ep. 64 - Curt Steinhorst: Founder of Focuswise & Distraction Expert


Curt Steinhorst is on a mission to help today’s workforce win the battle against digital distractions. Having spent years studying the impact of tech on human behavior, he now equips professionals across the world to work smarter and stronger in this constantly-connected age.

As a business owner, entrepreneur, and founder of FocusWise, Curt sees how poor focus impacts today’s workplace and its leaders. Curt’s fascination with distraction is not simply professional. Diagnosed with ADD as a child, he’s worked tirelessly to overcome the unique distractions that today’s technology creates. As a father, Curt understands how profoundly digital connectivity is transforming people of every age.


ep. 64 - Curt Steinhorst: Founder of Focuswise & Distraction Expert

Kyle Davis: Okay, with us today on GDA podcast is Curt Steinhorst, he is the founder and president of Focuswise, and he's gonna talk to us today about distractions. Curt, take it away.

Curt Steinhorst: Great to be here Kyle, [00:01:00] thanks for having me.

Kyle Davis: Well thanks for coming on and joining us and I know that you're busy and you're traveling, you're out and about, but for those who don't necessarily know who you are, or how you came into speaking or even the topic that you talk on, could you give them a little bit about your background and how you got to where you are today?

Curt Steinhorst: Yeah, I would love to. I often say I exist at the intersection of communication and technology. [00:01:30] My actual background is you know, way back to high school I was a debater nationally, I've always been fascinated by the way that we communicate and how ineffective or effective that is. And so as I went to school, the focus went to undergrad at Texas A&M, the focus was all on communication, and then moving forward I ended up in this weird spot where I was asked to help people who had a platform understand how to better communicate with [00:02:00] their audience, understanding how the world had changed. And then, or people that had a platform to do it but didn't know how to communicate well and I helped them in that capacity. So you know, for many years I was in the background, helping people with that, and then over time I launched my own business and the question of communication and technology started really driving further and further towards how is this actually not just impacting an individual but how is this impacting work.

And [00:02:30] so over you know several years I started shifting, and you know, the distraction part was a funny thing in the sense that initially I had the two separate worlds, I had the communication and technology side on the professional end, and then I had on the personal end the struggle with ADD and how do I have strategies as a guy who's started a business at a pretty young age, not being completely overwhelmed and have 43 emails half started and no idea where my checkbook is and [00:03:00] no idea how to use QuickBooks. But eventually those two things merged and all of a sudden, years later, I get the chance to speak and to share and to consult and to research on the way we're working and how that impacts us as a function of constant connectivity and communication.

Kyle Davis: So when you're looking at this intersection that you had that's communication and technology and how just pervasive technology one [00:03:30] is and two how ever evolving it continues to be. What changes and trend lines are you seeing you know over the past five years, and kind of where are we heading with regards to just better communication or increased distraction?

Curt Steinhorst: Yeah. And that is the million dollar question isn't it? You know, when you pull back a bit further and you put it in a context of history, what we're experiencing is something that is literally, we're [00:04:00] like a Petri dish, we have no idea where it's gonna go, because we're the first people in human history that have literally no boundaries to connection. And it's interesting because what we've seen happen in technology is it's always been about, in fact, great early 20th century philosopher says that the nature of technology is the summoning of everything into a shared availability. And so, technology has always been about making access better and easier, and that's a really good thing, [00:04:30] but now we have it and really what we're seeing is two things happen. One is our, we're continuing to think of and technology companies are continuing to think about how do we make access and the barrier lower, and so that's happening on one end which continues to make us more and more distracted. And then on the other end I do believe there is this movement towards intentional disconnection. And my hope and my aim for the contribution [00:05:00] that I play is that we can be a part of like the early stages of the exercise movement.

I have a friend whos dad was like a pioneer in exercise and I think it was the New York Times that wrote that he was gonna cause more people to die that Hitler, because he told people they should keep running even though they were getting older. And they thought that that was bad for you back then. So my hope is that we're starting to see people say okay, we know what our body, we know [00:05:30] what we're wired to do, which is to on the one side with food, love sugar, fat, salt, and then on the other side of digital connection we're like wired to want to constantly be checking and rescinding and receiving while at the same time isolating ourselves so we don't have to deal with the inconvenience of people. But now we're gonna have to be proactive in setting up strategies like having our own version of a gym, and game plans to compensate for the world we live in.

Kyle Davis: So one of the phrases that you mentioned or said was that there's like [00:06:00] no boundaries now in communication, and then you followed it up a couple of moments later by saying that you're trying to lead this movement towards intentional disconnection. I kind of have an understanding of what you're talking about, but for those who probably don't, could you explain what the no boundaries part is, and then what's intentional disconnection?

Curt Steinhorst: Yeah, totally. So let me put it in like the context of history. So if we divided the average lifespan by how long humans have been on the earth [00:06:30] we would have about 800 lifetimes. And if you think about it, for the first 650 lifetimes the, we were stuck in caves, the only people that we could talk to were the people that were in a cave with us. And it's really only been like the last 70 of 800 that we could even communicate in writing, meaning we could pass information beyond those that were actively living, like so we had evidence of history, the last six lifetimes that we've been able to have mass communication. And then if you go to the next massive shift [00:07:00] in the way we communicated was the car, and it's not even the phone it's the car. Because what the car did is it actually separated our work community from the rest of our lives. Like for most of history we were stuck with the people that we were around all the time, and so then we had these, we were able to expand and so the barriers of distance went away, but then what's happening today is literally without any effort, you know without any particular [00:07:30] amount of time of pain you can send a message to anyone and everyone, at any moment.

And so that's the no boundaries part, we have no boundaries and what makes that hard is we're biologically wired for a very different world. And so you know we get a dopamine hit, the neurotransmitter that makes us happy or that creates the anticipation of reward, when we receive a message, so or even when we anticipate receive a message, so the [00:08:00] potential of possibly getting an email, makes us have a dopamine hit which makes us want to run and check our phones. But we also get it when we send a message. And so we've been used to being able to send and receive, or excuse me, like today we can send and receive and get this dopamine experience, without any barriers, but unfortunately that means that we'll find ourselves constantly connected to our phones, never looking up at the real world, and exchanging, actually doing our responsibilities [00:08:30] at work for being constantly responsible, like we create the synonym, and so, when I say intentional disconnection it's really about saying, we're gonna set artificial boundaries so that we can move towards who we really want to be, and how we can most effectively work.

Kyle Davis: I think I heard or read or saw something the other day where, it was something like, we check our phones something like 2600 times in a day. I don't know how high that number really is, but let's say it's 150 [00:09:00] times a day but I think the number I heard was 2600 times a day. And I can understand immediately, I just for a long time I used to just check my phone all the time to see hey, did I get a text message? Did I get a Facebook like or update? And you find out that Facebook holds back likes so you keep checking it just to make sure if you got a like or not

Curt Steinhorst: Yeah.

Kyle Davis: And you know, maybe as I got older or the fact that I lived in Silicon Valley and I was surrounded by people who were just all about disconnecting the moment they get off work, I'm like a huge advocate of the [00:09:30] do not disturb mode on my phone, and I pretty much always leave it on do not disturb, so that way I don't get notifications on my watch, I don't get notifications on my phone until I check it, and when I check it it's probably been 45 minutes. So, I don't know, that's my little tilt.

Curt Steinhorst: Wow, yeah. So you know that's awesome and what you've actually just spotlighted is what we're seeing in a much smaller than people think unfortunately but also growing contingent of people where we say hey, we're not gonna be owned by this. And [00:10:00] you know often the fundamental question I ask is, are you serving technology or is it serving you? You know, and are you the tool or are you using the tool, and don't be a tool, basically. So, yeah

Kyle Davis: The people I feel sorry for are like my friends that went to go work in like big law in New York City, like they have a requirement where they have to check their phone every two hours. That's 24 hours a day, you have to check your phone every two hours. And they're all given like Blackberries and stuff and so it's all on record [00:10:30] if they check their emails or not. It's ridiculous.

Curt Steinhorst: Yeah and see, it's really interesting that you say that because we see, we definitely, when I'm working with companies I see a few different ways that people are thinking about it, and a lot of the challenge there is they're still living in an old mentality, where they think that the communication and speed is still the commodity in the market, and it's just not. And by all means, people as customers, we do expect to have it fast, we expect to have it now, but at the same time like, [00:11:00] we're typically, those types of companies have completely misvalued the nature of attention and how it works, and so they're basically saying that they're living as if attention is a limitless resource, and there's no consequence to having like all in, all the time, always available, always flipping to a new thing. And so over time those types of organizations in fact, [00:11:30] I'll just say it, the relationships that organizations have with their communication technology moving forward will largely dictate their ability to outpace the competition or end up getting lost in the noise. And you know for the first time in a long time, the idea that they just need to be constantly available is the thing that might hurt them rather than help them.

Kyle Davis: Do you have like an idea of like what the burnout rate is? On constantly being connected?

Curt Steinhorst: You know, off the top of my head I don't, what I can tell you is that [00:12:00] there was a recent study that, and to be honest I'm just like in data overload at this exact moment, but there was a recent study that showed that those who, there's a 1:1 correlation that those that feel the pressure, one of the terms is "telepressure", to constantly connect, are those with the highest levels of sick days, and are the most likely to have mental health issues. So you're talking about a cost on the company in direct [00:12:30] correlation based on the compulsion and the internal cultural dynamics that push people towards that.

Kyle Davis: So shifting gears, one of the things that you mentioned was that you had ADD, I definitely have ADHD, and so

Curt Steinhorst: Awesome.

Kyle Davis: Yeah, we're awesome people to hang out with, and I'm really cool when I see a squirrel. So, on Saturdays when I don't take my medicine. So with that being said you know, can you talk about some of the coping [00:13:00] strategies, not necessarily that because you had ADD that you came up with, but just strategies to help you better navigate the world that we live in, to have wide applicability to people who maybe aren't as fortunate as you and I. Because I do believe it's a benefit, not a hindrance.

Curt Steinhorst: Totally, yeah. And especially now because if you've had it your whole life or were diagnosed early then either you're struggling or you've had to learn strategies early enough that it sets you up for more success when no one else is [00:13:30] able to deal with it in the world we live in. You know the framework that I think about is starting, aside from like backing up and having a real understanding of the nature of focus, which is that, I see two worlds happening, in one world they, there's a lot of noise about how multitasking is a myth, which is like not a lie but also not totally true, and what really is a myth is the idea that you can [00:14:00] be in two spheres with active focus at the same time, and that's not true, but you know there's some tasks that background classical music actually can facilitate focus by, what's sort of the researchers or the nerds among us, is called inhibitory spillover. Or why when you have to go to the bathroom you're more likely to focus longer. Was a Nobel prize winning study actually, on that so,

Kyle Davis: And I think on that Nobel prize study [00:14:30] that you're actually talking about it says the best ideas happen when you're actually going to the bathroom.

Curt Steinhorst: Yeah totally, the release right. Like why, how did I not win the Nobel prize, if that's what it takes now right. It's yeah, so on one side there are people that are like, multitasking's a total myth and we're gonna be in hyper focus, and those people you know, they don't recognize the complexities of the world or the benefits of the technology, like it's really nice to be able to have an email that was urgent or a message that was urgent while I'm working on something else interrupt me, [00:15:00] that's actually a good thing. On the other side there is the group that doesn't think there's any consequence to it, so like, backing up and saying it first starts by having a healthy relationship with the inputs that we have and recognizing what does work and what doesn't. But so with that in mind, the way I approach it is by saying, by starting by saying like look, we don't have a lot of direct control over what we pay attention to at any moment. It's not something that we can actively dictate all day long. But what we can do [00:15:30] is we can manage the factors that influence it, and set up our day and the way that we work to do that. And the good news is, there's, it's not hard to remember there's four factors, and they all start with E, and that makes it awesome to remember.

The first one would be your energy, and so the strategy I would suggest there is really simple, rather than structuring your day by what feels most urgent [00:16:00] all the time, set up your day to work on the hardest stuff first, and then go to the easiest stuff later. So that means, having that to do list and organizing it by priority, setting it into your calendar, of course take breaks, because no one can focus all day long, have email stats to check but like, really set aside some early time to nail those things. Because often what we do is we start working and we just knock out a bunch of stuff that's easy, which by the way I do a warm up lap [00:16:30] too, I respond to an urgent email, but then like right when you have the most energy, because your brain is, 25% of your energy is used through your brain, it's only 2% of your weight, and so every time you're making a decision you're making the next one harder. You know while you have the most glucose in your brain, that's when you should be doing it.

So that would be the first, and the others are your environment, so you know what you see can dictate what you pay attention to. So the open office is wonderful for social work, [00:17:00] but it's really hard for actual focus, so how do you set up physical barriers and your virtual office, how do you turn off the push things so that things don't grab your attention from the outside. You know, and then your emotions, this is the next one, it's amazing like how much people don't think they have power and try to ignore their emotions and their focus. Our emotions drive what we pay attention to, so this is not intentionally, especially at leaders, you're thinking about leading and the role that you play now in helping connect the [00:17:30] work that someone's doing.

We live in this complex world where people will be you know ten steps away from seeing the output of their work. And so how do you help them see the connection between what they're doing now and why it actually matters to something bigger. So you know, engaging the emotions you know, if we went deeper we'd talk about ways to actively reframe your emotional state. And also, feel free to watch a funny cat video, because if you're in a bad mood you're more likely to not be able to [00:18:00] delay gratification, if you're in a great mood, so you just watched something funny, you're more likely to be able to focus longer actually. So we can do that. So the last one is our habits, or experiences, so that is just it's simple as asking the question of have we set up the place we work to be a place where we go in and we do the things that are for work, or to have our habits exist in an environmental context, like I'm out in the field, I'm working, I'm at home, I'm with my kids. I'm you know in the kitchen I'm cooking, [00:18:30] well now it's like all places all people and so it's setting up intentional spaces dedicated uniquely to work, that allow us to be able to focus, so that was a really long answer.

Kyle Davis: But a good one nonetheless. So.

Curt Steinhorst: Well thank you, thank you.

Kyle Davis: Yeah you're welcome. I mean I kind of like the idea, especially when it comes to environment and how the trend is towards these open office spaces, and it's great for collaborative work like you've mentioned, you know when I was working in tech in San Francisco and New York, [00:19:00] we, the whole idea was this you know flat organization, open office space, no one has a private office, but the smart companies I've worked for always had these small little breakout private rooms, for one to two individuals to go in and just hammer down if you needed to hammer down. And that's just something that

Curt Steinhorst: Yeah

Kyle Davis: Go ahead

Curt Steinhorst: Yeah, no, it's interesting. There was a study done by Ginzler actually that looked at the differences, because we are in a funny moment when it comes to office design. You know, everyone says they have an open office, it's almost everyone, [00:19:30] but also everyone says they have multi usage spaces. So you know, what I highly recommend is designing with multiple functions in mind, and the problem is that a study was done that asked people that were in charge of office design, eight factors that they factored in and office distraction was the lowest of eight factors. You know, and of course cost is the best, and then social collaboration, and you know what's interesting is when people are in a constantly open environment, [00:20:00] it actually starts to over time reduce social collaboration. And it's not a good recipe, so what I would say is, have an open office for maybe baseline is great, but most organizations and most spaces don't have enough private space. Because if you only have one or two, then what happens is, one you'll feel guilty for using it, and you certainly won't use it consistently, and two sometimes it gets a reputation. Like [00:20:30] that's where you take your personal calls, which you know if it's associated with not working then it defeats the purpose so.

I would just say, I think Ginzler actually said that they thought 60% open, 30% private was better, I would go even further. I would go above that number to say if you're designing space, how do you make sure you have enough of it so that people actually have private areas where they can knuckle down. And those can be really small. There's a Steelcase product, no I'm not sponsored by them, but this particular product called Brody, and it's [00:21:00] this really cool little like private cube that closes you off for a short period of time. That's what I would recommend.

Kyle Davis: Yeah I mean when we, and I'll namedrop the company, when I was working at Square we had something like I don't know, shoot we had five stories of this giant building that had a huge footprint, and while it was an open space we had tons of little private areas that we could go to, whether it be this nice little kind of cubes that we can go and have like a desk, we had even like a coffee bar but the coffee bar on the side had like these little private like little nooks [00:21:30] that you can get into. Then there's soundproofed ones where you can take calls if you needed to do that, and then we had other rooms where it's just like super dark, if you needed a power nap, power nap. You know,

Curt Steinhorst: That's awesome

Kyle Davis: You would meander around and it'd always seem like, whenever a friend would visit and I'd show him the office it seemed like we weren't working, but I felt like in that environment I was the most productive I've ever been. But, oh well, whatever. Go ahead? Curt Steinhorst: Yeah, and it's interesting [00:22:00] because there are you know places like that facilitate culturally and provide the utilities that they need in order for people to have fun, because they're gonna be there a lot, but also be able to actually get work done. You know I think, unfortunately what happens a lot of times is, people live in a world where they feel like they're overwhelmed and they feel like they're always working but if you actually look at the progress they're making, you know, they're at work a lot but are the actually driving things forward, and that question is far more complicated.

Kyle Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So [00:22:30] one of the, or the three things that you mentioned to me prior to going to record, as to how you think about this things is, or how you talk about what you talk about I guess, is that you challenge the way about how people think about leading, managing attention, and then also how we think about our customers, and I'm just wondering if you could give a little bit on each of those ways of thinking if you will.

Curt Steinhorst: Yeah. [00:23:00] So on the ways of thinking, the short and simple as a leader, is the recognition that your role has changed. And what is required of you has changed as a function of that. Number one, the most valuable resource that you have personally and the most valuable resource you have of your people is their attention. You know, a great sociologist said what has become pretty famous, the wealth of information creates a poverty of attention. And it's part of a much larger thesis [00:23:30] by the way, but we live in a world when information is so available that means our attention is the resource that people are competing over. And the same goes for you as a leader, and how you manage your people and your own work will dictate whether you're being really wasteful and inefficient. And so little things, you know very practically would be the way you delegate. One of the things that I find interesting is you know, the barriers are gone. And so leaders, what do they do? They can send a request anything from anyone anytime, and they've been told, [00:24:00] because classic leadership theory says that you need to be good at delegating and give people responsibilities, but then instead what they do is they don't let, their people don't have a view of the bigger picture, they're too many steps away. They do but their people don't.

And then they just throw whatever they need at any moment at them, without any thought that they're actually squandering their own attention resources because the team they manage is a part of the attention resource that they have, so. You know, at its highest level that's what I would say, and then related to that is being very active and [00:24:30] intentional in the way you set up your communication. We communication about everything except how we communication with each other. And so we have these differing expectations and we're across every channel, you know if you can't reach me in two minutes on slack, then you need to email me, if you don't email me you'll text me, if you don't get that then you'll you know, Skype, and we have like 100 channels and communication is inefficient and whoever runs the fastest and sleeps the least is the one that dictates the pace, and so it's [00:25:00] pulling back and saying let's set up a social contract that allows us to actually be intentional and efficient in the way that we communicate with each other. So that's on the leadership side.

And then on the customer side, you know, I think that a lot of people are aware that customers are different, but the problem is they then even they don't naturally, like for instance, they don't read, we don't read a lot. And one of the basic principles of [00:25:30] managing someone with a short attention span, and our attention span is the lowest it's ever been, in fact like what nine out of ten of us when watching TV use a second device, actively. I was a kid, when I was a kid ADD was often blamed by watching TV right? Like now if you can watch a 30 minute sitcom, without pulling out your phone, you're the best we got. So we don't have attention spans. But then we write all of this information, and so we think, how can I send, like I need to give [00:26:00] them a lot of information, and we make it really selfish, and so how do we instead, if we have short attention spans, limit the information you're sending, and set it to a format that's gonna capture their attention.

You know. And that's one layer. There's a lot of things that I would say about it. Another big one that I think it particularly important is the irony of a customer who is inundated with information, actually makes it really hard to make decisions, and so we've [00:26:30] never been more likely to turn to people we trust to offload decisions. And so how do you go about becoming the person that is the trusted expert for them, where they'll offload those decisions. And so some of that's about helping connect the customer to the people behind the brand, we don't trust brands but we do trust the people. If we see that connection, some of it's in literally the way we structure engagement with them, but it's really about creating [00:27:00] trust, because they want to give away their decisions.

Kyle Davis: Yeah when I was a sales manager at a number of different companies, the whole concept of being inundated with information or data dumps or just overwhelming the client, for a lot of the new sales reps, but even more seasoned people, seemed to be like the modus operandi for how you know, they want to communicate. Like if you want to communicate, let's over communicate and I'm gonna send you a manuscript instead of an email.

Curt Steinhorst: That's right.

Kyle Davis: And what [00:27:30] we have found, at the various different companies that I've worked for, but what we have found is, if the client asked about X, Y, Z. Just provide information on X, Y, Z. And then maybe you provide a little [inaudible 00:27:43] a little bonus with regards to you know, something that, just a little nib, you know what I mean, nothing crazy.

Curt Steinhorst: That's right.

Kyle Davis: Instead of just doing a full data dump with everything that they wanted, when they only wanted information on three different data points.

Curt Steinhorst: That's right, yeah. [00:28:00] And it's just laziness but it's also fear that governs that. And you know, what I would say is how do you make their decision easier because, it's hard to talk about a customer in the highest, like in all senses because everybody's world is different based on the industry they're in, but you know you're looking at a customer often times who's paying you to simplify the decision process. And so what we turn around and do is we just want to throw all of the choices [00:28:30] at them, and so we don't have to make a decision because we're willing to make it a transaction. And so just understand if you're throwing everything at them, you are asking for them to see you as a transaction, and so there's a much better way and the way is to gain their trust by pushing the best thing that they need the most, and the most limited amount of information, and helping them cut through the clutter.

Kyle Davis: [00:29:00] I think another like one of the data points that we were told and I'm sure you probably have some insight on this, but once a customer, and I'm speaking probably from software sales background, but I think this is just true whenever, is that when a customer makes the decision that they're going to buy and they start shopping and they start going to you know, hear what a competitor has to say, they've already made the decision that they're going to buy, but now that they're just being inundated with you know, all of this information, they may be trying to buy a CRM for their company and [00:29:30] you know, next thing you know they're getting emails from you know, something, something from another company and this that and all of this information, or they may be shopping for health insurance or something like that. And it's just overwhelming information, when in reality they just want someone to hold their hands and just help them with the process and they may even pay more for it if it's just simplified.

Curt Steinhorst: Totally, yeah. Cost isn't your most precious resource for many, many organizations and the individuals running them. They might think it is, but when you're competing [00:30:00] on price it means that you haven't won trust, and you haven't given them what they need in order to make a decision easy.

Kyle Davis: Yeah, don't race to the bottom people.

Curt Steinhorst: Yep.

Kyle Davis: Let's talk about the exciting stuff that you're working on, I know that right now I think you're in Florida and you're kind of sequestered away doing some work, so let the people know what it is that you're working on, and when they can expect some new stuff from yourself.

Curt Steinhorst: Yeah. I'm officially a [00:30:30] week and a half away from turning in a book to my publisher, that will be out on October 9th. It's called "Can I Have Your Attention", inspiring better work habits, focusing your team and getting stuff done in the constantly connected workplace. And really, the research and the work that we've done on this book, and I say we because it has certainly been a village to work on and years in the making, was to ask and answer the question, what does leadership look like in a constantly connected world. And [00:31:00] there's a lot of classic leadership books that are amazing, that have wonderful principles that we should still read and listen to, but there's also a lot of things related to the way we work that have just so radically changed. And that most leaders have been completely ill suited, ill trained to actually function in. And so we, what I'm basically doing is looking at every facet of work from the way we communicate to the technology [00:31:30] we choose and use as a team, to the principles of management, and leadership, to the way we think about space, and asking the question what does it mean to lead, and lead people that are constantly distracted and overwhelmed and you know, getting 120 emails a day, like how do we actually take real steps.

And what's realistic? Because one of the challenges that I have in my world, and it's really easy to paint a picture of like, technology's [00:32:00] destroying everything and completely ignoring the fact that I'm gonna get off the phone here and I'm gonna call my kid on Facetime and put him in bed and that's amazing, you know, and so, and then you'll hear things like, well the first thing you've gotta do is you've gotta leave your phone out of your bed. Okay, well I want to know which one of the people that says that actually does it. Because there's a lot of good reasons to have your phone in your bed, even if it messes up your sleep. And so, I'm not saying that that's the best thing, what I'm saying is that a lot of the strategies people are suggesting just aren't realistic. [00:32:30] And undervalue the benefits, and so what are realistic ways to not be owned but also to still be realistic and to actually get the benefits from this technology.

Kyle Davis: What would you say so far, I mean since you're wrapping up the writing and submitting in a week or so, what's been like the biggest eye opener thing that maybe even shifted the way that you think about communication and technology?

Curt Steinhorst: Wow [00:33:00] that's a wonderful question. You know, I think that the places that I find most fascinating are the ways that conflict is being impacted as a function of digital communication, and so you know, in interviewing many organizations and the leadership and hearing over and over again that, the clear implications of what I see in the research, [00:33:30] for what's creating like real inner office conflict. The simple fact is, you make digital communication the modus operandi, you don't set boundaries around it, you don't put people in front of each other, and you're gonna have a bunch of people mad at each other, because of issues around the differences between emotional and the cognitive empathy and the way we are wired to communicate.

And it's a massive issue. It's a massive, massive issue. And I frankly just didn't realize how big it was. And [00:34:00] by the way, in leaders in particular, because it's easier to sit behind a computer, and I feel like I sound like an old curmudgeon, but it's actually a biological thing, we don't like to engage conflict, no one likes to be the source of bad news, but it's something we learn over time, and then now that we have this tool that lets us not have to see the face of someone and not have to experience the mirror neurons that make us understand the emotions they're feeling, man, we're just we're really getting [00:34:30] pretty nasty with each other. Not just on trolls on twitter, like it's happening in offices everywhere.

Kyle Davis: Wow I just coughed when I was trying to ask a question. You know, one of the things that we did recently here, and I talked to my mom about this, we read the same email but I said read it the way that you would think about it and then I'll read it the way that I meant it. And it's just kind of interesting that when you like, and this has always like been [00:35:00] the problem with something that's typed out, I always wish that there was like a sarcasm font or like a, you know, can it be red for anger, and then like pink for love or something. Like can we figure out this, can we add a third layer of communication within a written body of text. Because

Curt Steinhorst: Yeah, it's funny, I'm like a big, when we moved into the communication section, which is my favorite section and obviously because it's the heart of what I love the most, but you know, big advocate. Use emojis! And it's [00:35:30] like people say, well that's not professional, you know you need to write in long complete sentences, sure if I was in the Victorian age and I wrote one letter a week it better sound pretty awesome, but I'm, if you're sending 50 emails a day, write fast, efficient, and use tools that can make people understand the emotions that you have, which is emojis, and also it can be a lot of fun too. So yeah, use them.

Kyle Davis: Yeah, use the emojis people, that's what they're there for. Well hey look I think that's a good place for us to wrap up, if you guys [00:36:00] would like to book Curt Steinhorst for your next event you can do so by contacting GDA Speakers, the phone number is 2144201999 or go to GDAspeakers.com, for today's podcast, transcripts, show notes and all that other fun stuff you can go to, GDApodcast.com. Thanks Curt.

Curt Steinhorst: It's been my pleasure, thanks Kyle.