Up Your Creative Genius
Up Your Creative Genius

Episode 30 · 7 months ago

Douglas Ferguson: Sparking Change - Facilitating Small Magical Steps to Big Results

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Douglas Ferguson is an entrepreneur and human-centered technologist. He is the founder and president of Voltage Control, an Austin-based change agency that helps enterprises spark, accelerate, and sustain innovation. He specializes in helping teams work better together through participatory decision making and design inspired facilitation techniques. He has helped transform teams from Nike, U.S. SOCOM, Google, the Air Force, Apple, Adobe, Dropbox, Fidelity, Vrbo, Liberty Mutual, Humana, and SAIC. Douglas is a thought leader and master facilitator of Design Sprints, Innovation Acceleration, Team Alignment, Meeting Systems, Culture Transitions, and Change Transformations. He is also the author of four books: Magical Meetings, Beyond the Prototype, How to Remix Anything, and Start Within. He has been published in Forbes, Fast Company, Innovation Leader, and is a regular contributor to The Future Shapers. He publishes a weekly podcast called Control the Room. Motivated by a mission to rid the world of horrible meetings and offer meaningful magical meeings in their place, Voltage Control is calling upon fellow facilitators to transform meeting and innovation culture. From free weekly community meetups to Control the Room–the annual facilitator summit, Voltage Control is building a community of facilitators to change the world. Douglas is active in the Austin startup community where he serves on the board of several non-profits, mentors startups, and advises early-stage ventures. Prior to founding Voltage Control, Douglas held CTO positions at numerous Austin startups where he led product and engineering teams.When not facilitating or coaching facilitators you might find Douglas patching up his Modular Synth, boxing, or doing pilates. 

Timestamp

2:12 Doug’s early years, and getting into the startup space

2:36 From getting fascinated about collaboration, to an interest in facilitation

3:41 How his first experience as a speaker started his thought leader journey

5:26 What makes a meeting Magical

6:37 Small changes, big results

8:32 Personal experience in dealing with career change

13:17 Making clients acknowledge the human problem

16:33 How to face fear and identity issues in the change process

18:08 Dealing with organizational change as a result of the pandemic

19:43 How the tragic loss of a co-worker inspired creation of the Safe Pledge

23:39 Building a community of facilitators

26:19 Designing a memorable, accessible meeting experience for all

28:36 Doug’s typical work day

31:44 Curiosity, creativity and self-challenge: taking small steps to start change

33:27 Upcoming activities and plans 

Social Media

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/douglasferguson/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/voltagectrl

SAFE Alliance: https://www.safeaustin.org/

Follow Patti Dobrowolski - Instagram https://www.instagram.com/upyourcreativegenius/

Follow Patti Dobrowolski - Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/patti-dobrowolski-532368/

Up Your Creative Genius - https://www.upyourcreativegenius.com/ 

Patti Dobrowolski 00:03

Hello, Superstars! Welcome to the Up Your Creative Genius Podcast, where you will gain insight and tips to stomp on the accelerator and blast off to transform your business and your life. I'm your host, Patti Dobrowolski. And if this is your first time tuning in, then strap in - because this is serious rocket fuel. Each week, I interview fellow creative geniuses to help you learn how easy it is to Up Your Creative Genius in any part of your life.

Patti Dobrowolski 00:39

Hey, everybody. Oh my gosh, I have Douglas Ferguson here. This guy is an author, a speaker, master facilitator, and he's the president of Voltage Control - and he's going to tell us what Voltage Control is all about - but let me just say that he helps companies to sustain and scale their innovation through design thinking and synthesis of visuals, and creating a Fast to Fail culture - and I love that Fast to Fail idea - so we're gonna get into that for sure. But he's also the author of "A Non Obvious Guide to Magical Meetings" - which if you don't know about the Non Obvious guide books, they're really incredible, and so you want to read his Magical Meetings, reinvent how your team works together. And he's got so much stuff happening that in the shownotes, you got to go right away to Voltage Control and see the events that he runs and the trainings that he has, and the coffee chats - he's just incredible. So, welcome to the show, Douglas.

Douglas Ferguson 01:36

Wow, thanks for the warm welcome. And it's good to be here. So excited to talk to fellow facilitators. That's one of my favorite things to do.

Patti Dobrowolski 01:45

Yeah, fantastic. I love that you're here. And it was so much fun to read about you and see what you'd been up to, kind of - you know, I love just going behind the scenes and like get any int- Is there any dirty laundry in here? I'm looking for, you know, like, is there anything fun in here? It's all fun in there - your sizzle reel on your website, it's really great and fun to watch, and I was thinking, wow, this is so cool to have you. So tell us a little bit about yourself, would you?

Douglas Ferguson 02:12

Yeah, sure. Born in Virginia, it's uh, tobacco farmers and, you know, first generation to make it to college. I was really into computers from a young age, I was playing around on a Commodore 64 programming and even in high school, first program was to make a Frankenstein out of characters, so you know-

Patti Dobrowolski 02:34

Yes, yes. (laughs)

Douglas Ferguson 02:36

-that was a great use of time, I tell ya. So fast forward after school, I got bit by the startup bug pretty early. This is like in the 90s. I was like working for a startup that wanted to be Facebook before MySpace even existed, you know, it's like, it's like, needless to say, being early is just as bad as being wrong. So I got- I learned a lot, you know, through the years of writing code for tech startups, and then leading engineers and products, people and designers, what it took to build sustainable, highly collaborative teams.

Patti Dobrowolski 03:14

Yeah.

Douglas Ferguson 03:14

And I was always really fascinated about the mechanisms by which people bring forth collaboration. I didn't even know the word "facilitation" nor had I heard about it, but I kind of conflated it with like, moderation, or I was like, someone does negotiations, and I wasn't really quite sure. But I was always really fascinated with, you know, whether it was extreme programming, or agile or lean and experimenting with these different ways to have better meetings.

Patti Dobrowolski 03:41

Yeah.

Douglas Ferguson 03:42

And then fast forward to my last startup, which was - you know, I was kind of done with the startup world, and - but through that experience, I'd met the design team at Google Ventures. And on that team was Jake Knapp, who wrote the book "Design Sprints". So I got a lot of people asking me to come and speak on "Design Sprints", and so that led to a whole new world opening up around being a thought leader on this stuff. It was interesting, because I was able to tap all this other experience I had in this love I had for bringing people together - it was almost like a new lease on life, because I realized that, "Whoa, I can do this for a living". Like, I don't have to like a startup and do this with inside the startup, I can do this for a living. That was really, really pretty incredible.

Patti Dobrowolski 04:26

Oh, that's so fantastic. What a great way to describe that. You know, on the podcast, about four episodes before you I interviewed Joni Wickham, who was the Chief of Staff for Mayor Sly James in Kansas City, and she grew up on a tobacco farm too. So just so you know, we got a theme going on here. So for those of you listening, anybody can come from anywhere and really become a game changer. And you really have, in this field of facilitation - I think that one of the things that I know to be true about you is that every experience in your meetings is so interactive, that people are just having a blast - though that you know, even though they're working on hard stuff, they're having so much fun. So tell the listeners, like if they get dropped into a meeting with you, or your team, what will be some of the differentiators between meetings they have been in before?

Douglas Ferguson 05:26

Hmm. Well, I think one big one is that they'll know why they're there - before they show up. And while they're there, there'll be a very clear understanding of why they're there, and how they can contribute. And they're going to be invited to shape the outcome. Someone in our community once said that, you know, diversity is inviting everyone to the dance. Inclusion is inviting someone to dance. And so, something that happens in our meetings is that you will be invited to dance.

Patti Dobrowolski 05:58

Yeah, that's fantastic. And in that dance, you'll tap into your own piece of the vision, because one of the things you talk about a lot - in some of the interviews with you, you talk about how important it is to make a commitment, adapting to the environment to make small incremental change, and know that those small changes add up to big wins when you want to step into your future. So say something about that for you as a person - how did you decide or learn that small things equal big results, eventually?

Douglas Ferguson 06:37

It's interesting, I don't know if I can point to one particular moment where someone says "This is the equation to life", or "This is the way things work". But I think that it was just a culmination of a lot of lived experience, or lived experiences where I was always very curious. You know, I was the kind of kid that liked to take things apart and put them back together, and sometimes they didn't quite work the way they worked before. And so, I think one of the things, maybe, that was super pivotal for me: well, early in my career as a software developer, I got really fixated on what now some folks refer to as the "learning loop". And so, the time it took for me to discover that something was broken, or that I had introduced a bug or a defect was directly correlated to how expensive it was to fix it, or how much damage or pain it caused to my co-workers, or to how much money it made the company lose - the longer it took, the more you know, of an impact, negative impact that it would make - and so if I can reduce that time, it was better and better. And then I started to realize, like: Oh, wow, if I also can start to reduce the time to learnings, even when I'm trying things out in the code or experimenting with the way something works, the quicker I come up with solutions to almost the way it starts to become real time. You're almost intuitive, like you try something and you're instantly seeing the results. And so, I think that led me to this understanding of like, oh, wow, you don't have to have everything figured out at once. You can sort of probe the system and understand, and then probe the system and understand, which, like, years later, I came to understand from learning about complexity theory, that that is exactly how you need to operate in a complex environment or complex system, which is where we all find ourselves these days.

Patti Dobrowolski 08:32

Yup. And so, that's something about getting yourself to test multiple tests, at the same time of something. I love this conversation we're having, because, you know, for me, I'm always coming up with these new ideas. And then, you know, I want to see: will this work? What, can this work? What about this? And then, I'll follow my intuition around some things, but the key that I think in design thinking is to get your customer involved in the process early enough. So you see if what the solution you're providing is something they can actually use. Because, you know, I love that book - it's about your mother or something? - I can't remember what the name of it is, but it's all about how we often create things that just our mother will like, because our mother likes anything that we do, right? Most of the time. And so, trying to get yourself to do that. Now, what did you see as challenges that you faced in your career trajectory? What did you and how did you learn to pivot and be able to shift from this software and design of the startup environment into this facilitator thing? What allowed you to feel like you had the confidence to do that?

Douglas Ferguson 09:45

You know, I think surrounding myself with lots of mentors, and cheerleaders - yeah, like anyone who was willing to tell me that I could do it and help me see blind spots or gaps - you know, I think that really helped. Also, having someone anticipated the opportunity, you kind of, kind of prepare it a little bit. So I had a little bit saved, so I could, you know, could hunker down and go through a period of growth and building, you know?

Patti Dobrowolski 10:16

Yeah.

Douglas Ferguson 10:17

And then I was just kind of strategic around- it was down to basics, you know, I even created a little bit of budget, like, what do I need to bring in to even live by the most like, economic means necessary. And then, another thing I did is I'm a firm believer in being as economical and scrappy as possible in the beginning. And so, you know, I didn't - we didn't even have a website, we were using- At the time, Medium, let you use custom domains - on Medium. And so I used Medium as my website, because I did- I had a strong desire to blog and write because I felt like if I got my ideas out -

Patti Dobrowolski 10:53

- then people would know who you were, and figure out what you were doing?

Douglas Ferguson 10:57

Boom. That's the big thing, right? That writing helped me process, and then, meeting with my mentors and talking through those things, and then writing about it just helped me funnel the vision further. And so, those are critical points - are critical elements from the very beginning.

Patti Dobrowolski 11:12

Well, now, are you a visualizer? Are you a illustrator, too, as well as being a facilitator? Or do you bring in somebody to do the part of drawing the pictures in that way.

Douglas Ferguson 11:24

I'm not an illustrator myself. But I will say that I do like to draw and doodle, and I do express myself visually - but I'm not a finessed illustrator. And so, anytime that we're working with a client, or doing a project, where we want to bring that element in - whether that's because we're wanting to have a multi sensory experience, or you know, quite often we're having to create polished graphics for the website, or for, you know, some kind of like deliverable or whatnot, you know - we have folks on staff, and we have contractors that we work with. And you know, I've got this curse, right, that I have an eye for what I know looks good and is polished and is beautiful, but it takes me forever to get there. And so, that's why it's better for me to work with someone else. I know that deficiency on myself, but it's also somewhat of a curse, right? Because some people will happily be like, that looks fine. And I'm like, oh, no, no, no, no, that's not good.

Patti Dobrowolski 12:24

I so know this. I mean, I have a studio artist that I'll use, if I feel like, oh, I need something that is just super dialed in for this client - so I'll send it to him, and I'll say, hey can you do this - and then, you know, it's one of those miraculous things when you get that product back, and then it turns into collateral, and you see it on the website, and all of that. You know, trained eyes can see the difference between what I would consider to be my hack - real time drawing, which sometimes is hacking - sometimes if I've really, you know, dialed it in, it's can be spectacular, but it takes a lot of time, right, which is what you're talking about. And sometimes you don't have the time, especially if you're in a meeting, and you've got a lot of things happening now, who do you- you know, like, what's your best ideal client that you've been working with that you love? What are the problems that they're having, and how do you help them? I'm curious.

Douglas Ferguson 13:17

Yeah, you know, we work with all sorts of clients, because we're training folks that come to our website and sign up for a course or even certification. And so those students look vastly different, you know - some of them might be work for a nonprofit, so it might be the leader of a Fortune 100, so one might be a freelance facilitator. And so those cohorts are quite diverse, which is kind of fun, because they all learn from each other - and that's part of why the cohort approach is so powerful. But when we're talking about on the private side, where I'm facilitating, or we're doing, like bigger change efforts for clients, you know, I would say the the ones that are- had, were kind of stuck, and really struggling with the change, but they were receptive to change, and they're receptive to support and help. And so, they sought us out and they said, hey, we know we need help, and we're willing to have a guide here. You know, it's like- because oftentimes, people want to just go down the river rapids themselves, oh they think, "Oh, if I just rent their equipment, I'm good to go", but some folks realize, like, hey, it's gonna be helpful to have a guide to navigate these rapids with us. And, you know, it can be all sorts of different things that they're facing, you know, whether it's like we're trying to migrate all of our stuff to the cloud, or maybe our employee onboarding process is broken - or it has been broken forever, but now that we're all remote, it's very, very clear to how broken it is.

Patti Dobrowolski 14:50

Yeah, exactly.

Douglas Ferguson 14:50

You know, it can be so many different things, but I think the critical thing - just put the cherry on top - that makes it the best clients is when they really, really understand out of the gate that this is a human problem. And this isn't about like, coming in with some logistical, like, change management-

Patti Dobrowolski 15:11

Org chart, org chart. Yup.

Douglas Ferguson 15:12

Right. Network theory is really important, and that's one of the things we do - is we start to analyze the network. But the org chart is just one of the networks.

Patti Dobrowolski 15:20

Yeah, I love that. I think, you know, for years, I would train people in change management. That's what I did, you know, but I always found that - and that's actually how I discovered Draw Your Future, because the meeting was so- They wanted me - the change management company that I worked for - they wanted me to go in with curriculum, and I knew that was never the entry point. So if I could get people to draw right at the beginning and talk about what the experience was like, everything changed right away. And they were open, and then we could figure out, okay, well, what's the solution? And should we try this, this, this - and I tried to give him like a smorgasbord of things, and let them choose. Which is really what I think, in your case, it's all about choice and accountability in the meeting itself, because you can come in with tons of solutions for people - but they're your solutions, and they're not your problems. You're not the one that's living their everyday experience. You might have a ton of people you've worked with like that in the past, but- So how do you handle the clients, or do you ever come across them that just want you to come in and fix it?

Douglas Ferguson 16:25

Well, when they want us to come in and fix it, that we had to- We had to take them on that journey to a realization that it is about the people.

Patti Dobrowolski 16:32

Yeah.

Douglas Ferguson 16:33

-and they have to get on board with the sense of co-authorship, the stuff you talked about, you know, that we are going to be creating narratives about our future, you know, that storytelling is so important. Doing it through graphics, as well as through just oration as well can be powerful. But the point is, like, we had to do that explorative work together, and even look internally around what are the impacts, and how are people feeling, and what are the emotions about all of this? And one big one is understanding the impacts that it can have on identity, because a lot of times change can be very frightening from the sense of like, "I'm not going to be the same person I was".

Patti Dobrowolski 17:15

Yeah.

Douglas Ferguson 17:15

You know, that's very scary. And a lot of times people don't want to face that fear or don't want to admit it.

Patti Dobrowolski 17:20

Yeah, I think this is so critical what you're talking about, because it's the scariest thing about knowing you need to shift personally when you're trying to make a change - is that yes, you will be afraid in that, and if you weren't afraid, I would be worried about you a little bit. You know what I mean? Like, then you'd be cliffdiving all the time - which some people can do it - but, if you can understand that to dive into your own psyche to see "who am I, if I'm not this", or "if I become this", then it's so helpful. Where have you had to do that in yourself? Like, did you have to do anything during COVID? Did it impact you? Did you find, you know- what happened to you in that experience?

Douglas Ferguson 18:08

Yes, throughout the pandemic, we've had a few major shifts, and one of them was just the lockdown, and just a lot of the upheaval that happened when so many clients shifted to having to work from home, and just the uncertainty of all that. And from a capability standpoint, we saw this coming pretty early; and for us, the major shift was updating marketing language and just speaking to what we already knew, because at the end of the day, we were running remote workshops, because we couldn't fly into town to do a sales discovery.

Patti Dobrowolski 18:48

Meetings, yeah, that's right.

Douglas Ferguson 18:49

Right? And so we had programmed that stuff to be remote. And that was, you know- and so we just had to reprogram a few things, we had to like, you know, redo some assets, we had to change copy on our website - those are the main things. And then also, we had to spend time supporting our community who were all suffering, because a lot of the community didn't have experience with diverse distributed teams - they didn't have experience with technology. You know, me being a software developer, we were using neural- well, before the pandemic, we were like- I mean, I've been using Zoom since 2007, early 2007, or late 2006. And that's just how we operated, you know, and so, it wasn't that big of a jump for us, but we had to support the community through that. And so, you know, there was a lot to do. So we're busy, but it wasn't as frightening as some, you know, some people had to really, really reinvent themselves in a major, major way. I would say the thing that was the most, the biggest struggle for us to navigate was when we tragically lost our Head of Operations to domestic violence last fall - and many folks will know about this because we dedicated our conference to her this year, and we've been doing a lot of work with Safe Alliance, which is an amazing organization here in Austin, Texas. And we're about to launch - and by the time this comes out, it may already be launched or might be coming soon after - something called the Safe Pledge, that our work toward creating policies, our own internal HR policies around awareness of domestic violence, how to support discovery and conversations, what to do if we notice certain things that might be concerning, but like, should I do anything? Well, there's training for that sort of stuff. And so, socializing that and having policies around it., and then we're going to take that pledge public and try to get as many companies on board as possible-

Patti Dobrowolski 20:43

Adopt it.

Douglas Ferguson 20:44

- to raise these practices and adopt it. But yeah, that was-

Patti Dobrowolski 20:47

Whoa, that's so intense. And so, you know, unfortunately, it's really common.

Douglas Ferguson 20:54

Yes.

Patti Dobrowolski 20:54

That's the thing. And sometimes you don't even know how common it is. But when it happens to someone near you, it really hits home - I will do everything I can to promote that. So you just know that - you send me that information, I'll send it to all my top clients and get them on board and get in touch with their HR, see if we can promote that. Because there are things you can do, but you need to know how to have the conversation, and how to- in such a way that the person doesn't feel shamed by it, because the shame will just drive them back. And yeah-

Douglas Ferguson 20:56

You know, another thing that I learned from working with Safe so far - and I've got tons more to learn, but - the thing that really just, if we don't know anything else, the one thing we should know is, the time that people are most at risk, is when they're confronting it, just before, or just after they leave.

Patti Dobrowolski 21:48

Yes.

Douglas Ferguson 21:48

Because it's all about control. And so when they're about to leave, or when they've just left is when their controller is feeling the sense that they've lost control, or they're losing control - and that's when they go off the rails, and that's when really bad stuff can happen. And so, that's something to be very mindful of, and a time to bring in experts and make sure resources are available. Anyway, I think there's lots of ways we can support people that are in situations that, you know, are headed in that direction, or worse. And that's kind of where at this point, you know, having navigated this for a little while, where it's just like, how can we help others avoid similar situations.

Patti Dobrowolski 22:27

Well, and so much grief around that - I can feel that, you know, just in you talking about it, and I appreciate so much that you're talking about it with the kind of care that you are, because it's really important. Especially during this time, and especially - we live in Texas, you know, you and I - so it's a bit of a different world, but honestly: if you look anywhere in the world, you'll see pieces of this everywhere, in all forms. And so, to be alert and awake to what people are experiencing, and then give a safe space for people to actually talk about what is happening and support them - I love that. I want to just circle back to what you said about the pivot during the change that you were supporting your community. So I'm assuming, you know, you do these facilitation trainings and certifications - so you send people out on their journey to become their own facilitation of design thinking and synthesis whiz, so that they can apply it to whatever they're doing, whether it's their small business they're building or whether they're internal HR or like this, correct?

Douglas Ferguson 23:39

Mm hmm. Yeah. You know, in the community even goes beyond folks that have spent any money with us like, we have a free facilitation lab every Thursday. And in fact, I rarely get to facilitate anymore, the facilitation labs, because there's just so much going on with growing the business and stuff. And I'm actually going to facilitate one tomorrow, which just like will be in distant future by the time this comes out. But I'm super excited about it. And- but yeah, every week, we invite a guest facilitator to facilitate - and just hold that space and create something unique. So it's not a presentation, it's not a webinar - but it's a time to come together as facilitators, and watch a facilitator, model a facilitator and do a thing - experiment with something, have a conversation. So we do that every week, and then we have a Slack channel that we bring everyone together as well - and so there's open discussions around whatever is on people's minds, etc. We also kind of consider social media our community as well, because a lot of the people that follow us on social media - sure, there's clients, ex-clients and things and whatnot - but a lot of the folks that are going to tap in in our content and following us and in active dialogue are facilitators that are just there - kind of on that, on that journey, fellow travelers with us.

Patti Dobrowolski 24:58

Yes, yes, like 17,000 of them on LinkedIn are following you. So I checked that out, I was like, yeah, way to go! And, you know, you have a beautiful- So, if anybody wants to just read anything that is been written about you and your company - you know, there's a Forbes 2020 article that came out, it's really great, you give some fantastic tips about how to do things online, most of us know some of them - but there's some things in there that I think you can always revisit and remember about creating an engagement, because an online experience, no matter what it is, should be engaging, right? From the beginning, it should be something where you feel like, "Oh, this is gonna be so cool!" right? And as we get further and further into doing more of hybrid work like this, the online experiences should be even better. That's what I, you know, want and strive for it, like, how can we make it even better that people are calling in, or people are, right there just showing up; that people are doing some theatrical presentation, and that they get a wig in a box that arrives, you know, the day before, and, you know, script that they can use or modify, right, to do some piece of it. Because I think we want to create an environment in which people are just exploding in their brain, in a good way, with new ideas.

Douglas Ferguson 26:19

You know, I absolutely love that. And I always encourage people to think about, you know, can we think about how we make stuff tangible, physical, send something to someone? Or how are we designing in fun and play into these experiences? The thing I want to make sure we underscore though, is, that can be a bit frightening for folks. As far as like, if you're a designer of this thing, and you're unfamiliar with this stuff. And it's like, oh, how do I even start? What do I even do? And, I just want to say that if you're looking at it going - Well, that sounds great. But I don't even know where to begin? What do I do? This sounds like way over the top for what I'm capable of - just at least, if you do nothing else, think about the meeting equity.

Patti Dobrowolski 27:03

Yeah.

Douglas Ferguson 27:03

So think about everyone that's gonna show up. If you're doing a hybrid meeting, how are you making sure that the person that dials in, or the people that dial in, had the same or equal experience as someone else? You know, if someone is blind, do they have an equal experience as someone else? You know, there's an accessibility component to the invite and to the software, but there's also an accessibility component to your design, and the activities you're doing, and how you're asking people to dance.

Patti Dobrowolski 27:34

Yes. And I think there's something about understanding the culture too, and really being respectful of that. So, you know, that you enter into play, I was thinking, when I was trained as a therapist, when you would do kid therapy, you knew that you hadn't firmly entered the play accurately, if the child stopped playing when you started to play with them - then you had not entered the field that way. And that is really how you think about it with clients, right? That if they stop playing, and they're frozen in fear or frozen in disbelief or whatever, then no, they're not in - and you're going to, then you have to really push the rock up the hill, Sisyphus, and hope it doesn't fall back down again. Right? So I love that. Now, when you just tell me like, what's just a day for you? What's it look like from start to finish? What do you do in the morning? How do you keep yourself centered and balanced? You know, you have a lot of people that you work with. So how do you stay in tune? Tell me, tell me those things.

Douglas Ferguson 28:36

Yeah, you know, some days are different - you know, like different days have some different things scheduled on them. But everyday starts off with exercise. I kind of chuckled - I laughed as I started to say it just because I know some people like, aren't really into fad diets and things - but I've found that intermittent fasting really works well for me, so I don't eat breakfast. I exercise very hard in the mornings, either with Pilates or boxing. I'm into hitting hidden heavy bags. So sweat, and in the morning, and then I use-

Patti Dobrowolski 29:07

Sweat and starvation, sweat and starvation. That's right. (laughs)

Douglas Ferguson 29:12

And then you know, usually I'm starting off with some sort - I usually have some sort of something starting off the day meeting-wise - either, you know, diving in with my team or a workshop or what have you, and spend a lot of time in MURAL. I spend a lot of time in HubSpot if I'm doing sales-related stuff. So it's either kind of thinking about the operations or thinking about executing with the client.

Patti Dobrowolski 29:36

And then when does your day stop, how do you end the day?

Douglas Ferguson 29:40

You know, I typically work fairly late. I do take frequent breaks and my schedule's fairly fluid. I will kind of schedule around my needs or kind of take some serendipity along the way. But, generally, my evenings are filled with - you know, generally I'll break away and start like, just reading on Reddit or kind of spending a little time on TikTok - you know, my Netflix time got replaced with TikTok time - which like, I've managed to curate some really amazing creators that I think are pretty phenomenal, and they entertain me pretty well. So-

Patti Dobrowolski 30:20

Oh, you should put those in your shownotes so we can- because I don't think people know how to curate on TikTok, I don't think they understand that there are some amazing people that you can follow. And to make sure that you are getting, I don't know - because it is so much fun to see what's happening now. And to watch Makers, I that's my favorite thing is to watch Makers in that space - see what they're up to, what are they creating - and then get to see the progression of something that they're building. To me it's exciting, people in a room full of people where it's chaotic, and then it becomes very expansive - you know, these things are fantastic. I'm about to go to Make48 in Wichita, so - I can't wait to go and be in that whole Maker experience.

Douglas Ferguson 31:07

That's cool. I'm glad they're still doing those.

Patti Dobrowolski 31:09

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that guy. He's amazing. God, I just felt like when I met him - you know, he's from New Zealand, and he's got a big sheep farm, and outside of Kansas City, and oh, like anybody from New Zealand, I'm in - you know, it's just like the most beautiful country in the world. So,anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for coming and spend time with us. Now tell us, you know, if you have any tips to give people that are listening, who are thinking they want to pivot or make change, are there anything that you would tell them to think about or do to help them?

Douglas Ferguson 31:44

Yeah, I think the main thing is just to get started, you know. Like, get started, start small, just start learning - start asking questions, get curious, be creative, challenge your assumptions - you know, I assume that you've got some stuff wrong. That's about the only assumption that's valuable, right? Is that something about your worldview? Or that how you think things are gonna unfold is incorrect, and just assume that it's wrong, you know, share your thoughts. And one of the things I see when I'm mentoring startups - one of the number one things I see really common across startups that fail - are the ones that are like, really protective of their idea, and aren't willing to share the idea, or should be vulnerable about their concerns of their pains and their struggles. If you're not being transparent about those things, you're not - no one's gonna be able to help you. And unless you're just super lucky, and somehow you just like, got it all figured out - which like, I don't know, if I've ever met anyone like that -

Patti Dobrowolski 32:50

No, me neither.

Douglas Ferguson 32:51

Um, so, just share it out, no one's gonna steal your idea, because there's too many ideas in the world. And then just, you know, just talk to a lot of people and just try things.

Patti Dobrowolski 33:02

Yeah, and ask for help. I think that's key, what you said to- Oh, my gosh, I just have enjoyed - the time just flew by with yours, like, this is crazy. So I can't wait to till we are in a face to face experience together at some point, or I'd love to have you back on the show to talk about what else is happening. So tell us a little bit about what you have on an ongoing basis, how people can connect with you.

Douglas Ferguson 33:27

You know, one thing that I was gonna share at some point - but then we're just having fun with the conversation. I didn't even think to bring it up, but - was that, you know, we created this Work Now Report, it's - you know, our vision was it would be an annual report, but as we got into it, I think we might make it biannual. So we might do a Summer and a Winter, but we just launched the Winter one back in February, so Work Now 2022. And, one of the things I think's was really fascinating, is out of all the leaders that we surveyed in this research, over 75% of these leaders reported that facilitation played a major role in conducting change within their organization. So, you know, I had a hunch that it's becoming more common in the perception of, you know, valuable skills and roles within organizations - but to be over 75% was pretty shocking. So that's for all your facilitators out there is - we're on the right path, and it's been getting more and more popular.

Patti Dobrowolski 34:34

That's job security. That's job security right there, I love that.

Douglas Ferguson 34:38

That's right. That's right.

Patti Dobrowolski 34:38

That's fantastic. So that's coming out-

Douglas Ferguson 34:40

-the Work Now Report, the first one came out in February - we're gonna be releasing more of them, so check that one out, and stay tuned for more. And then we have our weekly facilitation lab. We also have, you know, regular courses and workshops that are available, and we do an annual conference for facilitators every February, so we're going to do that again here in Austin, in February of 2023.

Patti Dobrowolski 35:03

Oh, that's fantastic. I can't wait for that. I love that. And I just can't wait to see what you're up to next. I'll follow in your footsteps and get my Non Obvious Guide to Draw Your Future finished, so I get it out there to people - I love that yours is out there, and I would highly encourage people to connect with him at hello@voltagecontrol.com - it's a great way to just post a question or how can you get involved because this is a community you want to be a part of in some way, and just keep up with what they're doing because it's really exciting. I'm just so happy to have met you and connected finally, and thank you so much for your time today. It was really amazing.

Douglas Ferguson 35:46

Hey, thank you for having me, and Patti, I really look forward to when we do get together in person.

Patti Dobrowolski 35:51

Me too. All right, see you soon. And now, everybody, you know the drill - if you like it, please repost this to all of the friends that you have - and colleagues - so they can learn more about Voltage Control, and until next time, Up Your Creative Genius - we mean it, don't we?

Patti Dobrowolski 36:11

Thanks so much for listening today. Be sure to DM me on Instagram your feedback or takeaways from today's episode on Up Your Creative Genius. Then, join me next week for more rocket fuel. Remember, you are the superstar of your universe and the world needs what you have to bring - so get busy, get out and Up Your Creative Genius! And no matter where you are in the universe, here's some big love from yours truly, Patti Dobrowolski, and the Up Your Creative Genius Podcast. That's a wrap!

Hello, superstars, welcome to the up your creative genius podcast, where you will gain insight and tips to stomp on the accelerator and blast off to transform your business and your life. I'm your host, pattied over Vulski, and if this is your first time tuning in, then strap in, because this is serious rocket fuel. Each week, I interview fellow creative geniuses to help you learn how easy it is to up your creative genius in any part of your life. Hey Everybody, oh my gosh, I have Douglas Ferguson here. This guy is an author, a speaker, master facilitator and he's the president of voltage control and he's going to tell us what voltage control is all about. But let me just say that he helps companies to sustain and scale their innovation through design, thinking and synthesis of visuals and creating a fast to fail culture, and I love that fast to fail idea. So we're going to get into that for sure. But he's also the author of a non obvious guide to magical meetings, which, if you don't know about the non obvious guide books, they're really incredible, and so you want to read his magical meeting reinvent how your team works together and he's got so much stuff happening that in the show notes you got to go right away to voltage control and see the event study runs in the training ste he has and the coffee chats. He's just incredible. So welcome to the show, Douglas. Wow, thanks for the warm welcome and it's good to be here. Are So excited to talk to a fellow facilitators. That's one of my favorite things to do. Yeah, fantastic. I love that you're here and it was so much fun to read about you and see what you'd been up to kind of you know, I love just going behind the scenes and like get any into is there any dirty laundry? And here I'm looking for you know, like, is there anything fun in here? It's all fun in there. Your sizzle reel on your website it's really great and fun to watch and I was thinking, wow, this it's so cool to have you. So tell us a little bit about yourself, would you? Yeah, sure, born in Virginia. It's a tobacco farmers and, you know, first generation to make it to college. was really into computers from a young age. I was playing around on a commodore sixty four programming and even in high school first program was to make a Frankenstein out of Aska characters. So, yes, yes, that was a good, great use of time, I tell you so. Fast forward after school. I got bit by the Startup Bug pretty early. This is like in the S. I was like working for a startup that wanted to be facebook before my space even existed. You know, it's like it's like, needless to say, being early is just as bad as being wrong's I got. I learned a lot, you know, through the years...

...of writing code for tech startups and then leading engineers and products people and designers at what it took to build sustainable, highly collaborative teams. Yeah, and I was always really fascinated about the mechanisms by which people bring forth collaboration. I didn't even know the word facilitation, or I'd heard about it, but I kind of conflated it with like moderation. Or I wasn't, like I just someone that does negotiations. I'm not. Wasn't really quite sure, but I was always really fascinated with, you know, whether it was extreme programming or agile lane and experimenting with these different ways to have better meetings. Yeah, and then fast forward to my last startup, which was you know, I was kind of done with the startup world. And Yeah, but through that experience I'd met the the design team at Google ventures and on that team was Jake Knapp, who wrote the book design sprints, and so got a lot of people asking me to come and speak on design sprints, and so that led to a whole new world opening up around being a thought later on the stuff. It was interesting because I was able to tap all this other experience I had and this love I had for bringing people together. It was almost like a new lease on life because I realized that, Whoa, I can do this for a living. Like I don't have to start up and do this withinside the startup. I can do this for a living. That was really, really pretty incredible. Oh, that's so fantastic. What a great way to describe that. You know, on the podcast, about four episodes before you I interview Joanie Wickham, who was the chief of staff for Mayor Sly James in Kansas City and she grew up on a tobacco farm too. So just so you know, we got a theme going on here. So for those of you listening. Anybody can come from anywhere and really become a game changer, and you really have in this field of facilitation. I think that one of the things that I know to be true about you is that every experience in your meetings is so interactive that people are just having a blast thought the you know, even though they're working on hard stuff it, they are having so much fun. So tell the listeners like, if they get dropped into a meeting with you or your team, what will be some of the differentiators between meetings they have been in before? HMM, well, I think one big one is that they'll know why they're there before they show up and while they're there they'll be a very clear understanding of why they're there and how they can contribute, and they're going to be invited to shape the outcome. Someone in our community once said that in a diversity is inviting everyone to the dance. Inclusion is inviting someone to dance, and so something that happens in our meetings is that you will be invited to dance. Yeah, that's fantastic, and in that dance you'll tap into your own piece of the...

...vision, because one of the things you talk about a lot. In some of the interviews with you you talked about how important it is to make a commitment adapting to the environment, to make small, incremental change and know that those small changes add up to big wins when you want to step into your future. So say something about that for you as a person, how did you decide or learn that small things equal big results eventually? It's interesting. I don't know if I can point to one particular moment where someone said this is the equation to life or this is the way things work, but I think the it was just a culmination of a lot of lived experience. Are lived experiences where I was always very curious. You know, I was the kind of kid that like to take things apart and put them back together and sometimes they didn't quite worked the way they worked before, and so I think one of the things maybe those super pivotal for me. Well, early in my career as a software developer, I got really fixated on what now some folks refer to as the learning loop, and so the time it took for me to discover that something was broken or that I had introduced a bug or a defect was directly correlated to the how expensive it was to fix it or how much damage or pain it caused to my co workers or to the cow, much money and made the company lose. The longer it took, the more you know of an impact, negative impact that would that would make. And so if I could reduce that time, it was better and better. And then I started to realize like, Oh wow, the I fight also can start to reduce the time to learnings, even when I'm trying things out in the code or experimental with the way something works, the quicker I can come up with solutions to almost a where it starts to become real time and you're almost into it. Am like, you try something, you're instantly seeing the results, and so I think that led me to this understanding of like, Oh wow, you don't have to have everything figured out at once. You can start a probe the system and understand and then probe the system and understand, which, like years later, I came to understand from learning about complexity theory, that that is exactly how you need to operate in a complex environment or complex system, which is where we all find ourselves these days. And so that's something about getting yourself to test multiple tests at the same time of something. I love this conversation we're having because, you know, for me, I'm always coming up with these new ideas and then, you know, I want to see will this work? What can this work? What about this? And then I'll follow my intuition around some things. But the key that I think in design thinking is to get your customer in involved in...

...the process early enough so you see if what the solution you're providing is something they can actually use. Because, you know, I love that book. It's about your mother or something. I can't remember what the name of it is, but it's all about how we often create things that just our mother will like, because our mother likes anything that we do right most of the time. And so trying to get yourself to do that now. What did you see as challenges that you faced in your career trajectory? What did you and how did you learn to pivot and be able to shift from this software and design of the Startup Environment into this facilitator thing? What allowed you to feel like you had the confidence to do that? You know, I think surrounding myself with lots of mentors and share leaders, like anyone who is willing to tell me that I could do it and help me see blind spots or gaps. You know, I think that really helped. Also, having somewhat anticipated the opportunity, you kind of kind of prepared it a little bit. So I had a little bit saved so I could, you know, could hunker down and and go through a period of growth and building, you know. Yeah, and then I was just kind of strategic around it was down to basics. You know, even created a little bit of budget, like what do I need to bring in to even live by the most like economic means necessary. And then another thing I did is I firm believer and being as economical and a scrappy as possible in the beginnings, and so, you know, I did. We didn't even have a website. We were using meat at the time. Medium. Let you use custom domains on medium, and so I use the medium as my website because I did. I had to strong desire to blog and write, because I felt like if I got my ideas out, that would who would know who you were, and you know, it hurt out what you were doing. Boom, that's the big thing, right. I have been writing helped me process and then meeting with my mentors and talking through those things, and I'm writing about it just help me funnel the vision further. And so those are critical points or critical elements from the very beginning. Well, now, are you visualizer? Are you a illustrator to as well as I'm being a facilitator, or do you bring in somebody to do the part of drawing the pictures in that way? I'm not an illustrator myself, but I will say that I do like to draw and doodle and I do express myself visually, but I'm not a finessed illustrator. And so anytime that we're working with a client or doing a project where we want to bring that element in, whether that's because we're willing to have a multisensory experience or you know, quite often we're having to create polished graphics for the website or for, you know, some kind of like deliverable whatnot. You know, we have folks on staff and we have contractors that we...

...work with and you know I've got this curse right that I have an eye for what I know looks good and as polished and as and as beautiful, but it takes me forever to get there. And so it's why it's better for me to work with someone else. I know that that the fishency and myself, but it's also somewhat of a curse, right, because some people will happily be like that looks fine and I'm like, Oh, no, no, no, no, it's not good. I so. No, I mean I have a studio artist that I'll use if I feel like, oh, I need something that is just super dialed in for this client, so I'll send it to him and I'll say, Hey, can you do this, and then, you know, it's one of those miraculous things when you get that product back and then it turns into collateral and you see it on the website and all of that. You know, trained I can see the difference between what I would consider to be my hack, real time drawing, which sometimes at hack and sometimes, if I've really, you know, dialed it in, it's can be spectacular, but it takes a lot of time, right, which is what you're talking about, and sometimes you don't have the time, especially if you're in a meeting and you got a lot of things happening. Now. Who Do you you know, like, what's your best ideal client that you've been working with that you love? What are the problems that they're having and how do you help them? I'm curious. Yeah, you know, we work with all sorts of clients because we're training folks that come to our website and sign up for a course or even certification, and so those students look vastly different. You know, some of them might be work for a nonprofit, so one might be the leader and a fortune one hundred. Someone might be a freelance facilitators, and so those cohorts are quite diverse, which is kind of fun, because they all learn from each other and that's part of why the cohort approach is so powerful. But when we're talking about on the private side, where I'm facilitating or we're doing like a bigger change efforts for clients, you know, I would say the the ones that are had, we're kind of stuck and really struggling with the change. But they were receptive to change and they were receptive to support and help, and so they sought us out and they said, hey, we know we need help and we're willing to have a guide here. You know, it's like because oftentimes people want to just go down the river rapids themselves or they think, Oh, if I just rent their equipment, I'm good to go. But some folks realize like hey, it's going to be helpful to have a guide to navigate these rapids with us. And you know, it can be all sorts of different things that they're facing. You know, whether it's like we're trying to migrate all of our on prims stuff to the cloud, or maybe our employee onboarding process is like broken, or it has been broken forever, but now that we're all remote, it's very, very clear to how broken it is. Yeah, you know, it's it can it can be so many different things. But I think the critical thing, just put the Cherry on top, that makes it the best of best clients is when they really really understand out of the gate that this is a human...

...problem and this isn't about like coming in with some logistical like change management to charge org chart. Yeah, right, network theory is really important. That's one of the things we do, is we start to analyze a networks, but the org chart is just one of the networks. Yeah, I love that, I think. You know, for years I would train people in change management. That's what I did, you know, but I always found that and that's actually how I discovered draw your future, because the meeting was so they wanted me the change management company that I work for. They wanted me to go in with curriculum and I knew that was never the entry point. So if I could get people to draw right at the beginning and talk about what the experience was like, everything changed right away and they were open and then we could figure out, okay, well, what's the solution, and should we try this? This, this, and I'd try to give him like a smarcus board of things and let them choose, which is really what I think. In your case, it's all about choice and accountability in the meeting itself, because you can come in with tons of solutions for people, but they're your solutions and they're not your problems. You're not the one that's living there everyday experience. You might have a ton of people you've worked with like that in the past. But so how do you handle the clients or do you ever come across them that that just want you to come in and fix it? Well, when they want us to come in and fix it, that we had to. We have had to take them on that journey need to our realization. That is about the people. Yeah, and they have to get on board with the sense of Co Authorship, the stuff you talked about. You know that we are going to be creating narratives about our future. You know we won't that storytelling so important. Doing it through graphics as well as through just oration as well, can be powerful. But the point is, like, we have to do that explorative work together and even and look internally around. What are the impacts and how are people feeling and what are the emotions about all of this, and one big one is understanding the impacts that it can have identity, because a lot of times change can be very frightening from the sense of like, I'm not going to be the same person I was. Yeah, you know that's very scary and a lot of times people don't want to face that fear. I don't want to admit it. Yeah, I think this is so critical, what you're talking about, because it's the scariest thing about knowing you need to shift personally when you're trying to make a change. Is that. Yes, you will be afraid in that and if you weren't afraid, I would be worried about you. A little bit, you know what I mean? Like then you'd be cliff diving all the time, which some people can do it. But if you can understand that, to dive into your own psyche to see who am I, if I'm not this or if I become this, then it's so helpful. Where have you had to do that in yourself? Like, did...

...you have to do anything during covid did it impact you? Did you find you know what happened to you in that experience? Yes, throughout the pandemic we've had a few major shifts and one of them was just the lockdown and just a lot of the upheaval that happened when so many clients shifted to having to work from home and just the uncertainty of all that. And from a capability standpoint, we saw this coming pretty early and for us the major shift was updating marketing language and just speaking to what we already knew, because at the end of the day, we were running a remote workshops because we couldn't fly in the town to do a sales discovery. Yeah, that's right, and so we at program that's Toff to be remote and yeah, that was you know, and so we just had to reprogram a few things. We had to like, you know, Redo some assets, we had to change copy on our website. Those are the main things. And then also we had to spend time supporting our community who are all suffering, because a lot of the community didn't have experience with diverse distributed teams. They did have experience with technology. You know, me being a software developer, we were using mural well before the pandemic. We were like, I mean, I've been using zoom since two thousand and seven, early two thousand and seven or to late two thousand and six, and that's just how we operated, you know, and so it wasn't that big of a jump for us, but we had to support the community through that and so, you know, there was a lot to do. So we're busy, but it wasn't as frightening as some you know, some people had to really, really reinvent themselves in a major, major way. I would say the thing that was the most the biggest struggle for us to navigate was when we tragically lost our head of operations to domestic violence last fall, and many folks will know about this because we dedicated our conference to her this year and we've been doing a lot of work with safe alliance, which is an amazing organization here in Awesome Texas, and we're about to launch, and by the time this comes out it may already be launched or might be coming soon after, something called a safe pledge that our work toward creating policies are in on internal HR policies around awareness of domestic violence, how to support discovery and conversations, what to do if we notice certain things. Yes, that might be concerning, but like, should I do anything? Well, there's training for that sort of stuff and Yep, and so socializing that and having policies around it and then we're going to take that pledge public and try to get as many companies on board as possible at John Raise these practices and adopted. Yeah, that was Whoa, that's yea, so intense. And so you know, unfortunately it's really common. Yes, that's the thing, and sometimes you don't even know how common it is, but when it happens to someone near you really hits home. I will...

...do everything I can to promote that. So you just know that you send me that information, I'll send it to all my top clients and get them on board and get in touch with their hr to see if we can't promote that, because there are things you can do, but you need to know how to have the conversation and how to in such a way that the person doesn't feel shamed by it, because the shame will just drive them back. And you know, another thing that I learned from working with safe so far, and I've got tons more to learn. But the thing that really just if we don't know anything else, the one thing we should know is the time that people are most at risk is when they are confronting just before or just after they leave. Yes, because it's all about control, and so when they're about to leave or when they've just left is when their controller is feeling the sense that they've lost control, of their losing control, and that's when they go off the rails and that's when really bad stuff can happen. Yeah, so that's not going to be a very mindful of them, a time to bring an expert to make sure resource available. Anyway, I think there's lots of ways we can support people that are in situations that you know are headed in that direction or or worse, and that's kind of where at this point, you know, having navigated this for a little while where it's just like how can we help the others avoid similar situations? Well, and so much grief arout that I can feel that you know just in you talking about it, and I appreciate so much that you're talking about it with the kind of care that you are, because it's really important, especially during this time, and especially we live in Texas you know, you and I, so it's a bit of a different world, but honestly, if you look anywhere in the world you'll see pieces of this everywhere in all forms and so to be alert and awake to what people are experiencing and then give a safe space for people to actually talk about what is happening and support them. I love that. I want to just circle back to what you said about the pivot during the change, that you were supporting your community. So I'm assuming you know you do these facilitation trainings and certifications, so you send people out on their journey to become their own facilitation of design, thinking and Synthesis Whiz so that they can apply it to whatever they're doing, whether it's their small business they're building or whether their internal hr or like this correct mmm yeah, you know in the community even goes beyond folks that have spent any money with us. Like we have a free facilitation lab every Thursday and in fact I rarely get to facilitate anymore the facilitation labs because it's just so much going on with growing the business and stuff. And I'm actually going to facilitate one tomorrow, which is like will be in distant future by the time this comes out,...

...but I'm super excited about it. And but yeah, every week week invite a guess facilitator to facilitate and just hold that space and create something unique. So it's not a presentation, it's not a Webinar, but it's a time to come together as facilitators and watch a facilitator model facilitating, do a thing, experiment with something, have a conversation. So we do that every week and then we have a slack channel that we bring everyone together as well, and so there's open discussions around whatever it is on people's minds, etc. And we also kind of consider social media or our community as well, because a lot of the people that follow us on social media share there's clients, clients and things and whatnot, but a lot of the folks that are kind of tapping in our content and following us, and yeah, I mean active dialog our facilitators that are just there kind of on that, on that journey, fellow travelers with us. Yes, yes, like Seventeenzero of Mon linked in or following year. So I check that out. I was like yeah, way to go. And you know, you have a beautiful so if anybody wants to just read anything that is been written about you and your company, you know there's a Forbes two thousand and twenty article that came out. It's really great. You give some fantastic tips about how to do things online. Most of us know some of them, but there's some things in there that I think you can always revisit and remember about creating an engagement, because an online experience, no matter what it is, should be engaging right from the beginning. It should be something where you feel like, Oh, this is going to be so cool right and as we get further and further into doing more of hybrid work like this, the online experiences should be even better. That's what I, you know, want and strive for it, like how can we make it even better that people are calling in or people are right there just showing up that people are doing some theatrical presentation and that they get a wig in a box that arrives, you know, the day before and is, you know, script that they can use or modify right to do some piece of it, because I think we want to create an environment in which people are just exploding in their brain in a good way, with new ideas. You know, absolutely love that and I always encourage people to think about in a can we think about how we make stuff tangible physical, send something to someone, or how are we designing and fun and play into these experiences? The thing I want to make sure we underscore those that can be a bit frightening for folks as far as, like, if you're a designer of this thing and you're unfamiliar with the stuff and it's like, oh, how do I even start? What do I even do? And I just want to say that if you're looking at it gone, that sounds great, but I don't even know where to begin. What do I do? The sounds like way over the top for what I'm capable of. Just at least if you do nothing else. Think about the meeting equity. Yeah,...

...so thinking about everyone that's going to show up if you're doing a hybrid meeting, how are you making sure that the person that dials in or the people that dial in have the same or an equal experience as someone else? You know, if someone is blind, do they have an equal experience as someone else? You know there's an accessibility component to the invite and to the software, but there's also an accessibility component to your design and the activities you're doing and how you're asking people to dance. Yes, and I think there's something about understanding the culture too and really being respectful of that. So you know that you enter into play. I was thinking when I was trained as a therapist. You know, when you would do kid therapy, you knew that you hadn't firmly entered the play accurately. If the child stopped playing when you started to play with them, then you had not entered the field that way. And that is really how you think about it with clients right that if they stopped playing and they're frozen in fear or frozen in disbelief or whatever, then no, they're not in and you're going to then you have to really push the rock up the hill sisiphist and hope it doesn't fall back down again. Right. So I love that. Now when you just tell me, like what's just a day for you? What's it look like from start to finish? What do you do in the morning? How do you keep yourself centered balanced? You know you have a lot of people that you work with, so how do you stay in tune? Tell me, tell me those things. Yeah, you know, some days are different, you know, like different days have some different things scheduled on them, but every day starts off exercise. I kind of chuckle. I laughed as I started to say it, just because I know some people I don't aren't really in the fad dies and things, but I found it intermittent fasting really works well for me. So I don't eat breakfast. I exercise very hard in the mornings, either with PLOTTI's or boxing. I'm really in the head and the heavy bag. So sweat and in the morning, and then I use through starvation, sweat and stuff. Right, got to get the ASS in. And then, you know, usually I'm starting off with some sort I usually have some sort of something starting off the day, meeting wise, either you know, diving in with my team or workshop or what have you, and spend a lot of time and mural. I spend a lot of time and hub spot if I'm doing sales related stuff. So it's either kind of thinking about the operations or thinking about executing with a client. And then when your day stop, didn't how do you end the day? You know, I typically work fairly late. I do take frequent breaks and my schedule is fairly fluid. I will kind of schedule around my needs or kind of take some serendipity along the way, but generally my evenings are filled with of you know,...

...generally breakaway and start like just reading on Reddit or kind of spending a lot time on tick tock. You know, my Netflix time got replaced with tick tock time, which, like I've managed to curate some really amazing creators that I'm I think are pretty phenomenal and they entertained me pretty well. So you should put those in your show notes so we can so people, because I don't think people know how to curate on ticktock. I don't think they understand that there are some amazing people that you can follow and to make sure that you are getting I don't know, because it is so much fun to see what's happening now and to watch makers. I don't. That's my favorite thing is to watch makers in that space, see what they're up to, what are they creating, and then get to see the progression of something that they're building. To me, siding or people in a room full of people where it's chaotic and then it becomes very expansive. You know, these things are fantastic. I'm about to go to make forty eight in whichita, so I can't wait to go and be in that whole maker experience. That's cool. I'm glad they're still doing those. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that guy. He's amazing. God, I just felt like when I met him. You know, he's from New Zealand and he's got a big sheep farm and in outside of Kansas City and I, like anybody from New Zealand, I'm in you know, it's just like the most beautiful country in the world. So anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for coming and spend a time with that. Now tell us, you know, if you have any tips to give people that are listening who are thinking they want to pivot or make change, or there anything that you would tell them to think about or do to help them? You know, I think the main thing is just to get started. You know, I get started, start small, just start learning, start asking questions, get curious, be creative, Challenger assumptions. You know, I assume that you've got some stuff wrong. That's about the only assumption that's that's valuable right, is that you're that's something about your worldview or that how you think's going to thanks are going to unfold is incorrect. And just as soon it's wrong, you know, share your thoughts. One of the things I see when I'm mentoring startups, one of the number one things I see really common across startups that fail are the ones that are like really protective of their idea and aren't willing to share the idea or share be vulnerable about their concern that our pains and their struggles. If you're not being transparent about those things, you're not no one's going to be to help you. And unless you're just super lucky and somehow you just like got it all figure it out, which, like I don't know if I've ever met anyone like that now. Me Neither. So I just share it out. No one's going to steal your idea because there's too many ideas in the world and then just, you know, just talk to of people and and just...

...try things. Yeah, and asked for help. I think that's key what you said to Oh my gosh, I just have enjoyed the time just flew by with you. It's like this is crazy. So I can't wait to till we are in a facetoface experience together at some point. Or I'd love to have you back on the show to talk about what else is happening. So tell us a little bit about what you have on an ongoing basis, how people can connect with you. You know, one thing that I was going to share at some point, but then we're just having fun with the conversation. Didn't even think to bring it up, but was that. You know, we created this work now report. It's you know, our vision was it would be an annual report, but as we got into it, I think we might make it by annual. So we might do a summer and and a winter. Well, we just launched the winter one back in February. Sort of work now two thousand and twenty two, and one of the things I think really it was really fascinating is out of all the leaders that we surveyed in this research, over seventy five percent these leaders reported that facilitation played a major role and conducting change within their organization. So, you know, I had a hunch that that there is more as becoming the more common and the perception of, you know, valuable skills and roles with an organizations, but to be over seventy five percent was pretty shocking. So that's for all your facilitators out there is we're all in the right path and answer getting more and more problem security. That's right, that's right, right there. I love that. That's fantastic. So that's coming out the work our report. The first one came out in February. We're going to be releasing more of them, so check that one out and stay tuned for more. And then we have our weekly facilitation lab we also have, you know, regular courses and workshops that are available and we do an annual conference for facilitators every February. So we're going to do that again here in Austin and February of two thousand and twenty three. Oh, that's fantastic. I can't wait for that. I love that and I just can't wait to see what you're up to next. I'll follow in your footsteps and get my non obvious guide to draw your future finished so I get it out there to people. I love that yours is out there and I would highly encourage people to connect with him at hello at voltage CONTROLCOM is a great way to just post a question or how can you get involved, because this is a community you want to be a part of in some way and just keep up with what they're doing because it's really exciting. I'm just so happy to have met you and connected. Finally, and thank you so much for your time today. It was really amazing. Hey, thank you for having me and Patty, I really look forward to when we do get together in person. Me Too. All right, see you soon. And now, everybody, you know the drill. If you like it, please repost this to all of the friends that you have, Hav and colleagues so they could learn more about voltage control.

And until next time, up your creative genius. We mean it, don't we? Thanks so much for listening today. Be sure to DM me on Instagram your feedback or takeaways from today's episode. On up your creative genius. Then join me next week for more rocket fuel. Remember, you are the superstar of your universe and the world needs what you have to bring. So get busy, get out and up your creative genius. And no matter where you are in the universe, here's some big love from yours, truly pattied over Volski and the up your creative genius podcast. That's a wrap.

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