Unlocking Intelligent Cultures Through Intelligent Conversations With Andrea Hemmer

Hello. Welcome to another episode of Unlocked. I'm Skot. Today, we're going to talk about unlocking the potential of people because that's what we always talk about. Today, we got Andrea Hemmer on the call. She is going to talk to us about number one, her new book, right, that's out called Intelligent Huddles and what that's all about. We're also going to talk about her journey. She is a salon owner, her Lunatic Fringe salon in Boise. They have multiple locations. She is the business owner of that location in Boise. They just open a new location, so if you're in the Boise area, go check it out. I hear it's a beautiful salon.

Go ahead and listen to what she has to say about, yes, it started out as this idea of a salon, but what was interesting is that she learned culture development and leadership from the original owners, which is amazing because it's about multiplication, right? It's about multiplying the good in the world. That is what happened and now Andrea wants to do the same thing, so the legacy is getting passed on. She is taking that idea, fulfilling her own purpose, and driving and mentoring and coaching people through their own journeys. She believes in thoughtful study of neuroscience, so a lot of her stuff is based in this neuroscience realm, which is really cool. Some of that is in the book and how that relates to human behavior.

She's also that success is hinged on the emotional intelligence of leadership as much as it is on the bottom line, so yes, we need profit, but the belief is that comes after we've invested in the people. After we've invested in ourselves, invest in the people, then comes the profit afterwards. Self-awareness, mindfulness, inner evaluation, being able to adapt and pivot through change, supercritical. Anyway, enough of me. Why am I talking? Let's get to Andrea. Thank you for being here. Let's go.

Andrea, it is awesome to have you. We have been on fire so far with our little pre-interview chat here and I'm excited for everybody to meet you.

Andrea Hemmer:

Oh, my gosh. Well, thank you so much for having me. I'm just so grateful to continue to meet really like-minded people like yourself, and like you just said, this has been so fun just getting on the call before this moment and already seeing how much we can just flow together, so I'm excited to see where this is going to go today.

Skot Waldron:

Yep. Let's flow. Let's do it.




Okay, here we go. Let's start out. I want to talk. We're going to kind of step into this thing because you're kind of complicated. I'm just, I'm not sure-


Mm, I like that.


... You've got this salon thing going on and you started during a recession and then you had COVID, but yet you're into neuroscience, but yet you wrote a book, too, but whoa, wait, you do leadership coaching. What? I'm sitting here thinking, "Where do I even start with you?" Right? I'm so perplexed. You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to hand it off to you and you take us on the journey. How did you land where you are with salon, neuroscience, leadership stuff? Where does that come from?


Well, goodness, this is going to be something that please, feel free to even interrupt if I go somewhere and you're like, "Whoop, come back, because there's a story here." I started in this industry of hair back in 2000 and it was one that has took me on a journey that I could not have predicted. I remember being at this place and thinking, "I just want to do hair. I just want to go in, I want to do my thing, and I just want to go home." I just felt like that was like the free nature of being this hairdresser and getting to dress cool. Little did I know where this door was taking me to.

My husband and I, we opened up our first, and it's the only Lunatic Fringe salon that we have here in Boise, so I came from Utah and I started with the company in their first team culture environment, which was really something I knew I was attracted to. I loved being a part of a team and there's a lot of different ways you can do our industry. The two I think the people are the most familiar with are commission-based pay or booth rent. I just wanted to be part of something bigger than myself. This company really opened my eyes to that. I was starting to work under really great leaders. I got my first business coach when I was 22 years old because the company had provided it, so was like it's a very and still is innovative company where it was starting to expose me to a lot of neat things at a very young age.

I knew when we were getting ready to move to Boise, because my husband's family is from here that I could leave my friends, I could leave my family, but the one thing I couldn't leave was this culture. It was something that really, I felt something inside me that I'd never felt before, having that like-minded people surrounding me and allowing me to really show up in my own, I would have to say, my most authentic way, and so there was just so much about this that I wanted to make sure that we continue it into the next place that we were going to be moving to, which was here in Idaho, and so we set out to do this.

It takes time before you open a business and you don't just wake up one day and then the next day it's there. I mean, it takes a lot of hard work to get all the things in motion to really have that opening day. Unfortunately, I think it's almost fortunately as well is it was during a time that a lot of the listeners can relate to in 2008, it was what someone would compare to the Great Recession, so here my husband and I, the only visionaries that were coming into the state of Idaho to open up this upscale salon in a time that was really trying for people financially and it taught me a lot. It taught me that I was on the right path because I was following my passion.

I feel like if I learned anything, I'd heard this saying from one of my mentors, "If you follow your passion, the money will come, the financial gains will come, and if you do that the opposite, if you're always following money, you're going to lose your passion." I was tested in that moment and realized that it was my passion that was leading me because I remember telling my husband at one point, "I don't even think we have a dollar in our bank accounts, but I've never felt so rich in my life," and I think that was one of those pivotal moments in my life to just know that there's nowhere else to go but up.

Then fast forward to what we just all came through, which was another really trying time as people, it was trying as business owners, it was trying as leaders, I mean, as everybody collectively was really having a hard time processing what was happening around them, and being again in that role of starting to wonder, "How do I continue to move forward knowing that I have the livelihood of these people that I care as much as I would my intimate family, making sure that I can lead them through this?"

There were so many lessons. I remember thinking back, it's like through this destruction, there is going to be this rebirth, this opening of new opportunities. They're there if you continue to search for them. If you put your focus there, the energy will flow there. That was something that, again, I learned coming into this place of being a business owner, being a leader, that those challenging times, they're coming. I mean, we were made for them, and I think if you're in that place of really loving what you do and who you do it with, you'll find your way through them with a lot more ease. That's how I got into the business side of things and coming into the salon ownership world.

Through that time, it's interesting something that I think I've gotten more clarity around lately is there's a thing that with business owners, it's like people that they're going to be a business owner, it's like, "I want to own my own business. I just want to have all the responsibilities and everything that comes with that." Then there's people that really go into wanting to be a leader, they go on this path of wanting to be a leader. I've seen that a blind spot when I work with some of my coaching clients that if they go for that business side, if they don't develop the leadership side, there's a lot of challenges in the business. If you're in that place of having this desire to be a leader, you have to make sure that you also have that quality of wanting to understand the performant metrics of the business. They both have to come together, I believe, to have a lot of success and fulfillment.

What I'm so grateful that I know now about myself is I was on this path of wanting to be a leader. I love leadership. I love working with leaders. I of understanding the way people work. Having that as a part of me, then I got introduced to Conversational Intelligence, which was created by Judith Glaser, who is the late Judith Glaser, I should say. She passed away, unfortunately, during my certification. She was a wordsmith and she was an anthropologist and an archeologist and a scientist and she had this passion to want to understand people and what happens when we exchange our words with another person. Why is it that sometimes we have conversations where we just bond and feel connected and why is it that sometimes we have them and we feel like we just want to be running away from that person and there's just a disconnect?

She started to understand neuroscience. She wanted to get in to understand the way the mind worked and then she developed this program called Conversational Intelligence and it's centered around the neuroscience, the way the mind works and what happens in our bodies when we exchange words, how to build trust. That's where the neuroscience came into my journey was just on this path of having some really great coaches around myself. My coach Lynn Christian was part of this and was certified in this as well and so she was someone that had introduced me to it.


Wow, that's cool. It's just kind of like the universe taking its role in your life, right, and being guided, but seeking opportunity and capitalizing on those things that are in front of you and not using them as deterrents, but really opportunities for growth and then seizing those opportunities and using them for the future of what you want to build, right, aligning that with your passion and what you want to do.

You've been on this journey, you have opened the salon, you have just opened a new location there in the Boise area. We said that it's in all the new travel magazines that this is one of the places to visit when you're in Boise, right?




We established that earlier. Let's talk about your book. You wrote a book called Intelligent Huddles. It's not just huddles or daily huddles, it was Intelligent Huddles. What's the title about and why'd you write this book in the first place?


Oh, my gosh. I love this question. I believe that 99% of any team's challenge comes down to communication and I learned that. When we opened the doors, we had the systems in place, we had the beautiful location, and I mean, when you walked into it, it's like anytime you walk into a new business, it's beautiful and everything looks like it's intact. That can only last so long, right? Then you start to get really into it and recognize the different challenges that start to show up.

One of the things that I learned early in my leadership was, oh, my gosh, I felt like I was wearing all the hats. I think a lot of business owners and leaders can relate to this that's listening is it was like, oh, my gosh, I've got to make sure that this person knows this is on backorder, or this person called in sick. This is what's showing up in our day and this is what the goals are. It was just like a constant... I never felt grounded in my business and I felt exhausted by just trying to chase everyone down and then it was like that turned kind of into this telephone game and who missed the message who got the message. It just was messy.

I remember going to an incubator workshop with Neil Dukoff, who is just brilliant at helping businesses create systems and understanding what are the key performing indicators that a business needs to be a healthy business. Again, I said earlier, the company, Lunatic Fringe that I'm a part of, it's just very, it's ahead of... I think people come in and they're like, "You guys are a hair salon?" There's just a lot of advanced things that are founder was always seeking out to keep us continuously growing.

That's different in our industry. Our industry is one that you just don't see this type of structure. We went to this workshop and I remember sitting in the workshop and he had like a 45-minute-segment around daily huddles. I actually laughed. I was like, "That is so woo-y. There is no way I'm gonna bring people together, I'm gonna do this little hokey powwow." I literally resisted it. I think life has such a funny way of teaching us things because the things you resist the most are usually the things you need the most and that really was something that I now know looking back because it was like I almost needed that awareness of that resistance to help me understand it to help me keep it in the back of my mind.

As I was coming into that day-to-day and feeling that pain point just continue to get more and more louder, it was like, what can I do to really get centered in this place that we built and we want to have like a lot of great fulfillment and I'm just feeling a lot of stress in this day-to-day? It was like, "Oh, my gosh. I have to do a huddle. I have to bring my team together. I have to start communicating with them." I thought it was going to be more just telling them all the things that we needed to do. That's how they started out. It was just kind of this, I was the only one that spoke, I was telling them all this information. It felt good for me, but yet there were still a lot of things being missed. There were still a lot of things that you could tell that you felt like people were, were with you, but you could start to see in the symptoms of things not being done that you kept thinking, "Why are they not listening? I've been telling them. I was telling them."

Then I started to get a little bit more curious around just different days that would happen when the huddles would feel like they were having more of an impact and I remember leaving for a little bit and coming back from a vacation and we had this team member that I'd asked to lead the huddles while I was gone and she was like, "We had the most incredible huddles. I actually let everybody talk in them," and I was like, "Wow, that's an amazing idea. I didn't even think of... That'd be amazing if I didn't have to be the one talking," because you kind of get in that place of like, "I feel like I'm the only one talking."

I started to see there's opportunities within this 10-to-15-minute meeting that I feel like I haven't yet really discovered. I guess kept trying different things, trying different things. I think a lot of leaders can relate to this. It's like, you'll see these things happening that are happening really, really well, and you keep doing them and then they stop like working so well and you're still just trying to figure out where's the blind spot.

When I was introduced to Conversational Intelligence, I'd record all my huddles. One of the things that my coach asked me to do is she was like, "I want you to go back and I want you to watch your huddles and I want you just to listen to yourself and I want you to listen to yourself every time you say the word 'I.' Just count how many times you say the word 'I.'" I was kind of like, "Okay." I went back and I watched these huddles and I had to turn it off after five minutes of the huddle, maybe even three. It was just like the only person. Again, it was just like, "I think we need to do this," and, "Where I know we have opportunity," and "I, I, I." It just was painful to even hear.

She said, "Now, let's just go in and start to work with just changing the word to 'we.' Just see what happens in the way your energy shows up, your team's energy shows up." I went in and started simply changing the word "we," so, "What if we looked at things this way? What if we had a plan around this goal? What would it look like if we all had a part and a role and responsibility in hitting our daily goal today? What would we have to do?" Even just maybe hearing that, as I'm saying this to you, it's like you can already start to see there's more of a togetherness. It's more about what a team is about is we're all in this together. That was when I started to recognize that words are powerful, words change your world, and I wanted to know about this Conversational Intelligence. I had to understand it because I already could see that just by utilizing some of the stuff she was showing me, things were starting to change around me.

Once I got that information around Conversational Intelligence, when I started to go through all these different web series of different leaders, I was like, "Everything that they're sharing, I feel like a lot of the challenges they're talking about, if we were to put these things into a huddle and people started out at the beginning of their day, they would have even less challenges in their workspace," so I started to implement the way the mind works, so we know that if we can start people coming into a space and knowing that they've probably had a lot of challenges. If they have kids, they could have had a kid that was running late, or didn't want to wake up, or a dog that's sick, or someone cut them off on the freeway, or there was traffic coming in.

A lot of times, people are already coming into the workspace in a reactive way, and so this huddle, by bringing them in and knowing the way the mind works, I started to get really curious and started to think, "Okay, what if I could move them to a different region of their mind? What if I could actually move them from that primitive mind where we have our emotional centers and they could be coming in with a little bit of fear and amygdala hijack and I can move them into the area of the mind that starts to open them up for connection and trust by just asking them a question around their aspirations, 'What do you aspire for in your day-to-day? What's the most important thing for you to walk away have done in your day that would create meaning for you?'", starting to use my curiosity to see if I could help reframe their thinking and move them into a different region of the mind?

I started to experiment with this and it was like, "This is amazing." I started to feel like people would even get in tighter around the circle and people were listening. There was a totally different energy and shift that was happening. Then I started to think, "Well, if we started to put the things that are not so fun to talk about, like maybe the follow-ups?" Everybody in a business knows about housekeeping, where team members will leave a mess behind, and not bringing those in right away, or goals can be really fearful for people. Some people have a relationship with goals throughout their life that they had them and never met them, so setting goals is actually not always a positive thing for people, yet it's important for a business, so if we can talk about the goals after I get them in this part of their mind that they're in a place for trust and oxytocin is flowing through them to bond.

Then as we go into things that could be somewhat more challenging or need a little bit more problem-solving around, we're already in a region in the mind that's going to keep us open up for that greater insight, that creativity, the wisdom, those type of things to start to come into the space so that we leave feeling like we really have a solid plan, and then we're going to have less of those challenges that could be even bigger if we didn't have this space to get a connect and follow-up on and bring it to focus and bring it to light.

That's why I had to write the book because it was like I know the challenges because I was on all these webinars and I've been working with leaders and CEOs and direct reports of CEOs and it was like, oh, my gosh, if they had huddles, if they had huddles and they, they really had a way to get through that mental block of like, "What do I say in them? What do I do? I've been doing them. My team's not engaged," it's like, if I can just like bring them a tool that could have help them start to become more inspired and have that same energy that I started to notice shift, the workplace is going to be healthier, which is going to make the world healthier. I mean, there's always a bigger thing to all of this, but we spend so much time in our work, and if we can have healthier environments that really are cultivating psychological safety and people are feeling good and the places that they work and they feel like they can express themselves and they feel like they're being acknowledged celebrated, and they get to be part of problem-solving. It's like, my gosh, imagine what they take home to their families, right?


Yeah, no, because it's all combined, right? We talk about staying healthy as an individual and it all starts with you and it ripples outward, right? Staying healthy as an individual is going to help you have a great relationship with your family, which will then pour over into your team organization and your community, ultimately, and so having that healthiness is really, really important for us as leaders to understand what we're trying to do, what we're trying accomplish, and what keeps us healthy, right? Being really self-aware is really, really important. I know that you're a believer in that as well, having that self-awareness component is so critical and where it all starts is the foundation. That goes into, how do we communicate? Well, we communicate well. What's the point of communication? Communication is there to help us build better relationships of trust so that we can be better aligned as an organization. Therefore, we can execute well. Then at the end of the day, profit comes, but it's really that focus on people first.

When we talk about that next step, so communication, you've talked a lot about communication as far as how you like utilize the huddle for delivering intentional communication and being mindful of the other people in your group and what they need. But let's move on to the trust word that everybody floats around so much and talk about how you really build that trust. But once you lose it, how do you get it back? That's really interesting, too, is everybody talks about building trust, from sales, to HR managers, to whoever, but I'm interested in if you destroy it, how do you get it back?


Yeah. Oh, my gosh. Well, I love this. I may go a couple of places just to bring it all full circle. One of the things that I believe about trust is I believe that there's... Oh, let's look at it in three levels. There's low trust, there's conditional trust, and there's high trust. If you are very aware, and I love that you use that whole thought around self-awareness because I teach this in workshops and I teach it for my team and it all starts there. The key to any beneficial change in your life is through self-awareness, and so being able to start to identify when you can witness people's behaviors, people will show you if they're in a state of trust, conditional trust, or high trust.

If somebody is in your workspace, which I want to use the example of a new team member because anybody that's a leader is going to be growing their team, so new team members are going to start to show up. When a new team member comes into the workspace, they're going to be more in that conditional trust to low trust. I almost want you to envision a dashboard. They're coming into this new space and the way the mind works is it's meant to protect us. That primitive part of our mind was designed to protect us, protect us from threat. It was designed back in caveman so long ago. It was meant to protect us from a saber-tooth tiger.

The mind has evolved, but that region hasn't, and so if we're aware of this, the mind is going to do what it's supposed to do. It's supposed to continue to search and detect for threat in our environments, in people. Once it detects one, it starts to infuse cortisol, which is going to allow us to fight or to fly or freeze or appease. It doesn't know if it is a saber-tooth tiger, or if it's a team member, or if it's someone not smiling at them, it still reacts the same or responds the same.

When we have a new team member, if we know this and they're going to be coming into a new space that's unfamiliar to them and a lot of uncertainty, the mind is going to be detecting for threats. They're going to come in already just with caution and they're going to start to look around the environment and their mind is taking in information and it's deciding and deciphering, "Like me, not like me. Friend, foe." If I know that I have this new team member, I know what's really important is they're coming in this conditional wait and see, "Can I fully come in and be a part of this? Or do I need to continue to push back because I'm protecting myself?"

I'll have them come in. This is another reason why I love huddles because I bring them in right away, I welcome them. I make sure that they have a place to set their thing down, all these things that are going to continue to heighten psychological safety so that they can start to open up a little bit more and get more into that place of trusting versus not trusting. Then I'll start to let them know, "I'm going to bring your voice in. I want to introduce you to the team. If you're open to it, I'd love for you to share what attracted you to our company."

Just by them getting this care and getting this kindness, they're already starting to have an experience of, "This person's like me. I'm a kind person, this person's a kind person. I care, she cares. I feel like I can start to move into more of a trusting space with her." Trust is interesting because trust can be broken in a moment and it can be rebuilt in a moment and we can experience low trust and high trust at the same time. That's where I think that conditional trust takes place. What moves us to different regions of the mind, because trust and distrust live in different regions of the mind, is the way we use our words. It's our non-verbal communication, our cue. If we know that and we know that if we have people that are coming into our space, smiling at them, eye contact, using a word that lets them know that we see them, welcoming them. It's something that will start to help them feel like they can open up and start to come in closer towards us.

If I see that somebody, because it's going to happen, it's going to, there's been times that you're around one of your best friends and you feel like you're connecting and you're bonding and you're excited about the relationship, and then there's times where you're going to be like, "I can't believe she did that to me. I'm so mad. I don't even trust her anymore." You can see in our lives, we've moved back and forth through it, even with the people that are the closest to us, and so if you can identify those behaviors, if I notice as somebody is withholding information, in a huddle, if their heads are down, their arms closed, they're short answered, or they're criticizing the things that are being said, they're judging, they want to dictate, those are behaviors that I can tell they're in a place of low trust.

That's an opportunity for me to be able to start to pull their voice in, "Help me understand. Help me understand what's happening for you right now. If you were to be on a place of resisting what we're talking about, or in a place of being skeptical, or wait and see, or you could partner with us, where are you out on this dashboard?" They can come in and now have a chat to express some stuff, "I'm feeling very skeptical." "Well, what would you need to know more about to get closer to partnering with us? What can I help provide you with? Or how can I support you the very most right now?" Let them talk.

It's all about the way that we use our words, being able to first have that awareness and identify, where is this person?I had an experience yesterday with a team member and I could tell there was a disconnect. I could just see that something, she was a little bit more closed, a little bit more territorial. That's a low-trusting behavior, where they're just wanting to kind of be separated from the group. How often do leaders just ignore those signals that are being put off? That could turn into something much greater.

I wanted to make sure because the relationship, I meet with my team every other week, most of them once a week, every day in the huddles, one-on-one once a week, or every other week. That relationship is so important so that when you see these behaviors that show up, you can go in and have a conversation. I went in and I asked her, I was like, "How are you doing today? Is there anything that I can support you with? Or how's your mood?" She's like, "Oh, my gosh. I've been meaning to talk to you. I just haven't been sleeping. I feel like I've been a little bit quieter and I haven't been able to help the team out as much. I don't know. I just am trying to just be here and do as much as I can with the energy that I had." It was like, "You know what? How can we support you right now? Because that has to be frustrating."

All of a sudden, her whole energy shifts, you could tell a weight came off her. It's just in those moments where you can start to see people that are in a place of low trust and it can be within themselves, not trusting they can be there for the team and being a conversation there, or that something happened where maybe they took a cue from somebody that made them feel like they don't care, being able to pick up on that and work with it and move in the direction that you want to move in, or you can see people that are in high trust. They're laughing and they're smiling and they're wanting to participate and they're giving you their greatest ideas and creativity's showing up and innovation and co-creation, it's like, "This person's in a high trust with me. They're with me."

I think it's just awareness first, but there's those different layers. I feel like if you know how to identify them and you use your words to help people really move to that different area of their mind so they can start to partner with you, things start to happen different in your culture, things start to happen different in your life, and in your business.


Yeah, that's really powerful. To be able to read other people is a gift, right?


It's really powerful.


I think that we're so stuck in self-preservation sometimes we get stuck on this, "What did I do? Or what's wrong with me? Or I've been trying to help so much and something's wrong with them." You're constantly reflecting. Some of us constantly reflect on, "What is it with us? What's their problem with me? I don't want to lose this. I'm trying to hide this or I'm trying to prove something to this person." Maybe I'm trying to prove that it's not me, that it's all them, right, in some way, shape, or form.

Being aware of just moving from critique to curiosity is a phrase I use a lot. I love that when you said that earlier is like being curious opened up this whole intelligent huddles idea to you, right, it's like being curious about the other people in my group and what they're feeling, what they're sensing, and what's going on in their life, because you know what it is, interchange, it's not interchangeable. It's like life and work are here and if they're impacted at work, there's probably something going on in their personal life that is impacting them, right, and how can we help them stay as healthy as possible?

I consider a quality, right, of a successful leader is having that ability to seek to understand others, right, to seek to understand others and to be mindful that not everybody thinks like you and that it's not always about you, that sometimes it's the other people, so having that intuitions is what I've seen great leaders have. What do you think of about successful leaders that you've worked with, or that you've seen, or that you've worked for? What is a unique quality that they bring to the table, in your book?


I think the greatest leaders are influencers and they are able to influence greatness out of the people that they're leading. They're developing their people, just like you said, at personal and professional, they all come together, so they're developing them, not just in the professional ways, but they're really letting them know that they care for them as people, so let's start to develop the personal side of you, which is understanding your habits at home. What are the healthy habits you have that are actually getting you closer to your big dreams and aspirations and what are the competing behaviors that you have? But really, wanting to get to know their people.

I really think that to be an influencer, I think we've talked about mindfulness. I think it's so important to have mindfulness practices and a way for you to, when no one is watching, to be able to have of the tools that can keep you grounded and keep you centered so that when you do have these team members that are coming up that are facing challenges, that you're strong enough and have the bandwidth and the stamina to even influence them in those times. That influencing can just be that you're calm and cool and collective and that you can hear them and you're not reacting because they're reacting. I do believe that those are the greatest qualities.

There's one other things that I want to share and I want to give people around trust because I think the greatest leaders are also trustworthy. I've talked about communication and how important it is to know how to use your words, to continue to develop trust. As a leader, you have to have the ability to start to build that relationship right away because when people join your team, they don't trust you. They don't know you, right, and then as they get further onto your team, the organization is going to start to make changes, and there's going to be people that are really on board with those changes, and there's going to be people that resist because change is hard for people. Even though it's the most constant thing in life, it's hard for people, and so you have to have the ability to keep the whole team trusting you through the good, the bad, the not so good, whatever, there's going to be those times, and they happen all throughout your journey.

One of my, my favorite tools, and I wanted to make sure that I give the listeners something that I see so much power in, I have three leaders that I worked with on... It was Wednesday. They called me. Usually, with my coaching clients, it's like, "Hey, this is a conversation that I'm needing to have. Can we deconstruct it together? Can you help me just understand? I just want to make sure that I have someone to talk about this or what suggestions you would have." It comes back to this tool I always share with them. It's called the TRUST Model and it was created by Judith Glaser. It's so powerful. It's an acronym. The "T" stands for "transparency." The "R" stands for a "relationship," the "U" for "understanding," the "S" for "shared success," and the "T" for "test assumptions."

I want to give you an example of what this would look like. Let's say I have to have a really difficult conversation with a team member. The first thing that I'll let this team member know is I'll ask if they have some time that we can set up because every conversation happens in time and space. That's important. That was a lesson I learned really hard. You can't just pull somebody and hope to have that conversation if you haven't primed their thinking of, "Hey, I need to have a conversation with you. Can we set this up in the next 24 hours?" if it's really urgent so they can be ready for it as well.

But the way I'll start a conversation off, I'll let them know, "Hey, I want to be completely transparent with you in this conversation. I want us to have a way of being really honest with one another. This is important because I value your relationship. Your relationship is something that I truly, I want to continue to cultivate it in healthy ways. I want us to also have a way to understand each other. I want to stand underneath your reality and know what's happening for you right now."

Then I want to know, "What does mutual success look like as we move out of this conversation? How can we really have shared success and move in the same direction that's going to support each other's needs? The one thing I want us to make sure that we do together is I want to test assumptions. I hold assumptions around this situation. Our mind is, they're movie makers, and so my mind's been making up some movies and I don't want to take these assumptions to anyone else. I want to test them with you if I can. That's how honest I want us to be together, and you with me, whatever assumptions that you may hold around this situation, let's take a moment in and explore those so that we can really leave having the facts."

That's how I'll use the TRUST Model. It works all the time. I mean, it's such a beautiful roadmap on how to really move through how to facilitate, how to prepare. It gives you all the tools you need to have what some people call a "difficult conversation." I call them "growth experiences." It really does give you growth.


What's the acronym? Transparency, relationship, understanding.


Uh-huh, understanding.


Shared success and test assumptions?


Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.


Okay. Really cool. Love it. Love it. Love it. That's good. Then running through that model, I can see all the things that need to come out of that, right, is one thing that comes out of that is vulnerability, right, and being open to maybe not being right, being open to having a incorrect assumption is rough. Then also, the alignment piece is really in there about the shared success. How can we be aligned together? Because if we're not aligned, we're going to be going in different directions. I think I'm supposed to go this way and I think you want to go this way, but maybe you don't, and so for us to be on the same page is going to be really, really critical. Yeah, that whole model, I like it. I like it a lot. Thank you. That's really cool. Thanks for sharing that.


When you think about, I'm assuming we're probably getting close to the end of the time, but one of the things I also want to share, and I think you can relate to this, the listeners can relate to this is when we have to have a conversation, I mean, if it's one that's seeming a little scary for us or difficult for us, we are being injected with cortisol, right? We are feeling fear. We are feeling nervous. We're feeling scared. What I found with this, too, is this helps us down-regulate. This helps us really have the ability to manage our emotions and stay really focused so that when you get into that conversation, you'll feel like even possibly your voice shaking in the beginning of saying, "Hey, I want us to be really transparent, and some of the things that I may share with you today, it may pain you, you may feel some emotion, and I want us to work through this emotion together, because I'm feeling it as well." You start to feel yourself down-regulate. That cortisol starts to soften and you start to have more oxytocin come into play.

What happens and what's amazing and neuroscience can show this and research has shared this is when we can down-regulate ourselves, we actually can co-regulate the other person. We know they're most likely feeling some of the fear as well, especially if it's a leader and a team member. We want our team members and ourselves to show up in our best frame of mind. We say that all the time if we are flooded with cortisol, that part of the mind is taking over all other regions, so we can't think, we can't come up with our best ideas. In fact, I'm sure you can recall a time that you've been in one of those type of conversations, arguments, or interactions, and then you walk away and you're like, "Why didn't I say this? Gosh. Oh, why didn't I say this?" It's because that region of your mind wasn't able to be firing and wiring. I mean, you were having amygdala hijack and that shut down all the other functions of the region in the mind. Once that cortisol starts to be regulated, then you can start to move to different regions of your mind.

This is what we have to know as leaders. That's why I say the best leaders know the way the mind works is because you can start to see when that shows up. That's a low-trusting behavior when people can't talk, they can't even form their sentences. Being able to say, "Hey, let's take a time-out. Let's maybe take a pause and take some deep breaths, take ourselves out of this situation." Then we can come back in and we can pick back up on what's the most important and you can go back through that TRUST Model, but there's a power in knowing that when we get regulated up with that cortisol, we actually have the ability to down-regulate it with the way we choose our words, and then also the ability to co-regulate the person in front of us so that we can have the best outcome.


Ah, so good. Thank you. Thank you for that. I'm getting a lot into the chemical stuff right now, too, and how it leads, how we lead and how it leads our corporations and an environment that we're in this dopamine-filled environment that we all live in, which doesn't last, it's not a long-lasting strategy, it's a short-term way to fix something quickly or to get a quick win. Then it does damage for the long-term. But I love this idea of the cortisol coming in and clouding our judgment really well. How do you recognize it and then manage it in a way that helps build trust?


Yeah, yeah. It's powerful.


Oh, go ahead. Go ahead.

Did you want to say something on top of that?


It's just it's powerful. It's just powerful to know it. I think the most important thing when you even hear the things that you and I are talking about, or you read about it, is be your own experimentor, right? Start to really experiment it in yourself. I'm a firm huge believer in the practice of journaling, so I have a trigger log. I like to go through and look and reflect on my day, "What triggered me today? Where did I experience it in my body? Where did it show up? How long was I triggered for? What was it that was allowing it to start to lessen? What would I do different when this trigger shows up? Because it will."

I think it's so important that the embodiment to really be able to lead this way is you have to become aware and you have to try this on for you first before you just start sharing it with others because then it becomes an embodiment, it becomes a way of being, and I just think that's also sometimes a blind spot in learning all these really cool things. We just want to share it as leaders with all the people, but we need to try it on for size ourself, get a relationship with it, and then you'll really be able to lead with it.


Cool, cool. Yeah, the people that trigger us, or even our triggers can be our greatest teachers. We see them as such a problem and as something to avoid, but really, they're those teaching moments that we really need to embrace. That trigger log is beautiful. I love it. I tell my clients to keep a tendency log so you understand the good and the bad tendency you have and what's the result of those as far as impact is concerned. Here we are. How do people get ahold of this book? It just launched in February of this year. Congrats, super awesome for you. People can get ahold of this book how? I assume it's on this thing called Amazon?




Okay, all right.


Yes, it's on Amazon. You can go to my website, andreahemmer.com. All the information's there, the workshops that I do, and the book is there. There's also some free downloads. There's a huddle agenda, there's my top mindfulness practices to help leaders open up more into their awareness. I'm a big believer at that, I have a lot of practice in that, and some discovery questions on how you can open up your huddles. There's some really cool three resources that your listeners can jump on and get off my website. Then my Instagram, I'm building it right now. I'm sure you know it's its own an animal, but there's some really cool things that my team is putting together, and we're kind of finding our footing with it, but really designing it to be another resource for leaders to go and check in with and be inspired by, or just have maybe a little bit of a 30-minute video that can get, "Oh, maybe I'll try that," so those are some great ways that you can stay in touch, and also get some things and tools that can help you in your leadership.


Beautiful. Okay, so you're out there. People can get in touch with you. Website, Instagram, and your book is available for purchase now, so go out, get it. Thanks, everybody. Thanks, Andrea for being on the show. I don't know. Are we at the point now where I can call you "Drea"? Are we there?


Yeah, you earned it.


Yes, thank you. I made it, I made it. I've accomplished my goal. Okay, well, you're a rockstar. Thank you. Awesome. This journey you've been on, you've taken us through, through the mind, through leadership, and business ownership is powerful and just as people. Thanks, Andrea, for being... Or Drea. Sorry, I got to... Yeah, thanks for being on the show. You're a rockstar.


Oh, my gosh. Thank you so much for having me. I'm very grateful to have had this opportunity and to connect with your listeners. Thank you so much.


I love when she said she looked in her account, she said to her husband, "I don't think we have a dollar in our account, but I've never felt so rich." That is because she's able to have impact. That's my guess, anyway. My assumption is that is because of the impact she's able to have and it aligns with her own personal values, her own personal vision for her life, and her mission and what she's trying to accomplish. Super powerful. I love it, moving from I to we. That's just a small change. I think that if we evaluated how often we talk about I, within the realm of a meeting, a group of other people, that we would be surprised.

The TRUST analogy, or not analogy, but the acronym, TRUST, trustworthy, relationship, understanding, shared success, testing assumptions. How can we use that framework to have that next conversation that, as Andrea says, it's not a necessarily has to be a difficult conversation, it's a challenge, right? It's something that we can grow from, it's a growth opportunity, and if we seize it as that, if our mindset shifts from, "Oh, nah, I got to have this conversation. It's going to be hard. It's going to be really tough," right, then as Andreas talks about, right, cortisol, fear, anxiety, all those things start to take over, and we can't think clearly. If we're able to shift our mindset to, "Hey, there's a great opportunity here, yet it's not going to be comfortable, but there is an opportunity for us to grow for us to understand each other and get on the same page and put this other stuff behind us and move forward together," that's an opportunity, our mind shifts more into building trust, building alignment, and how we can move forward. Super, super great.

She talks about if we can regulate ourselves, we'll be able to help regulate others. Again, that's leadership, that's knowledge, and self-awareness. How do we take that upon ourselves in order to help others grow? Great stuff? I love it, I love it. Not only in business, but in life. That's good. I'm going to use that with my kids because we see it all the time with our kids, right? It's like we're up here, they get up here, then everybody, it's then pure chaos.

Thank you, Andrea, for being on the show, everybody go out, get a copy of her book, Intelligent Huddles. If y'all want to find out more about me, you can visit skotwaldron.com and you'll find out more about how I help develop teams and leaders in our society, empower them with those tools, and opportunities to grow. If you want to find out more about this type of show stuff, you can go there. You can go on YouTube, like, subscribe, comment. You can visit me on LinkedIn. Connect with me there. I would love to. All right, everybody, this has been a good one. I'll see you next time on another episode of Unlocked.

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