A conversation with Myriam Hadnes of Workshops Work
“I think that’s where my background in behavioral science really helps me because we are very often just standing in our own way. So it’s uncomfortable to try to figure out the right question because usually we satisfy this desire of instant gratification by just solving the easy question first.” – Myriam Hadnes
Myriam Hadnes is on a mission to change the world, one workshop at a time. She is a behavioral economist, podcast host, and facilitator in the Netherlands. She is also the founder of workshops.work, a professional training & coaching company based out of Amsterdam, as well as the host of a podcast called Workshops Work.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Myriam about throwing idea parties, listening to what we don’t want to hear, and the hidden reasons that we have for holding meetings. Listen in to find out why being a facilitator is a lot like being a yoga instructor.
[6:10] Listening to what we don’t want to hear
[12:27] Hidden reasons for having a meeting
[14:30] Idea parties
[20:27] Permission to interrupt
[29:23] Transition moments in virtual meetings
Links | Resources
About the Guest
Myriam Hadnes is a behavioral economist, podcast host, and facilitator in the Netherlands. She is the founder of workshops.work, a professional training & coaching company based out of Amsterdam. She is also the host of a podcast called Workshops Work and a Project Facilitator with the European Investment Bank.
About Voltage Control
Voltage Control is a facilitation agency that helps 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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Intro: 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.
Douglas: Today I’m with Myriam Hadnes, a behavioral economist and host of Workshops Work, and an amazing facilitator. Welcome to the show, Myriam.
Myriam: Thank you for inviting me, Douglas.
Douglas: Absolutely. I’ve been really excited about having you on the show. And so let’s start by hearing just a little bit about how you got your start. It’s always fascinating to hear how facilitators found themselves in the role of bringing people together to work better.
Myriam: Yeah. And I think that’s the beauty of the profession of facilitators, that it’s nothing that you can study at uni or learn at school, so everyone comes with their own background and their own story. And usually we all had these moments where we realized how beautiful it is when we can help a group of people to co-create something or to come to a solution, and then started to become curious about the art of facilitation. And I think for me, it was similar.
Now, looking back, I think that I’ve been facilitating for over a decade. So initially I had a career in higher education. I actually left uni only maybe three or four years ago, and I was teaching economics in Vietnam. And now I realized that what I did was I facilitated learning to these students. When I then moved to Luxembourg, I still worked in higher education, but in university strategy, and this was the first time that I really got close to what a workshop was, where we had world cafes with professors and students and lobbyists and ministers in order to design a university strategy. And I got fascinated. And so when I decided that it’s time for me to leave the public sector, I moved to Amsterdam.
It took me another year until I decided that I want to start my own business—no, that I had to start my own business because I was literally unemployable. I had no idea where to start because I was a public servant for my entire life. So I started to throw idea parties. I had a meetup, I invited people to show up with a challenge or a problem, and then at the group, we just brainstormed on solutions. And I was experimenting with different designs and different brainstorming techniques, all based on my background of behavioral economics and how our brain works. And suddenly people started to ask me for advice on how to design and facilitate workshops. Then they started to hire me to facilitate the workshops, and eventually they even paid me money to design workshops that I didn’t even have to facilitate. I thought, “Hmm, maybe that’s something that I can call my job.” Yeah, that was the very beginning of it.
Douglas: It’s really interesting that the tool that you started to lean on or bring to the question around, What should my business, or what should my job be? that tool itself turned into the job. That’s really cool.
Douglas: So, you know, I want to go back to that moment when you were in the world cafes and first getting exposed to this kind of thinking, this kind of working, these kinds of settings. Like, what did it feel like to experience that?
Myriam: I think for me, it’s this excitement that I still have when I am in a room where new ideas emerge. And funny enough, it was before I left my job, I took Simon Sinek’s WHY course, and what came up as my why is to bring people together so that new ways of being and doing can emerge. And back then, I was like, “Ah? What does that mean?” And today it perfectly describes my job.
But it was back then, already, exactly that, that we, through intervention, through smart design, we could help people who initially didn’t have a basis to communicate because they literally didn’t understand each other. A social-science professor and a physics professor discussing about a model university, it seemed impossible. And then you put a minister next to it and someone from the finance lobby, impossible to come to common grounds. And then magic happened, and they could find a way to communicate and to actually inspire each other and find meaning and value in each other’s perspective. And for me, this is magic, and that’s why I really believe that we can change the world one workshop at a time, because it’s through this tool that we can help people to communicate in a constructive way.
Douglas: And the thing that comes to mind for me is it all just comes down to understanding. If we can understand each other, then we can build upon that foundation of understanding.
Myriam: Yes. Yes, totally. And understanding. I think our understanding of understanding very often is too narrow because we’re thinking about language barriers. But it’s not about the language. It’s about, What do we understand when we use certain words?
Douglas: That’s right. And mindset, even.
Myriam: Yes. And how can we actually start listening to what we don’t want to hear? I mean, I talked on my podcast to Oscar Trimboli, who mentioned how quick we can speak, how quick we can think—and I don’t know the numbers anymore—but we’re just not able to listen at the same speed as we can speak and think. So we only hear what we want to hear anyway.
Douglas: Wow. It reminds me of something I heard recently, which is, like, different cultures have different norms for how long a pause is acceptable. What I mean by that, or what I read or understood, was that in some cultures, even a half of a second is long enough to indicate that no one has anything to add. Or in another culture, it might be 10 seconds, no one has anything to add. Now, if you bring those two cultures together, that means the culture that has a snappier response time, the half-a-second response time, they’re going to dominate the conversation because the people that are waiting 10 seconds are, you know, the other culture’s going to assume they don’t have anything to add.
Myriam: I love that example. And then translate this into the online world, where already every time that there is a pause, we get anxious, so we start asking, “Are you still there? Can you hear me? Hello? Hello? Can you hear me?”
So the value of silence and thinking pauses, it’s a totally different meaning suddenly. So we don’t have the cultural differences only anymore, but we also have all the noise that is attached to it.
Douglas: That’s right. And I think, you know, one of the things that’s not talked about enough in the facilitation space is just the role the facilitator in setting expectations. And sometimes they’re called ground rules or operating principles or operating agreements or whatever. But at the end of the day, we’re setting expectations, even sharing the purpose before the meeting or setting down ahead of time to make sure people know what we’re going to do or kind of what the arc of the event’s going to look like. But if we’re more intentional about that stuff, then, you know, silence, 10 seconds, that’s what we’re doing here.
Myriam: Yes, so true. If we know why we’re here and what our goals are, then silence doesn’t feel as uncomfortable anymore.
Douglas: Especially if we know it’s providing a function and we explain that.
Myriam: Yes. On online meetings, we have to be much more explicit than we used to be in order to take away this uncertainty and this anxiety. And I think regarding the ground rules, I totally agree with you, and I would even say that the thing that is even more neglected than the purpose is the role of participants. I don’t know where I read it once, that the question, What is worse than being in a meeting? It’s not being invited to a meeting. And I think it’s hilarious because it describes exactly what happens in so many whatsoever. You have a meeting, you have a purpose, and then, “Oh, yeah, but if we invite him, then maybe we should also invite her because otherwise she complains,” or “If he knows that we’re meeting, then he also wants to be there, and we want to avoid a conflict, so let’s invite them all.” And then you have these overpopulated meetings, and then all these individuals who, actually, were not supposed to be there, they start with comments like, “Are we again discussing that? Oh, if you had asked me before, I could have told you,” or “We are discussing about that for the last 20 years.” And all of this can be avoided by just not inviting them, but nobody has the guts.
Douglas: Yes. And we often refer to that as, or at least a cousin of that, is something we refer to as meeting FOMO. And there’s kind of a, if you will, that the pendulum can swing, because then on one side you’ve got a lack of inclusion, and that’s a problem. Then, when companies become aware of inclusivity and how important it is, they can swing the pendulum in the other direction, and now everyone’s got meeting FOMO, and everyone wants to be in every meeting. And we have to find better ways to scale our time.
And then, you know, you’ve got these other issues that you’re talking about that are related, which is if we invite the wrong people, then we’re not going to have the right meeting, or we’re not going to get the right work done.
Myriam: Yeah. And not the right conversations. And I wonder whether—I think this has actually reduced with the working-from-home times we’re currently living in, because back in the days in an office, running from one meeting to the other was a perfect excuse not to do the work. “Oh, I’m so busy. I have so many meetings,” constantly complaining, always having an excuse why pushing these kind of uncomfortable tasks away. So it was actually a nice thing, and I think it’s related to cognitive dissonance. You just want to be the person who is engaged with the work, and you don’t want to be the person who is actually avoiding work, so you accept all the meetings and have a fantastic excuse. And now with working from home, I think we realized what the real opportunity costs of a meeting are because we can either enjoy family time or we can do the work that we try to avoid or we can have a meeting.
Douglas: Or we can do the work in the meeting. If we truly need to collaborate, let’s come together and do the work. I think so many meetings are status updates or informative, and they’re not really serving a greater purpose.
Myriam: Yeah. Most meetings are actually emails.
Douglas: Mm-hmm. And if they’re not, let’s honor that. Let’s be explicit of why an email is not going to suffice, because if there’s a reason it’s not an email and we don’t communicate that, then no one understands, and it’s not going to live up to its potential.
Myriam: Wonderful. And this is exactly, I think, where the art of facilitation comes in and where facilitation must not necessarily be restricted to an external facilitator you hire—
Douglas: That’s right.
Myriam: —but it’s the responsibility of every team leader or manager to facilitate to speak out these hidden reasons why we meet. Maybe we want to meet because it just feels good to be surrounded with some human beings and to share how we are feeling. And even if it’s just for a boring status update that could have done by email, yes, but we enjoy wasting our time for half an hour.
Douglas: You know, the BBC did a report, and they said that most dysfunctional meetings were actually a form of therapy. And, you know, it rung really true for me. It’s like, man, the people need to come together and connect. They just throw a meeting on the calendar, and they make an excuse to have it. Well, if that’s the case, let’s honor that purpose. Let’s really unpack it and say, “The real reason that I’m bringing folks together is I want to connect with the team.” Well, then, let’s just say it’s a team-connection meeting. Don’t give some other guys or some other stuff that no one wants to talk about and everyone’s going to hate anyway. Let’s really say, “Let’s just talk about the weather.” And if it’s going to build trust and connection on the team, then there’s a benefit to it. But let’s honor what we’re trying to get out of it.
Myriam: Totally. And I think it’s so true, and it’s not only true for meetings. I think the moment we are just not honest about the purpose, why we’re doing something, and we try to hide it, where we lack integrity, something happens to our mind that we are not as calm and focused and empathetic towards each other. So I think if we are then suddenly having a room full of people who are spending time for a reason that they actually rationally know that is not the real reason, I think, obviously, most meetings turn out to be very undelightful, to say the least.
Douglas: So, I want to come back to your idea parties. That sounds fun. How did it work?
Myriam: It was fantastic, actually. I booked a room in the coworking space where I was, and provided beer and sticky notes. So everyone came with a challenge. They had two minutes to pitch their challenge, and it could be whatever, from “I want to build a business” to “I want to stop fighting with my boyfriend.” And then, we had three minutes of brainstorming with everyone who was in the room. Everyone had a block of sticky notes. And we were first brainstorming on questions, because I realized that we are so quick in giving solutions to people and feedback and it’s totally unsolicited, and in two minutes we don’t understand what the problem is anyway. So what we are lacking is not ideas how to solve it, but we like perspectives on how to look at our problem from a different way. So we would brainstorm for two minutes on questions. So everyone would just shout out a question that comes to their mind, write it on a sticky note, and at the end of the three minutes, the person in the spotlight or hot seat received a bunch of sticky notes to take home and to reflect on. So we did this, and everyone could just jump in the spotlight and share. And in the second round, we, then, did a kind of premortem brainstorm. So they would pitch their goal, “I want to be a millionaire tomorrow.” And then we would do the same thing with, “Okay, what can you do to fail for sure?” And then they would get a bunch of Post-it Notes, how they can fail.
Douglas: I love the lateral-thinking-type stuff, like, how can we fail in liberating structures, TRIZ. Like, what are we doing today that resembles any of these counterproductive behaviors? It’s really cool stuff.
And then also the questioning. I love question storms or just getting folks to focus on thinking about the problem framer and the questioning. My favorite—Einstein has that quote. If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask. And then once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.
Myriam: Yes. And it’s so true. It’s so true until today that I think that’s where my background in behavioral science really helps me because we are very often just standing in our own way. So it’s uncomfortable to try to figure out the right question, because usually we satisfy this desire of instant gratification by just solving the easy question first. I was sitting in these board meetings in my life in the public sector, where the tiniest problems or challenges got blown up and took 80 percent of the meeting time just to avoid the actual really important topics that were kind of hairy. And I think this is just how our brains work. So the role of a facilitator is, How can we actually help the group to get out of their own way? How can we make it easier to address these hairy problems? And how can we use the way how our brains are wired in order to solve the problems? And a question storm or a premortem are just perfect ways to use our instincts in a kind of efficient way.
Douglas: Absolutely. And, you know, I think back to your statement around, it doesn’t have to be external; it can be internal facilitator. And I think the thing that so many folks miss is that you don’t have to have facilitator in your title. Anybody who books a meeting as a facilitator, the question is, Are you being intentional about it? Are you doing a good job as a facilitator? Are you just setting a meeting and then showing up and, at best, pointing them an agenda?
Myriam: And are you curious about the outcome? Are you open for whatever shows up? And I think even as a parent, you can be a facilitator. Educators are facilitators. Maybe a spouse is a facilitator.
Douglas: Yeah. I mean, if you look at the definition of to make easy, I mean, I think anyone can facilitate almost anything, right? Like, how can we support and coach and guide things to their natural resting place?
Myriam: Yeah. And I have many conversations around the question whether it is actually a goal to make things easy, and then we often end up in technicalities. Okay, replace easy by simple, or—
Myriam: —replace complexity. But I think that’s the essence to make it less frictionous.
Douglas: Yes, exactly. When I hear to make easy, it’s not that we’re going to avoid complex or complicated things. It’s not that we’re going to avoid discomfort.
Douglas: We’re just going to make it easy to sit with that discomfort. We’re going to move through it. We’re going to sit with it. We’re going to walk with it. But it would be a lot harder if the facilitator wasn’t there, if that guide wasn’t with you. And it doesn’t mean we’re not going to take a—we’re going to avoid this strenuous hike. It just means that we’re going to have a guide that’s going to point out where the rattlesnakes are or help us kind of stay together as a pack.
Myriam: Yeah. And sometimes it’s just good to give permission to someone to interrupt us, to be provocative, to be strict with the time to tell us to come back, to ask us the uncomfortable questions. I think it’s like a yoga teacher or a gym teacher. You hate them for 59 minutes, right? You just don’t want them to be there, because they push you a little further, and they make it really difficult for you. But that’s why you’re going there, and that’s why you love them at the last minute and for the entire week before the next workout.
Douglas: That’s right. I love it.
So let’s shift gears a little bit to thinking about the future and sort of, like, what’s on the horizon? What are you exploring right now? What risks are you taking? I’m really curious about how people are just embracing the future. I know you have Never Done Before coming up, and I just want to explore some of the future a little bit with you.
Myriam: Yeah. I think the future’s really been so abstract and uncertain at the moment, where I think very few people plan longer than two weeks. So I think my future started in March this year, when the first lockdown happened, and I lost, within a week, about 50,000 Euros in expected income. That’s a lot of money for a solopreneur. And I realized that I have to shift gears very quickly and to become very creative.
At the same time, I also realized that from a mindset of desperation and anxiety, I won’t be able to actually move forward, because it’s like in dating. If someone is desperate, everyone can smell it, and they will never hide it. Nobody will date a desperate girl or a desperate guy. Nobody will hire a desperate entrepreneur. So you have to be in this space where you dance with this uncertainty and where you dance with fear and just embrace everything that comes, trusting that something great will come out of it.
I think what drove me back then, and it’s still what drives me now, is the observation that it’s a fantastic opportunity that COVID presents us, despite all the misery, of course, and despite all the health issues and economic implications. But the shift that we really have to reconsider the way how we communicate, how we meet, and how we make use of our time together, I think this is a great opportunity.
And for me personally, it was a learning journey. Before March, I was a pen-and-paper facilitator, and suddenly I became—I didn’t even know how to create a breakout room before March, to be very honest. And I was very lucky that I had very early a mentor on MURAL because I had to translate my offline mastermind into a virtual mastermind within a weekend, and it magically worked. And since then, I was still thriving. I was absorbing everything that was coming up.
And then, luckily, I found encouragement in my network to bring the idea of the Never Done Before Facilitation Festival to the online space. So basically, the idea was, what if we rethought the way how we organize facilitation conferences? What if we do it differently? What if we provided space where we can try things we have never tried before, where we can really find design, explore the new trends in facilitation? And it started with a crazy idea. And then others called me brave. I think I was just naive enough to underestimate the effort and the risk of doing that and starting with such a bold statement. But now it’s, yeah, it will happen. We have the Never Done Before Facilitation Festival fully online, 24 hours, around the globe, 30 facilitators from all continents joining. And we do everything differently. And yeah, we dance with the status quo of facilitation.
Douglas: I love it. I love the whole idea of pushing the boundaries. And you had this concept before COVID hit, and then it became even more poignant in the sense that we’re doing all these things we’ve never done before. And it crossed my mind that I wonder how many people had ideas that they wanted to try, that they were planning to do for the Festival, and then they actually had—they were forced to do them because of COVID so they could no longer say they were never been done before.
Myriam: Yes, that’s true. On the other hand, and this is funny, despite the fact that we are, on a daily basis, I think, all of us are doing stuff that we’ve never done before.
Douglas: That’s right.
Myriam: Still, most of the stuff that we see online is all of the same, and been there, done that, so many times because I think the first month, or the first six weeks, and this was the beauty of the first wave, was that we had permission to try and to be imperfect and to fail because we’re in this boat together. And now, suddenly, second wave, kind of everyone expects us to have figured it out. So we are less prone to take risks—
Myriam: —maybe less happy to experiment, and I think it’s time to revive that because there’s so many things we can do online that are impossible to do offline. And this is something we haven’t explored enough yet. We are so much focusing on how can we translate our offline stuff into the online world, ignoring that maybe offline, it wasn’t that grand anyway.
Douglas: Yeah. You know, the thing that comes to mind for me is just also how the tools can guide so much of the way we think, because it’s like, oh, I’m assuming I use MURAL, I’m assuming I use Zoom, and then I sit down and look at those tools and think, well, what can I do here? versus just starting first with a concept, with the purpose, and walking around with that for a little bit and thinking, how can I create something and then force the tool? You know, I can bend the tool to my will.
Myriam: And also, there are so many new tools out there. I mean, it’s a vegetable garden of mushrooms. I don’t know how you say that in English. Anyway, all these tools are emerging.
Douglas: Wait. So it literally translates as a “vegetable garden of mushrooms”?
Douglas: No, okay. Well, that was a literal translation. I think that would be awesome, and I will start using it.
Myriam: You can start using it anyway. Never used before.
Douglas: Right. Yeah. There you go.
Myriam: Yeah. So for instance, because of Never Done Before, I’m experimenting with a lot of tools, and I found myself in these situations where I just host a workshop or meet up on a new tool. So recently I was on Teeooh, which I love. So it’s totally avatar-based. It’s perfect for fishbowl or world cafe, but it’s very new to facilitators. So there I was, with a room full of professional, expert facilitators, without video and a tool that they didn’t know. And I was amazed by the dynamics it took and how quickly, then, we actually also learned to adjust our facilitation side because we have to communicate differently. So that’s what I like about your prompt because let’s first sit down and think about the purpose and the desired outcome in the group and then find the tool that actually enhances that, because I think for many conversations, we actually don’t need a video, and we would have much more focused conversations if we don’t have to try to look good all the time.
Douglas: That is true. And, you know, the other thing is while video’s great, it’s also pretty exhausting when you compare it to someone being in a meeting room, because in a meeting room, you don’t feel like—you could do this, right? Just kind of slump over for a second, lean over on the table, put your head down and just kind of listen for a second. But when the video’s here, no one does that, you know? Like, no one does that, because they’re like, oh, I’m framed up. I got to stay on—oh, law of thirds. I got to keep my eyes right here. So it’s a whole different dynamic. And I think that’s another reason why we have to plan so many breaks and give people opportunities to just check out of that little zone of, I don’t know, insanity that we’re stuck in all day.
Myriam: Yes. And I think there’s one more thing that we neglect tremendously is that we are missing these transition moments that we walked into a meeting room and then our brain knew, okay, new topic, new group, new focus, peace, free headspace around now because we are in a new setting. With Zoom or with our computer, our brain literally thinks that we are still in the same room with still the same thing happening because we haven’t moved. But we stop one meeting, we start the next meeting, and we expect our emotions and our minds and brains to adjust. But we don’t give it space. To start meetings, online meetings, with a very clear check in, I think, is more important than ever just to create this transition moment.
Douglas: I’ve been saying that for a while, too. I couldn’t agree more, because even an in-person meeting, everyone is just running from meeting to meeting. And even though there was that transition where you’re walking is a physical shift, I don’t know if it’s enough time for people to mentally prepare. So I used to call it the boot-up time. Actually, we give people time to allow their brains to soak up this new topic, because we don’t know what they were just—they might have just been on the phone, walking into the next meeting, you know?
Douglas: So, yeah, it’s important.
And the other thing I’ve noticed personally is since I don’t have to drive into town anymore—I had about a 20-, 30-minute drive in the morning and in the evening, and it sort of acted as a transition moment. If you look at complexity theory—I love the cynefin model—how they have in between each domain, there’s that disorder. So you kind of have to go through that transition through to switch domains. And it’s sort of like Superman changing into—Clark Kent has to go into the telephone booth to become Superman. He can’t just instantly switch, right? And so when I switch between husband Douglas and Voltage Control Douglas, now it’s me just walking in and shutting that door, right? Before, it used to be me getting in the car, and I would listen to some music or a podcast or something. I don’t have that anymore, you know? I probably should invent something new, whether it’s a walk around the block or something that could replace that, because I think that ritual’s important. And it’s very similar to what you were talking about, these transition moments.
Myriam: And I love the example, actually, where Superman, Clark, and the telephone booth. And I think you’re fortunate that you do have the door you can walk through to separate your professional from your private life—
Myriam: —because I work for some who would use the kitchen table for breakfast in the morning—
Douglas: That’s right.
Myriam: —then it becomes the office, then it becomes the playground, and then it becomes the dinner table. But I read this book, Alter Ego, where he explains that very often we have these items we use, and they trigger something in our personality. So, for instance, Martin Luther King, he actually didn’t need glasses, but once he put on his glasses, he had the confidence to speak like he spoke. And for instance, I realized for myself that at one point I could better focus on the person I was talking to in a video conference when I had my microphone in my hand, because this put me into my, okay, I’m a podcaster now, so I’m totally focused on my conversation partner. So what if you could have another pair of glasses so that, okay, when you switch from Voltage Control Douglas to Daddy Douglas, you can just change your pair of glasses or you can put the head on of.
Douglas: That’s right. Yeah, for sure. That’s amazing. I love it.
Well, unfortunately, we have come to the conclusion of our conversation, and it’s been so much fun, Myriam. I think we could go on for hours, of course, but here we are.
And I want to just give you a moment to share a message, a parting message, to our listeners. So what would you like to leave them with?
Myriam: We can change the world one workshop at a time. I truly believe that. And I believe that we don’t have to call ourselves “professional facilitators” to do that. But I think if we bring the facilitator’s mindset to the table to make conversations easy, to highlight different perspectives and co-create solutions, I think that the world would really be a better place.
Douglas: Awesome. Well, hopefully, listeners and everyone in our networks will take that to heart because I agree. I think if we can be more intentional, we can change the world.
So thank you so much for being with me today, Myriam, and hope to talk to you soon and see you at Never Done Before.
Myriam: Thank you, Douglas. Looking forward to seeing you there. Thanks for the conversation. Loved it.
Outro: 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.