, I’m going to get a mentor, how can they find one and how do they get the most out of it?

Brian:  Well, I think that one of the things that you want to do with a mentor, you want to be able to have an established relationship with them, if it’s going to be a truly deeply meaningful mentorship. And so you don’t want to just go out and try to find people that you think may help you, you want to try to establish something first and be intentional in your mentorship and try to design what I call your goals, as well as an exit strategy. Because at a certain point, the mentor mentee relationship should become more of a partnership, so you need to, as a mentee, think about that. So when you come to the mentor have three things that you’re wanting to learn from that meeting that you might be on. And if you have ideas, bring those ideas, don’t come just with a blank sheet of paper and expect a mentor to give you advice that you need.

Because they don’t know what you’re struggling with, they can’t read minds. So you need to be prepared for the mentor, mentee meetings and be very intentional with what you want. And if a mentor says, no, you’re going to have to find another mentor. If a mentor gives you advice, you really need to listen to it and if you’re comfortable doing it, you should do it. If you’re uncomfortable doing it, what you want to do is think about, take a step back, is the person trying to stretch me? Are they trying to push me? Your really good mentors do that. The last thing that I want anyone to get into as a relationship like a perceived mentor, mentee relationship, where there’s microaggressions and there’s things that are happening that can really just destroy a young person that’s trying to develop. So you may want to talk to people that have had this person as a mentor, don’t just go on blind faith.

So those are the things that I tell my students, and I’ll be honest, Douglas, I really push my students hard, I push them hard and it’s all for the best though. One of the things that I think is important for the mentor, mentee relationship is mindsets, mindsets are so critical. So a lot of times when you’re dealing with younger, talented people, the mindset is I am a student, you are the teacher and they frame it that way. And I never call anyone in my class as a student, I refuse to, you are a young professional and so I’m going to teach you as a young professional, I will do that. My expectation is higher because you’re a young professional, it’s where you’re at. When you turn in something to me, it is not a school report, it is an asset that you should have in your portfolio.

And guess what? Whatever you present to me expect that we’re going to go through it three or four times. Will I grade you? Probably at some point, you’re going to get a grade, but at the end, I would rather that you have something that you’re proud of. And I’m going to treat you as a young professional and if you’re struggling, let me know, if you’re having friction on your team let me know, I can help out. So that’s the way that I talk to them about mindset, I talked mindsets last night. There was a young lady in my UNT class and she asked a question and I go, “That’s exactly how a student would ask that question, how would a young professional ask it?” And then she goes, “Oh yes.” Because it’s easy to fall back, that’s what they’ve been doing for years and years and years.

And they’re very early in their careers a lot of times, they’ve only had one or two years, but with a mentor mentee relationship I think we need to teach them as young professionals, not students, not put them down. And we also need to be open to learning from them, that’s the reverse mentorship because there’s all these new tools that are coming out, I can’t keep up with it. I can’t keep up with all of the different problems that they’re at, I’m at a different point in my career and I’m at a different elevation in the organization, too. I’m listening to things about how we’re going to finance things and how we’re going to do things that are three and four quarters out versus at the ground level. I need to get plugged in at the ground level and then they need to tell me what’s happening at the ground level.

And I mean, just the other day Lauren, who works for me, was showing me some really cool stuff that she had done in mural and apparently they had released some new features. I had no idea and she’s showing to me and I go, “Oh my God, this is so cool, we can do this and this and this.” And then she corrected me and it was in front of some people she goes, “Yeah, Brian, that was four months ago, four months ago, but I’m doing other things, I’m providing air cover so that people can bring their best work forward. I’m greasing the wheels a little bit. If there’s some friction happening I can get plugged in and go have a conversation and then I’ll get back to doing some work.” But in many respects, this younger design strategist, that’s on my team she whips me at so many things. She is teaching me all the time and where she struggles it’s more of the soft skill things. And so she presented this document to me, it’s some training, we’re doing a lot of training too.

And the way that it was presented to me, I was imagining how it would be received, not by the people that she was delivering the training to, but by their managers. And I go, “Oh my God, if we say this, the outcome might be that they think that we’re telling them what to do, before we do that why don’t we do a quick rewrite, so give me the document, let me do a rewrite. We’re not stripping away your stuff, I actually think it’s good, we just have to position it the right way. Let me do the positioning with the higher ups and then you can do the practical and tactical work. And I go, why don’t you accompany me to this meeting?” And it’s like SVP, CMO and all that and all you saw was nodding heads. And then she said, “I get it, I get why you did that.” So that’s important, to be able to have those conversations and to learn from each other.

Douglas:  Yeah. That’s so good. It’s like, you talked about mindsets a second ago and there’s the beginner’s mindset they’re tapping into when you talk to folks that are just in the earlier stages, or just getting started in something. When you’re doing your training or teaching, you can’t put on that beginner’s mindset, it’s going to be really hard to show it to them in the way they’re going to get it.

Brian:  Yeah. I think the approach that I do, and I actually learned this from a really young teacher, she’s like 30 plus years younger than me. She said the way that she likes to teach young professionals, it’s called, I do, we do, you do. So what she’ll do is she will show here’s how you do it and there’s a relevant example. So almost like case studies, success stories, and there may even be videos that they can study. Then now that we’ve seen this example, we do it together in a workshop. It’s a practice session, it’s like a dojo, you practice. Then you get homework where you get to do it on a real project. So I do, we do, you do, it’s a great way of someone’s first learning to feel a little bit more comfortable.

Brian:  They can ask those questions, they can practice in a safe environment and then when it gets real for them, they know what success looks like because you did the case studies and the videos, the, I do portion. They’ve got to practice in the, we do portion on a project that’s not really real, it’s low stakes. And then the, you do, you can provide them with templates and toolkits and also you can consult with them from time to time, do check-ins. I learned, I do, we do, you do, from someone 30 years younger than me, I applied it in my corporate training, I’m applying it in the graduate school training too, wouldn’t have even thought of it, but it’s being willing to listen and it’s being willing to put that into practice.

Douglas:  So good, such a great model. So I think we’re at our time and I wanted to just make sure we leave you with a moment to offer our listeners a final thought.

Brian:  So I think the final thought that I would have for people is understand that wherever you’re at in your life know that there are people that are there also, know that there are also people that want to help you and they want to teach you. And one of the models that I say at the big design conference is learn, share, grow. So those are the three pillars learn, share, and grow. And I know Douglas, you’re that way at your conference. One of the best things that you can do as an individual is contribute to another person’s life. And it’s not really what that person can do for you, it’s really what can you do for that person to make them better? Because we’re all here on this earth, I think truly to help people. And it’s an honor and a privilege to be part of a community where that is our daily call, to help people. So think about ways that you can contribute to make other people better and know that there are other people that want to make you better too.

Douglas:  Such great advice. Such an awesome chat, Brian, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me.

Brian:  Oh, it was fun. Loved it. Yeah. It was really fun. I really appreciate it.

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.