SiliconExpert Podcast Episode 18 with Colton Seale of Pyxis Academy - Transcription
Host: Eric Singer
Producer/Director: George Karalias
[00:00:00] Colton: Everybody we interact with has something they don't want to tell us about. Right? And in the business world, if you're kind of sitting higher up in the chain of command in a corporation, only about 20% of available information gets to you.
[00:00:20] Eric: Welcome to the Intelligent Engine. A podcast that lives in the heart of the electronics industry, brought to you by SiliconExpert, SiliconExpert, is all about data driven decisions With a human driven experience, we mitigate risk and manage compliance from design through sustainment.
[00:00:35] The knowledge, experience, and thought leadership of the team partners and those we interact with every day expose unique aspects of the electronics industry and the product life cycles that live within it. These are the stories that fuel the Intelligent Engine.
[00:00:54] Joining us today is Colton Seal. Colton led the development of the interview and interrogation, or I and I training program for the high value detainee interrogation group or HIG and ultimately for the broader US intelligence community. The model he developed is recognized as breaking the mold for interviewing, training, and bringing science into the art of interviewing.
[00:01:17] This was done for the US intelligence community, but transfers perfectly into cutting edge training and fact finding systems for almost any organization. While with the HIG, Colton taught the HIG interpersonal communications courses to thousands of members of the US intelligence community, some of the USS premier law enforcement agencies and many of our foreign partners, through his 22 year career as an FBI special agent.
[00:01:44] Colton conducted thousands of interviews and led a variety of specialty teams in high pressure, high stake settings domestically and internationally, including in the Middle East, south Asia, and in Africa. Colton brings a wealth of knowledge and experience relating to counterterrorism, counterintelligence, criminal matters, and the business community to every group he works with now.
[00:02:09] Through his company Pyxis Academy. Colton continues to train the US intelligence community and he brings his synced communication methodology to US business and industry for the purpose of helping them gain accurate and actionable information. Colton, thanks so much for joining us today.
[00:02:27] Colton: Thank you. I appreciate it.
[00:02:28] It's awesome to be here. I'm excited.
[00:02:30] Eric: So in the intro we mentioned you developed a training program for the high value Detainee Interrogation group. I'd like to talk a little bit more about how you got to that point. You started your career with the fbi and for our international listeners, the FBI is the US' highest law enforcement agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
[00:02:52] Colton, you were with the FBI as a special agent for two decades and you started that career in Anchorage, Alaska of all places, which is not a place most of us associate with crimes of really any sort. I'd love to hear a little bit more about your experiences in Anchorage with the FBI and then how you moved on from there to ultimately develop this training program.
[00:03:19] Colton: My thought was the same when they said, you're being sent to Anchorage. I was like, what am I gonna do in Alaska? But turned out probably the best thing that could happen for a career, because when I arrived in the Anchorage division is, was then and still is the smallest division in the FBI.
[00:03:36] We had 19 agents covering the largest territory. Put that in context. New York City has over 2000 agents. Wow. So small office. Which gave me the opportunity to work every crime that the bureau works, right? And to be able to travel around Alaska investigating crime. That was an adventure on its own. Flying small planes into remote areas of Alaska to interview people who really didn't want to talk to the FBI.
[00:04:05] Great experience. But I got to work from white collar crime and corruption to homicide and kidnapping and gangs. Terrorism and counterintelligence. So the experience there was awesome. The problem I found was I was interviewing up to eight people a day across this gamut, right? From CEOs to gang members and sex workers and like.
[00:04:32] An incredible range of humanity that I got to talk to. We hadn't been trained well how to do that, and that was frustrating, which is what ultimately led me on the path to developing this program is how do we do this better? How do we talk to people and make them want to talk to us or bring them to the point where they want to talk to us?
[00:04:50] Eric: And I can see how Alaska really would be the perfect environment for that, because criminal or not, I think a lot of people who moved to Alaska are there because of wanting to be removed from society or under the thumb of the federal government. So no matter who you're talking to, whether a they're a suspect or not, they probably didn't.
[00:05:15] Want to talk to you. Right.
[00:05:18] Colton: Very often. Yeah. Especially when I got to Alaska. It was still the kind of final days of the pipeline building this wild west frontier mentality that, yeah, people chose to be in Alaska for a reason, and part of that was I don't wanna ever deal with the FBI beyond my life . So it made it really interesting.
[00:05:38] I learned a lot from it.
[00:05:40] Eric: Yeah. So you, you start in, in that position thinking about how can I conduct these interviews more effectively? And so how did that evolve in, into the program that you ultimately developed?
[00:05:53] Colton: So I definitely was thinking a lot about it up there, recognizing that what we've been trained just wasn't really working to get people to that point.
[00:06:02] Then after more than nine years in Alaska, I decided, all right, it's time to do something else. So, Was lucky and got accepted onto an elite counter-terrorism team where all of a sudden I'm out of Alaska, but I'm working overseas in places like Pakistan and Nigeria and different Middle East places. And now I'm having to put culture into that mix.
[00:06:26] And ultimately my job among many, but was to interrogate for one of a better word, I don't actually like that word, but interview. People who had committed acts of terrorism terrorists more or less, and now get them to want to talk to me. And again, recognizing the training wasn't there. So some teammates of mine and I started trying to look at what research is out there, how do we get people to talk to us?
[00:06:53] And we found very little. But fortunately at the same time, the President Obama issued an executive order to create the high value detaining interrogation group, which is the Higg, because his task force looking at this had also found that the US government hadn't done any research on this since 1950s.
[00:07:15] Wow. And so all the, everything I'd learned and all the existing training was just what whoever came before me, Right. What worked for them in some situation. There's no reason to believe that's going to work for me in any situation, but that's how our training went. It was full wisdom, which it turns out very often is the opposite of what the science tells us to do.
[00:07:38] Eric: Yeah. We think back to the 1950s when doctors were still endorsing cigarettes, hard to place much faith in, in science from that era. .
[00:07:48] Colton: Right. And if you think about it, it's funny from the FBI perspective, right back in the 1950s, we were using revolvers. Yeah, right. Like little guns that did not match the firepower we were meeting.
[00:07:59] But that's where we, but we evolved there, but we kept our interviewing skills the same. Ridiculous, right? Yeah. So the HIG was tasked. Conducting that research, how do we get people to talk to us? And also conducting leading the highest profile interviews that were needed for the US government. And then to train this stuff.
[00:08:26] And that's why I got brought in was my academic background and my experience with doing these types of interviews. So they brought me in to pull all the research together. And actually put this into a program that could be used and taught by the intelligence community.
[00:08:43] Eric: Wow. So you're using this program at this point to get information out of persons of interest in an investigation maybe directly with people who have committed terrorist acts.
[00:09:00] How does that translate to the business
[00:09:04] Colton: world? Fair question because Yeah, it was initially, we were looking at terrorists, right? And we were talking to terrorists and applying it to them because they have a, a definite reason not to wanna share information with them, right? I'm in Pakistan talking to a guy who just blew up a marketplace in Pakistan.
[00:09:19] He probably doesn't want to tell me what he did or who helped him and all of that. Fair enough. Started thinking about it more broadly and realized they ever, they have things they don't wanna tell us, but so does everybody else. Everybody we interact with has something they don't wanna tell us about or they're embarrassed about.
[00:09:37] Or that they think could hurt them if they shared it right. So everybody has that. And in the business world, to me, it becomes incredibly important because if you're sitting higher up in the chain of command in a corporation, only about 20% of available information gets to you. There's no reason to believe that.
[00:09:57] That's the actual information that you need to make an informed decision. So there are roadblocks all along the way where people don't wanna share information, right? It might make them look bad, they might be embarrassed that they screwed something up and they tried to hide it or. They have information, they're like, I'm gonna hold onto this until I really need it.
[00:10:16] And that time is not now. So a plethora of other reasons. But if we look at it that in that way, right, the information you need doesn't come up. It just doesn't. Right? So how do we change how we communicate within a corporation moving down the chain? How do we communicate to allow that information to flow back up and remove those roadblocks?
[00:10:38] Eric: So you're looking at not only. What and how you might ask during an interview, but actually looking at the structure of an organization and evaluating how information is passed up and down the chain. So really more of a comprehensive view of information flow.
[00:11:01] Colton: Yeah. So is information siloed basically, is it stuck in silos?
[00:11:06] Is it shared across? If it's not shared across, why not? How many levels does it have to go through? Is there like a strict reporting hierarchy? Because every level that it hits, it gets diminished, right? For one of those reasons. But is there a way for the people at the top to be able to. Actually access information from the people lowered down in the chain of command, who actually have the information they need to avoid that.
[00:11:32] So yeah, part of it is structural, part of it. Is the culture aligned with that? Right. Do you have a corporate culture that promotes or inhibits information sharing? , and then what language are you using within those conversations?
[00:11:44] Eric: Mm-hmm. , one of the words that we hear a lot when we're talking about interviewing is rapport, building rapport with the interviewee.
[00:11:55] When you use that term, what do you mean by that?
[00:11:58] Colton: Yeah, it's a good question and it's a challenging one to answer. I'll put it this way. When I initial. Was taught interviewing 20 some years ago. Rapport was conceived as just being nice to someone or just finding something in common with them. Right. You have kids.
[00:12:13] I have kids, or you have a father. I have a father. Great.
[00:12:16] Eric: Good cop, bad cop.
[00:12:17] Colton: Yeah, exactly. And there's that, but it's not rapport. Rapport's a lot deeper than that, and it's getting in sync with someone in several different ways. One is that they feel they know why we're having this conversation and where it's leading.
[00:12:31] Right? So we're aligned. In that way, they trust how I'm going to use this information and that it's safe to share it. Right? So there are specific things that we need to do to create that dynamic. Then we look at aligning on their behavior. How are they? What is the external manifestation of their thought processes?
[00:12:54] How are they behaving? And. Uh, way complicated to go into here, but there, there are certain behaviors that we need to give in response to behaviors we see to create the right balance in a conversation. So simply, if you are trying to drive this conversation forward and I'm trying to drive it forward, it's going to make for not a very good podcast, cuz we'll be butting heads , right?
[00:13:19] So as you're asking a question, I be quiet and listen and allow that to go forward. And then we flip that position essentially. Mm-hmm. , right? Very often if I feel like I'm the boss, I need to be in control. You don't give that other side where you lower your power and let the other person take control for a while.
[00:13:40] Mm-hmm. . But if we do that well, and there's other dynamics to it, but if we do that well, that creates rapport. And then finally, are we talking. The same thing in the same way as my conversation and the language I'm using and the way I'm using it, aligned with the way you are. If we do those things well, we create rapport and it really doesn't have that much to do with being nice.
[00:14:04] We can have very direct, uncomfortable conversations, but if those things are working, rapport exists and we get what we need.
[00:14:12] Eric: So I'm imagining. The example of the a person who's just blown up a marketplace in Pakistan, it seems like a challenging individual to, to build some rapport with. But as you were talking, I'm thinking about, okay, well what are this person's goals?
[00:14:27] And maybe one of them is to draw attention to the political and or religious cause that, that he believes he's fighting for. And so is that the sort of thing that you look at where you're looking at their goals, what they may want to do, and in this case maybe that's draw attention to their cause and do you set up the interview to allow them to get their message across to you?
[00:14:51] Is that the sort of thing that you might do in that situation?
[00:14:54] Colton: I have a, an objective that I want out of this, right? Who planned this attack, say, or if we're looking at it from a corporate standpoint, why did this new technology not work, right? That's my objective. But stepping back and talking to someone in a way that allows them to explain their point of view, right?
[00:15:15] What they believe, what they value, what they care about, and what goals they have and why. . If I spend time listening to that, that creates a dynamic where now it they can provide me the information I want, feeling that it has appropriate context and that I'm not judging them for their beliefs and values.
[00:15:40] I'm listening to them. Mm-hmm. and allowing them to set that context to be able. Put forward that information that I need rather than my just peppering them with, you know, questions about what I need.
[00:15:51] Eric: Right. Wow. That feels like such a drastically different dynamic going from interrogator and detainee where it's this very adversarial relationship to providing that person with an opportunity to say what they wanna say.
[00:16:09] So if rapport leads to ultimately more information and a better, more effective outcome, what are the types of things that shut down Information flow?
[00:16:20] Colton: Yeah, so on the rapport leading to more information. A lot of the studies that we've done when I said the Higg and that it have now been done outside. So that we can increase information flow by up to 50% if we do things right.
[00:16:31] Wow. So we do get a lot more information interviewing or talking to people in the right way. So I say interviewing, but really that's just a conversation with another purpose person with the purpose of gathering information. So what shuts it down? There's a lot of things that do, but one is that if you go into a situation and you feel.
[00:16:54] All sense of control in that situation has been taken away from you. A feeling of autonomy. Right. We immediately push back against that. It's not conscious, we just feel, I don't like this situation. Yeah. Because I don't feel like I have control.
[00:17:10] Eric: Yeah. Oh man. And I'm thinking about traditional interview or interrogation techniques that seems like we're just setting ourselves up for failure.
[00:17:21] Colton: Yeah, and we are, and that's when somebody comes in to talk to somebody else. What research says is they don't tend to have a strategy, right? They're uncertain where they're going to go with this. They're gonna wait and see what happens and go with it. The second we remove that sense of autonomy, now they have something to push back against.
[00:17:39] And so that decision is made, right? So there's that lack of autonomy. Another one is judgment. The second I feel judged, I protect myself. Right, and think about how we ask questions. Why didn't this project work out the way that we anticipated that? Why is inherently judgmental,
[00:18:02] You're finding fault based on why didn't this go the way right? So now I have to protect myself. Now I have to think about, okay, what am I gonna tell this person? What am I not going to protect me? And to rationalize and justify. What I've done. So just rephrasing those questions to get rid of the why and help me understand what challenges you faced in implementing this.
[00:18:25] Eric: Ah, ah, there we go. So it really is, again, getting back to rapport where we're seeking understanding, we wanna get on the same page with you
[00:18:33] Colton: and giving them the space to do that. Non-judgmentally. Mm-hmm. . And there's one other, there's a lot of things that do get in the way of rapport, but another is a feeling of certainty.
[00:18:42] Do I really understand? , why we're having this conversation, where it's going and what the outcomes are, and if I'm uncertain about that. I'm also not going to share information. Rapport starts falling apart basically because I'm spending all my time trying to figure out what are your objectives? Where is this going?
[00:19:01] Cuz I don't know.
[00:19:02] Eric: Ah. So that's something you wanna establish right from the get go is helping the interviewee understand where you'd like this conversation to go and what you plan to do with that information.
[00:19:15] Colton: Who am I? Why am I talking to you? What are we going to talk? Why are we gonna talk about that and where does this go from here?
[00:19:23] Eric: So once we get people talking about the things that we want to hear about, how do we know if they're telling the truth?
[00:19:33] Colton: That's probably the most interesting question, I think because. We've been taught all kinds of things from people who claim to have the answer on deception detection, right? And things we've just learned throughout our lives.
[00:19:46] Most of those things, unfortunately, are wrong.
[00:19:49] Eric: So these are things that what comes to mind for me are looking away, looking down, looking to the left. We hear all these old wives tales of fidgeting or looking in a certain direction. Not much credence to those, it sounds like.
[00:20:02] Colton: Yeah. So. 20 years or so, we've really been looking at those and saying, okay, are any of these actually related to deception?
[00:20:10] And what we found is they're not the, the say, the gaze aversion are not looking in the eyes, right? Think about a young kid who's just eaten all the cookies he wasn't supposed to eat. The parent comes in and says, look me in the eye and tell me the truth. We've actually been trained in the eye and lie to them.
[00:20:27] Right? So the funny thing is that at a very marginal rate, Liars actually make more eye contact than truth tellers do because we've been trained that, but those nonverbal behaviors are either completely not correlated, not related to deception, or if they are, it's so minimal that they're absolutely useless to us.
[00:20:49] Mm-hmm. because, especially because if I'm trying to find some behavior that liars do 2% more than truth tell. Right. That's useless anyway. Right? But now I'm not listening to what the person's saying. I'm focused on the wrong things. So I'm not engaged in that conversation. I'm not doing active listening, right?
[00:21:11] So I'm rapport's now falling apart, and I have no idea if the person's telling the truth. And normally we're about. As humans and as professionals even. We're about 54% accurate in our ability to gauge the, well.
[00:21:25] Eric: That sounds awfully close to a coin flip to me. That's pretty much a coin. Yep. . So I love the the kid in the cookie jar example because this is an ongoing issue in my own household.
[00:21:37] So how do I figure out if my kid is lying about taking the cookies?
[00:21:42] Colton: Try to come back and figure that out. What we found, I'll say in around 2013 or so, when I really started pulling all this research together, we were unfortunately at the point where we knew the nonverbals didn't work, but we didn't know where to go and that was not a good place to be.
[00:21:56] 10 years, we've really come to the point where we've found that there are indicators of truthfulness. Truthful stories contain elements that untrue stories do not. Ah,
[00:22:10] Eric: interesting. So rather than looking for what's not true, we're just trying to find those nuggets of of truth.
[00:22:17] Colton: Yeah, so that's the starting point is looking for indicators of truth and you know, it's sexy and cool to look for deception.
[00:22:25] Because of that, we are looking at it the wrong way. And if we look at indicators of truth and if we listen to somebody's account and we don't see those indicators, doesn't mean necessarily that they're lying, but we know where to dig in further. Mm. And then if we don't see those indicators start to emerge and more details start to emerge, then we can start being confident.
[00:22:49] That part at least is not true. And what we found moves us from that 54% up to about 80%. Oh wow. It's not perfect. No, but it, that's a huge thing,
[00:23:00] Eric: but a heck of a lot better than a coin flip .
[00:23:03] Colton: Yeah, exactly. And so to give an example, Think about any given hour of your day and try to find an hour that everything just went smooth into playing , and there were no good luck with that.
[00:23:23] Right? Yeah, it never happens, right? Every day, right when I was getting ready to get on this call. My dog outside, one of my dogs outside, decides to have a meltdown. . I'm like, perfect timing. No, it's a complication to my day. True. Because life contains complications all the time, and true stories contain those complications.
[00:23:45] Mm. Right. So when I'm providing an actual, a true account, those complications are part of it. So I just, we just naturally include those. If I'm lying to. Right. I want, I'm trying to convince you to believe my lie, so I want to tell a really clean, convincing story, right? So those complications aren't there, and it takes a massive amount of cognitive effort to create complications even if you know that they're supposed to be there.
[00:24:16] We've actually studied this. We say, okay, true stories contain complic. Lies, don't I want you to lie. Building in complications, people still struggle with that. It's hard to do
[00:24:25] Eric: and then to keep track of it. Are there. Any specific stories that you'd care to relate about when you've, when you've uncovered a nugget of truth and what that's led to?
[00:24:37] Colton: So it is interesting. Part of my job was to, and some of it's classified, so I can't give all the details, but part of my job was to interview informants, people who are providing us information on things that we really care about. And so somebody comes in and says, I've got this great bit of information.
[00:24:58] About, you know, say this foreign organization is planning an attack here, and you're like, okay, if that's true, we have to mobilize a lot of resources to go after that. I would get brought in, say, okay, talk to this guy for a day or so and figure out, is this information true? Using this technique? Say, okay, tell me about where you got this information.
[00:25:20] Describe that for me in as much detail as possible. I'm listening for the various indicators of truth when I find holes. Then where those don't exist, I'm like, okay, let's go back to this moment. I'm having trouble understanding what you're telling me here, and what I'd like you to do is go through it again in absolutely as much detail as possible, including anything that I could verify.
[00:25:48] Uh, All right. And there's, I'll come back in a minute to different ways, but if I don't see those indicators come up now, I'm confident in that. And there's another technique that is okay, start at the end, what happened last, and walk me backwards through it to the beginning. So go and reverse order. Mm-hmm.
[00:26:10] imagine just trying to do that about something that's true. And now imagine trying to do that with a lie that you've,
[00:26:18] Eric: I mean, as I imagine trying to do that even about something true, I think it's gonna get messy, right? My, my memory's not gonna be perfect. I'm not gonna remember things in exactly the right order.
[00:26:29] I'm probably correcting myself as I go. Is that similar with when someone's fabricating. .
[00:26:36] Colton: No. So the correcting yourself as you go is actually an indicator of truthfulness. So it's another one of the indicators and it will be difficult, but as a truth teller going at it that really difficult, from that difficult angle, you'll remember more, right?
[00:26:50] It, it'll be hard, but more details will come out. Those complications will come out, right? If you're lying, you're trying to remember your script and fewer details come out and you get this, just duh. But the fun part about that is I've had several interviews where the person has just stopped me and said, This is too hard.
[00:27:11] What I told you wasn't true. Let's start over. .
[00:27:15] Eric: Wow. And I imagine that rapport building that you've invested in earlier in the interview, that's, boy, that's when that really starts to pay dividends, right? If somebody feels comfortable enough to just flat out say, Hey, I've been lying. I'm gonna tell you the truth now.
[00:27:34] Boy, that doesn't feel like an easy place to get to if you have an adversarial dynamic, right? I'm just imagining telling a lie, having to come clean in this kind of environment's, gotta make somebody really sweat bullets.
[00:27:48] Colton: It won't work if you haven't developed real rapport. Right? If you had a 10 minute conversation about your favorite football team, say, and then went into it, right?
[00:27:57] That's not gonna be sufficient rapport for somebody to say, I was totally lying to you. Yeah, right. But the way that I phrased, right? I'm having trouble understanding this part of your account. Let's go over it again. I have a feeling they're lying, but I'm not telling them that. Mm-hmm. , I'm not. You're lying.
[00:28:12] Cut it out. The historical technique. W I'm still allowing that report to develop, not judging them, giving them the autonomy to decide how they wanna go about this. So when it comes to that point, they're willing to say, Yeah, I was lying. Sorry. Let me tell you.
[00:28:30] Eric: Well, and describing it that way, and thinking back to the example of debriefing after a project has failed or otherwise gone off the rails, I can again see how important it is to make that a safe environment for that person to, uh, to reveal what they know.
[00:28:50] I'd love to hear more about how culture figures into this conversation in general.
[00:28:58] Colton: With the Alaska piece, it was really interesting. So I show up there and actually for a time I was the bureau's liaison to the Alaska native community, so I was flying out to different communities and just found that the way they communicate is so different.
[00:29:13] Right now I'm talking fast and animated. Alaskan native talk really slow without a lot of animation. and just changing the way that I communicated to align with that was a giant effort, but it was absolutely necessary. But looking at how, how cultures communicate in the US we're what is called low context.
[00:29:38] We communicate very directly, right? We gen tend to say exactly what we mean and I'm not leaving a lot of context out there for you to make sense of and figure out what I'm actually. Right. Whereas if we moved further east going into South Asia and further east in Asia, that context, it becomes a higher context communication.
[00:30:02] We provide less direct information and leave it to the listener to make sense of what's going on in this interaction. Interesting. If I'm dealing with someone from, say, Japan, and they're being very high context, I might feel that they're withholding information, right? That they're not being direct with me, they're not being great with me.
[00:30:27] What they're doing is communicating how they communicate, and they're assuming that I'm gonna pick up on all the nuance of it and all the additional information that is unsaid. And it's for a reason because they don't wanna be that direct. Because if they are, and it makes me look bad, right? Then I lose face, I lose my kind of position in the hierarchy.
[00:30:47] That is what they're seeking to avoid is upsetting someone's role in an organization or making them look bad within that organization. So you communicate differently.
[00:30:58] Eric: We think so often about being able to operate in different countries, as with linguistics being the primary challenge, but translation is one thing, but understanding what's behind the culture and how those people think feels like such a bigger challenge.
[00:31:20] Colton: Yeah, it's crazy. I'll give another example. Just is a fun one. I was looking to find a terrorist and figure out exactly where he was staying. It was in the Pak Afpak border. So I'm interviewing this guy. And tell me about the route to the compound. Tell us, that seems straightforward, right? Okay. We got in a truck, we broke this way, we went through a checkpoint, we turned left, and blah, blah, blah.
[00:31:44] He starts telling me about a dinner party he went to several weeks before, and the details of that dinner party and basically who arrived when, what they ate, what they talked about, all this. And I'm just like, what are you talking about?
[00:31:57] Eric: So do you let him continue in this situation or do you actually ask that?
[00:32:03] Colton: So I did. I said, why are you telling me this and how does this, and his answer was basically, I am telling you because it's how they perceive reality, essentially, where Americans, I just want the route to him. That dinner party was related. To ultimately who went and what route they went to. But it was important for me to have that context, right,
[00:32:29] Eric: that understanding why it's important to them quickly becomes something that's important to you as the interviewer.
[00:32:36] Colton: It's not the words that we get wrong, it's the understanding of what's happening in that dynamic that we get wrong.
[00:32:42] Eric: I'd love to hear a little bit more about what you're doing these days and how you're working with industry to apply what you've learned and the, the techniques that you've developed over the years.
[00:32:55] Colton: I'm still continuing with the US intelligence community and I love that, but as we said to. This is incredibly important that business organizations understand this as well because it allows you to get the understanding you need of what's going on within your company and within your marketplace.
[00:33:12] Working with one organization right now, that to be honest, has basically what it has is a broken culture, but that broken culture is because they're not communicating with each other in the same way. Right? Essentially, they haven't developed rapport with each other. The first thing I'm doing with them is, Basically self-awareness exercises.
[00:33:32] Why do I behave the way that I do? Why do I interact with other people the way that I do? What beliefs and values are driving that? And are they valid in this situation? . So we're assessing that. The answer basically come across as, no, I'm bringing beliefs and values that were from my previous job that aren't relevant here.
[00:33:52] So discard those so I can communicate better. And the leader of the organization, it's funny, so I was just talking about low and high context. He, for whatever reason, is a very high context communicator. He has a lot of ideas in his head that he feels that if he gives 5% of those ideas verbally, everybody else will know what he's talking about, figure it out and push forward.
[00:34:14] They don't, right? They have no idea. So it's broken in that sense, but working with them, understanding the models that I've alluded to here, has completely started to change the way that they communicate within that organization. It's been really fun to watch that change.
[00:34:31] Eric: Absolutely. And when we started this converation,.
[00:34:34] I had in my mind, boy, it's gotta be so much easier to work with business organizations than it was to work with these truly life or death situations, but, As I think about the culture component, when you're interviewing someone, let's say in a counter-terrorism context, culture is something that you absolutely have to be aware of.
[00:35:03] It's also something that's, you don't have to worry about changing it. You're not going to change it. But when you go into a business with. A broken culture, you not only do you have to accomplish your communication goals, but you've actually got to rebuild a culture. Right?
[00:35:21] Colton: Yeah. And there's, I'll say the flying around the world dealing with terrorists and spies, right?
[00:35:26] That was exciting and that was fun, but it was awesome. But in a sense, as you say, it was a lot easier, right? Because there, there are fewer variables you're trying to fix the culture and the. From my perspective, the way that we communicate with one another creates that culture. So changing the way we communicate does start to fix that culture without my having to stick my hands in and fix it.
[00:35:52] Right? Allowing them to fix it by changing how they're interacting.
[00:35:58] Eric: Colton, thank you so much for such a wide ranging and interesting discussion and just for being our guest today. We really appreciate you being here with us.
[00:36:08] Colton: Thank you guys. It was absolutely fantastic to be here and I appreciate it.
[00:36:12] Eric: And a special thanks to you, our audience for tuning into this episode.
[00:36:17] Be sure to tune back in for new episodes that will delve into more of the electronics industry. Also, be sure to follow us on our social media channels and share our podcast with your colleagues and friends. You can also sign up to be on our email list. To receive updates and the opportunity to provide your ideas for future topics, go to SiliconExpert.com/podcast to sign up.
[00:36:40] Until next time, keep the data flowing.
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