How VR Helps Us Handle Challenging Situations at Work: A Conversation With Christopher Lind and Mark Atkinson

Mursion recently continued our Future of Work Virtual Roundtable series by hosting a conversation with Learning Sharks Founder Christopher Lind and our CEO Mark Atkinson. Below is a synopsis of their discussion, which was focused on how Mursion’s virtual reality simulations can help managers and employees feel comfortable and confident facing challenging work situations.

 

Christopher Lind [CL]:

I’m really looking forward to our discussion today, Mark. I know we’ve been we’ve been spending some time planning this one, and it’s really a twofold purpose: We’ll be talking about tackling uncomfortable situations that happen at work. And this is this a very broad topic. But at its core, the behavioral nature of it, I think is pretty universal. But the other thing, last time we talked, we didn’t get a chance to actually take a look at Mursion’s technology.

 

So this time, I’m actually excited to be able to share and see how this works. I’ve been through it personally, but I know a lot of folks who are curious. 

 

Mark Atkinson [MA]:

I’m really looking forward to our conversation, as well. I would say I think all of us are keenly aware about the sort of circumstances in the world around us and how what was important before the last three months and certainly the events of the last few weeks about the need of people in leadership roles, in organizations to be able to have difficult conversations, which is very much at the heart of what Mursion does, and to foster a sense of empathy in themselves and in their colleagues to build functional teams.

 

We’ve had a a quadruple whammy of a pandemic, a giant recession, this incredible sense of self isolation that people have been asked to go through, and now, coupled with this urgency around race and the ability to talk about race. There couldn’t be a time where it’s more urgent that we all double down on this kind of work and try to build the kind of cultures that we think organizations need to be healthy.

 

I think the timing is good. I think the topic is good. I think the conversation is going to be great because it is you know, when we talked about this and even the planning of this, we wanted to be very careful about how we approached it because it was important that we were sensitive to what’s going on. We didn’t want to seem tone deaf all at the same time making sure we were tackling an important topic.

 

CL:

So let’s let’s get into this a little bit, because when we talked about what some of this stuff is, I think sometimes when we hear difficult conversations at work or things like that, I think that sometimes can bring a lot of different masterminds. One of the things we talked about was microaggression. We talked about conflict. I think the big thing with that is when you think about the workplace, we’re dealing with people and the challenge is people are not always easy when it comes to how we interact with each other.

 

With Mursion, you’re tackling this in a lot of different ways. Let’s demystify some of this stuff. When we talk about conflict and difficult challenges, what does that mean for you?

 

MA:

It means a wide range of things, to be perfectly honest with you. I mean, as the leader of an organization, I can speak to it as as we wrestle with it. And as a purveyor of a service, I can tell you a little bit about how I think our clients encounter that. And it does vary to some degree by domains. But leaders of organizations, myself included, are expected to make employees feel safe about surfacing issues, about the way they feel that they are treated at work, that they feel that their voices heard, that their ability to contribute is maximized, that they are treated with a level of fairness and equity that values their contribution. And there are just reams of research that suggests that organizations that pay close attention to this outperform others. I am reminded of Peter Drucker’s book that culture eats strategy for lunch. That concept has been around for a long, long time. And those of us who pride ourselves on having great business strategy can find ourselves wanting if we don’t really attend to culture.

 

Obviously, in order to build culture, you have to be willing and able to engage in conversations that are sometimes messy. That’s that’s one big modality. We can talk more about how that plays out and where the issues are. But we talk about this internally here at Mursion. And obviously our clients are talking about it all the time. Now, there are other people for whom difficult conversations are all about their interaction with a customer. People who are in the mode of selling have difficult conversations all the time.

 

We support people who have to really develop an ear for listening and processing complaints that customers might have, whether their frontline service workers or their people selling products and services, where that authenticity really matters, even in a challenge or sales model. Being inauthentic isn’t successful. Like you, the authenticity really makes a difference. And so, we do a lot of work in education and in the medical sphere. Doctors and nurses have often got to deliver bad news and they have to be in a position to deliver bad news in a way that is humane and responsive.

 

We could talk about the work we’re doing and and then the education sphere. Attending to learners with special needs is a huge part of the of the of the job. And frontline educators are forever having to show a sort of sensitivity to those whose learning styles and capacities are different. And so we’re at the fulcrum of all of those kinds of difficult kinds of exchanges. And they can be very different in kind.

 

CL:

I think what you’re getting at is an important piece where a lot of times the tendency with difficult conversations is that there’s an avoidance to it, right? Like when things get uncomfortable, when things happen, the tendency is to either shut down or you overreact. Because you’re not prepared. And so the emotional response kicks in and you go too far, which then actually redirects the focus from the actual thing that happened.

 

Obviously, you’re with Mursion for a reason and this is a big focus of what you do. What are you doing to actually help address this?

 

MA:

It’s a really good question. First of all, people don’t get a chance to practice difficult conversations. Many of us have been through the kind of experience in a training exercise with our colleagues where we do a role play. You and I are in some workshop. We’re in front of all our colleagues. And I’m going to pretend to be an angry customer and you’re going to pretend to be a frontline service worker. And I’m going to light into you and you’re going to calm me down. And because we’re performing in front of our colleagues, I’m going to push you just enough to make you to show everybody in the room that I’m taking the exercise seriously. And you’re going to respond in such a way that makes you look good.

 

And because we’re professionals and we’re we have an emotional connection, I’m not going to push you so hard to embarrass you because I would be a jerk and my goal is to make you look good. And we both go through the motions and privately, we’re kind of rolling our eyes. That is the extent to which we get to practice this stuff in training. That’s the way we do it. 

 

What we do with Mursion is we we take you into a safe place in private. We let you practice with an avatar, and we let the avatar push your buttons a bit so that if you’re going to fail, you fail. We want to trigger the emotional response. We’re all flawed. We’re all human. This is there’s no trick that we teach people.

 

What we’re trying to teach you to do is to keep your brain managing your emotions in stressful circumstances. We teach children this all the time, but as adults, we unlearn all that stuff. And we need to reactivate and practice it so that when those stressful times come, our brain rules our heart and we do the right thing. The thing that we would intend to do if emotion didn’t get the better of us. 

 

The science around this is what we call multi-exemplary training, which means I might do it with you one way, but I would do it very differently with, you know, a young woman and a child, a person of a different racial or ethnic background.

 

There just are different measures of how the response is based on background, based on of all these different things. We’re dynamic. We aren’t we aren’t a machine. 

 

One of the things that we’ve talked about that so often goes overlooked in learning and development is we tend to focus a lot on content. Helping people get the requisite knowledge that they need to be able to do things, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, I think where we can go wrong with it is when we over index on that.

 

And we don’t give people the opportunity to actually put these things into practice, especially when you think about having a difficult conversation. I know from from early days of managing people. You’re going to have a difficult conversation with a direct report. You can read all the articles you want. You can watch all the YouTube videos you want. And then you have to sit across the desk from that person and have that difficult conversation.

 

And it sometimes just goes poof, like it just vanishes. And the best place to have it vanish and completely fumble is not with the person.

 

CL:

I think sometimes when people say safe place, they aren’t exactly sure what that means. It’s in an environment where you’re not going to cause any damage, where you can actually do that, you can practice. And the other piece that’s challenging with role play is, I’m not necessarily being my my true authentic self, because I know the other person. I’m not necessarily really feeling the heat and the pressure of it. Knowledge does not automatically translate into behavior change. Just because you have this knowledge in your head does not mean you’re going to bring that in.

 

MA:

I think this is where there’s opportunity. You look at the military, I think is a good example. There’s a reason they run training drills so many times so that when shots start firing and you’re under pressure, you know how to behave. 

 

CL:

Are you are you seeing organizations? How are they using this? How are they applying it? What usually is a trigger for an organization to say we have this behavioral thing, we need to do something about it. And throwing more content at people isn’t enough.

 

MA:

So many of the skills in a professional context are skills that are only demonstrated by your ability to perform on the job, which usually means the articulation of a policy, a customer service approach, a sales strategy, a leadership technique. And people have been filling leaders and frontline workers heads with policies and procedures. And they have no eye in learning.

They’ve no idea whether they can do it or not because they never actually asked them or come up with a way of saying, can you practice or show me that you know how to do this at scale? One of the first things that we ended up finding ourselves doing is adding simulations as a component of all kinds of existing trainings just so folks can demonstrate that they actually know how to do the thing they got trained on doing. And that can be following a customer service protocol.

It can be giving a leadership development on how you give feedback to an employee. If I’m a doctor, do I know how to do an oral diagnostic? And can I actually tell when someone’s lying to me and demonstrate that I know how to see through? 

 

How do we get through those kinds of things that are all too human in our life and certainly in the current environment? For example, when I’ve got to break bad news about the fact that you can’t see your grandmother in the nursing home while she’s dying because of the health and safety risk. How do I have that conversation? That’s the part that I think can be a little bit of an art and a science in getting to the root of it, and it’s a question that came through.

 

CL:

And I think it’s an appropriate one, which is I think there are universal components of this behavioral stuff. You could deconstruct a potentially uncomfortable situation where things can go south or where where somebody says something and everybody’s eyes shoot open, but they don’t really know what to do. There is some universal stuff where you could say, “OK, hey, let’s let’s make sure we address this at the same time.” Talking as a health care worker to somebody who’s not going to be able to see their grandparent in the nursing home is probably a little bit different than the conversation you’re about to have with with Billy, who just did something, you know, as an employee. The context is different. How do you find that or what have you all done to strike that balance?

 

MA:

Yes, it’s custom. We need to do some level of customization while at the same time not saying everything’s unique. We have to. We have to redesign. 

 

So I’ll tell you the things that matter. Why do we have avatars? We have avatars because not everybody you’re having the conversation with looks like me. I could be a child. I could be a different race, ethnicity. The versatility of the technology allows you to create a reasonably plausible representation of the individual you might be having the conversation with.

 

Why do we blend it with the human? Because at the end of the day, these are human skills, and they have to be spontaneous. The facial expressions, the tone of voice, the gestures have to feel like the ones that you would have. And why do we drop them in a virtual world? Because if it’s a hospital, I shouldn’t be on a stage somewhere or out in a field with flowers.

 

I’m in a hospital. There should be some of that. Enough situational plausibility that the brain says this feels like the conversations we have day to day. Now, to get to you, what’s generic about it? What’s generic about the way people do this is they interrupt one another. Don’t listen to what the other person is saying. They constantly focus on what they want to say and don’t actually hear what the other person is trying to say.

 

They become super agitated in their enthusiasm. They talk too loud. They become incomprehensible because of the urgency they feel about something. They don’t take a breath and center. If you look at the data on how these conversations go, there are a lot of things that people do regardless of context, and that’s that’s the point.

 

I think that is important, and a big part of what our role in learning and development is to do when we run into these business challenges.

 

That work is not just to say, let’s let’s go full customer, let’s go completely generic, but to figure out what are those universal components that we can focus on? Because they do span. 

 

CL:

Is this something where Mursion is purely off the shelf or is it purely custom? And I think, you know, my understanding from our conversations and just getting to know the tech a little more, if it can be both, it’s not a either or. It’s a “what’s the right solution versus how does this work?”.

 

MA:

You’re absolutely right. Look, there are some scenarios that people look at and they say that’s exactly the problem we have. Let’s work on that. But more often than not, there’s a kind of a vocabulary that’s unique to an organization of what people call things. And those are tells that it’s not plausible.

 

If you think about my team, the plausibility, would I be having this conversation this way? The very fact that we have a human in the loop behind the scenes in our simulation specialist allows us to customize the vocabulary to work at this.

 

There’s no question that a lot of our clients come to us saying that we’ve lost the human touch by virtue of this communication. And one of our advisory board members, Jeremy Bailenson, who runs the Virtual Reality and Human Interaction Lab at Stanford, has written about what you’re now calling Zoom fatigue. That is, you work harder to be an Zoom for eight hours a day than you do casually in a social environment.

 

We’re actually doing a lot just helping people lead through this difficult time right now because we are stressing the ability to connect as humans.

CL:

And I think this is where a lot of times where I say it’s about doing digital. It’s not so much choosing tech over not tech. Technology can either be extremely humanizing or extremely dehumanizing, depending on the application of it. I think a lot of times people think of automation and AI as this dehumanizing thing.

 

But when you look at it as an application to personalization by being able to assess an individual’s current state, their current capacity, their mental state, and being able to tailor what they need based on their personal needs, now that suddenly becomes an extremely humanizing technology when it’s done well. 

 

You apply it, you reflect, you get feedback, and then you apply it again. It’s this cyclical thing that you’re doing. Is this something that you recommend is for e-learning checkpoints as well? I think it’s one of those things where you say you look at the whole learning experience and you say, right. There might be some components of digital content, there might be some components of collaboration, and then there might be some components of this of this kind of micro experience.

 

I think it’s less of a, hey, let’s replace everything with digital experiences and more of an augmentation. 

 

MA:

I totally agree with that. I’d like I think I think what you’re going to find five, 10 years from now is that in the same way as video became ubiquitous as a component of learning, simulation is going to become ubiquitous. But it’s going to be a complement to other things. You still need content and you still need real world representations of what things look like in video. But in between the content and the real world example, to get into an environment where you’re in the flight simulator, you actually get to fly the plane and see whether or not you’ve read the manual.

 

You’ve seen the video of people doing it. And now you actually get to go test drive the thing yourself, crash it a few times until you learn how to do it that way.

 

You crash with the avatars so that when you get the real person, the real customer, the real colleague, the real subordinate like you, you really get it right, because that’s when it matters.

 

And that’s why practice matters. And if there’s anything the science and our own data affirms for us is that if you want to be good at this, you have to practice. As my colleagues will tell you, I’m as human as the next person and you got to work at it. 

 

CL:

We’ve done a bunch of research and we’ve we have found that we can change people’s behavior if we give them somewhere between four to six practice sessions on a specific kind of situation.

 

MA:

We see it in data in the simulator to the extent to which we have instrumentation to observe the person performing in the workplace. We’ve seen it in the data, whether it’s 360 reviews or in education and health care. We have this practice of observers observing, people behaving, and documenting pre and post how people are behaving. And we’re seeing real changes in behavior that result from doing this work. So it does it does pay off to do it.

 

CL:

What’s interesting about that is, when it comes to learning and development, I think one of the big conversations that comes up a lot is how do we measure the impact of what we’re doing? 

MA: 

And to me, behavior change is at the forefront, right? I mean, that is the apex of what we do is being able to say people used to behave this way and they now behave that way. And we have moved the continuum from point A to point B in a measurable way. Or we can say this is this is actually a shift. And I think this is where in terms of the questions that then come from business leaders.

 

CL:

So how does that work in an organization in terms of the partnership? To me, it creates a really strong, forged partnership because you have shared skin in the game. I may have some input on what behaviors we might want a fact, what behaviors we think we might want to target. But ultimately, I have to rely on the business leaders to say, you know your business. If you tell me we need to get all our people to behave more like this, because it’s going to have X, Y, Z impact, I have to trust that you know those behaviors well.

 

And so then there’s this forged partnership of, OK, I trust you’re telling me these are the behaviors you need to move. I, as the R&D expert, can focus on how do we get those behaviors to move. We now work together to collaboratively solve a problem, which to me is fantastic. I think this is that whole behavior piece that we need to tie together.

 

MA:

I totally agree. And if you think about the ways you get evidence that you’re doing the right thing as a leader, I’ll give you three ways. If you ask people just to assess their self efficacy, like how confident are you that you can do this? Well, people tend to be really honest. 

 

They’ll tell you as a leading indicator that they don’t feel confident that they can handle some of these tougher conversations. And one of the things we see very quickly is that people start to honestly say, I do feel some confidence that I can do it. And that’s a leading indicator. That’s not necessarily a summative indicator. The next indicator, obviously, is we do actually have ways of assessing that folks achieved it in simulation, which is we give people feedback along those lines and we’re pretty good at getting that right.

 

But then, you know, we work with our clients to actually collect the data, whether it’s showing up in net promoter scores around customer success and our people interacting with customers really differently. And we now have clients doing studies where they give everybody a baseline of training and then they have some people experience Mursion practice on simulation and some not. We just did this with H&R Block in the big run up to tax season.

 

And we actually cut the dissatisfaction scores of H&R Block folks in half by virtue of putting them through a regimen of these practice routines. They’ve had a steady state of a relatively small number of customers who go through their experience that come away dissatisfied. It was a truly a small number, but it was a number they cared about and it has a material impact on their bottom line. And in the AB test they did with us, the merchant folks who went through this cut their dissatisfactory score in half.

 

CL:

They were twice as effective with that group, if you will.

 

MA:

Now, I think you bring up about that, though what I think is important to remember is that they set out to solve a problem first. There was a targeted problem they were setting out to solve not, hey, we found this really cool tech stuff. Let’s we’ve got a hammer. Let’s go find some nails we can try and knock in. And I think that’s that’s where it’s critical that with with this emerging tech, we have to be so careful that we don’t chase the razzle dazzle for the sake of razzle dazzle. But to say, hey, what is a core behavioral problem we are trying to fix? And once we’ve identified that, there’s no shortage of work that goes into it.

 

CL:

I’m curious how you manage helping some organizations through that, because I can say going to an organization, sometimes we’re going to a leader and saying, I hear you’re saying this is a problem. We need to we need to break that down a little bit more because we need to understand what’s actually going going on in there, because I’m sure you could build a Mursion simulation that would do absolutely nothing for an organization. It would have the potential to do that. So how does that work?

 

MA: 

It’s a really good question. I mean, these folks tend to have a specific problem in mind that there’s a leadership initiative, for example. They have no idea how it’s going. This whole area of giving feedback to employees, which, there’s a lot in the literature, there’s a lot of credit the way in which the top companies in America are thinking about it. When you really ask them how confident that they are that their folks know how to do it they shrug their shoulders and say, we’ve never given them a chance to measure and we never see it in the moment. And we hear that it isn’t going well when we do our surveys of our employees. So simply creating the opportunity to practice and identifying the circumstances where it can go awry, we do that in an iterative fashion. We design these scenarios where we will literally we put people through a protocol where they identify when it goes wrong, where does it go wrong from what you know, from your own data.

 

We try it. We have to manifest what that looks like for people to say yes. I think to the extent to which we have data, it looks like that when it goes wrong. And then there’s a tricky part where how much challenge do you actually want us to present? 

 

We do those things. How much do you want to raise the bar in the degree of difficulty? And then there are these sensitive issues around gender, race, ethnicity, all of the issues around. Who do you choose to be the most difficult at those? Is a complex design process to make sure you’re attending to all of those things?

 

CL:

You really need to be intentional and thoughtful about who is your audience, what is the message you’re trying to convey and what is the way you’re looking to actually drive that. 

 

MA:

You can’t just create a blanket. Well, this is how it’s going to play out, which the ability to flip between those things has to make that easier to be able to dynamically respond to it.

 

CL:

And also to revise it when the data says we’re missing, we might be missing the mark. It is interesting to me how sensitive a lot of big companies take this. And they they just want people to start talking. We have a lot of work to do as a culture, to build the world that we want to live in and in the workplace can do some amount of that. I mean, obviously, these conversations continue outside of the workplace where businesses ultimately have a bottom line to attend to.

 

MA: 

But you’re finding that there are brands that are based on tolerance. One of the real, I think, exemplary partners that we have is T-Mobile. T-Mobile has a whole philosophy around being a place where the customer is not a data plan, but they’re a human being. So if you walk into a T-Mobile store, you have an expectation that they have spent millions and millions, tens of millions of dollars in their brand investing. And that leads you to an expectation that I am not just a data plan when I walk in.

 

They have raised a bar around which they must show empathy with every person that they interact with, regardless of their problems, their sophistication, their background and what have you. That’s a high bar. And people are they’re betting their brand on it. I admire them for going there. I respect them. And I love working with them because they take it seriously, like they want to walk the walk. And yeah, it’s really fun to work with people because it is hard.

 

Weird things happen in life and you got to be ready for those challenges. And it’s great to work with people who are trying to trying to take that head on. I agree.

 

CL: 

I think it’s a bold move. For this to work, you have to take it beyond, you know, a poster on the wall or, you know, a company tagline. It really needs to become a corporate strategy and part of the lifeblood of the organization. So on the on the topic of technology, somebody asked this and it’s a fair question. And it goes back to the application of technology for humanizing or dehumanizing.

 

I think this whole scenario type thing, where we end up just talking to A.I. bots and things like that, I think the human-in-the-loop pieces are really critical. Could I be used to then help determine based on who the user is that you’re working with or even dynamically as the situation? Could it help make decisions so that human in the loop has a better capability to know how to adapt?

 

Whether it’s the characters, whether it’s to adapt the conversation, things like that. Is that something that you’re exploring or that you actually are using AI to do today? Because to me, that would be an application of AI that would make that conversation not only more impactful, but also more humanizing.

 

MA:

We do a lot. We do a lot with food service workers on the front lines. You’re spending so much time with a customer. There’s a long line of people by virtue of the amount of time our conversation is going. Something happens over the air that wracked my eyes. And I can make all of that stuff happen because AI in the pursuit of situational plausibility is really powerful. 

 

We’ve got a new engine that we want to show you. It cannot replace the intuition and the general intelligence and the spoken dialogue that real humans do. And there’s a big debate about whether it will ever do that anytime soon. That spontaneity humans are best for. And that’s where we put the human in our system. But lots of other things about the experience and freeing the human to be human in the role-play right to manifest the behaviors and read the other person, which is what they’re doing behind the scenes, is critically important.

 

CL: 

I think that is where the technology can augment the human to be almost superhuman, to create a more dynamic and authentic experience by reading the person better and more effectively than we could with speed. So I think that’s a that’s a fair point on that one. And then the other one is this failure threshold, because I think this is something we have to handle so delicately because, again, people are different.

 

MA:

I think sometimes it’s so easy to paint everybody with the same brush stroke as well. This type of person is this way or, you know, we can make these generalizations. And the reality is humans are extremely dynamic and extremely fragile with some of these things. 

 

CL:

So how do you work? Not necessarily just with an organization on that level of failure, but on a personal level with that? Because I have to imagine on the same side, the specialists, they can start to see when the person’s maybe getting a little bit irate. I’m struggling here. I’m being pushed too far. How do you do that? To encourage. Because I’m a big advocate of we need to push more failure.

 

MA:

We need people to struggle. If everybody’s getting a trophy, they’re not getting better. And I think we need to do that. We need to do that carefully and securely so that people feel that it’s a comfortable environment. 

 

CL:
So how does that happen to ensure you don’t you don’t set somebody off because you just pushed them too hard?

 

MA:

It’s really it’s a good question. And it’s an art, not a science at this point.

 

I mean, we organize sessions in a long enough period of time that you can do two. You get a replay and sometimes we’ll push to that point where they are failing. But if we keep pushing, they’re going to cry.

 

You’ve really withdrawn, right? Threat and withdraw. And we pause. We hit pause. We have the facilitator come back, reflect with them a little bit and invite them to get a do over. It’s a game after. It’s a simulation. It’s not real life. Let’s pause. Let’s go back. Sometimes we’ll just go back to that moment. Sometimes we’ll completely get a do over.

 

CL:

And the goal is to have people experience enough failure to want to go back and practice again and then come back and accomplish it and then bring them back and dial it up a little bit more. It’s sort of the same thing we know from any kind of training that if you do have to feel the burn a little bit and you do feel the burn to get the growth, but the burn, if the burn kills you, you abandon the program.

 

MA:

Right. So it’s the same thing in this kind of stuff. And and our folks, they’re really well-trained. They come to us with a lot of training. We do a lot of work around developing their empathy. Their goal, unlike some pure machine, is to make you succeed.

 

CL: 

So they’re calibrating the resistance as best they can to get the burn without the withdrawal, basically.

 

MA:

And and that makes sense in terms of how that would pull together, because I think it is an important note. And to me, it’s one of the biggest concerns I have with going to a full AI solution is the fact that machines make decisions based on patterns. There isn’t that empathy going into it. And so the risk is there isn’t the dynamic nature. So in essence, you could rerun that same simulation.

 

CL:

And it wouldn’t be the same even with one avatar right now because of the fact that dynamically that is being adapted and modified based on their ability to read: How are you handling it? Are you stammering? Are you going too far?

 

MA:

I used the term multi-exemplary training at the beginning. One of the things that the research has taught us and our own data confirms is that it’s good to have you the next time you do it. You might have a different avatar. But even more important, the next time you do it, you might have a different simulation specialist behind it, but because the human behind the avatar matters as much as the avatar that you’re interacting.

 

CL:

Sure. The avatar, to the extent to which we all have unconscious biases. The avatar will trigger the unconscious bias. I might have, but the human will trigger behind the avatar will trigger the personality that comes through when my unconscious bias may or may not be at play also. So you’re mixing and matching these different variables that are very much what real life is like. You know, the one thing we are not doing is stereotyping either the the situation or the training that you’re set.

 

MA:

But like, this is not an eight-step program to always lean it in when you want to connect to somebody or always cross your arms when you’re upset. You know, life is much more nuanced than that. People are much more complicated. And the whole idea of multi-exemplary is don’t judge the book by the cover. You may get a very different person behind the physicality of what you’re interacting with and listen for that and pay attention to that.

 

CL:

Well, and the thing you bring up with that, that can be a little bit uncomfortable that I think we need to get more comfortable with is that can sound intimidating, I think, to an organization to say, but but we won’t know everything. We won’t know how everything goes. And the reality is that’s okay. If anything, that’s a good thing, because that’s not real life. We can’t map anything with real life.

 

MA: 

And I think sometimes we get uncomfortable with the unknown of, well, what are we gonna do? Because we we won’t know this. You know, every single detail. Just like you don’t. With literally anything involving people.

 

CL:

So I think that’s a bit of a mindset shift that you have to get into. And I’m sure you’ve had to work with organizations to help them through that, because that’s probably not the natural tendency was to say, I get it. It’s gonna be a little bit flexible.

 

MA:

If there’s anything we’re hearing in the world around us today, it’s messy work, but it’s important work and life is messy. But people value the opportunity to get into it, do it in a safe way, get some practice so that they they feel better about themselves. They feel like they’re making the change that they believe in. And and it contributes to your self efficacy.

 

CL:

But, you know, I think the piece that you hit on at the end that I would just reinforce to everybody watching is that this is messy work, right? People are messy.

 

MA:

We’re we’re messy, confusing, complicated creatures. But it’s important work. And we can’t steer away from it just because it’s complicated or just because it’s difficult.

 

And I think the more we can do to bring that together and have technology help us accomplish it, the better.