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Episode 53: Helping Clients Understand and Respond to the Pandemic—with Michael Allerton

Deb Zahn: I want to welcome you to this week's episode of the Craft of Consulting Podcast. My guest today is actually a longtime friend, Michael Allerton. He used to be the Infectious Disease Practice Leader at The Permanente Medical Group, which is the medical side of Kaiser Permanente in Northern California. I worked with him a long, long time ago and I invited him on because I know that he is an expert in pandemics and pandemic response as well as policy.

What he's going to share with us is actually really helpful if you're a consultant who's working with clients, who are either under responding or trying to figure out the best way to respond. He talks about what we need to understand, what we can expect, and what we don't know yet. Then he gets into some of the details of how you can talk with your clients, particularly if you need to help them figure out what their response is. Then what they should be doing going forward in the face of the complete certainty that there will be other types of emergencies. So wonderful stuff on this with a real expert. So let's get started.

I want to welcome my guest today, Michael Allerton. Michael, welcome to the show.

Michael Allerton: Well, thank you for having me.

Deb Zahn: You and I have known each other a really long time. I was actually trying to remember because you sent me a picture of myself, so I think I was in my late 20s, which was a little while ago. But I thought, "I'm so privileged to know somebody who has an understanding of how pandemics work, as well as ways that you can effectively respond to it from a variety of perspectives." So I was happy to have you on. Tell my listeners about your very impressive background as it relates to what we're all currently dealing with.

Michael Allerton: Well, I'd be glad to. I worked for Kaiser Permanente. I specifically worked for The Permanente Medical Group, which is the physician side of Kaiser Permanente in Northern California. During those years, I worked in responding to emerging diseases and pathogens that were affecting the medical group and our patients. So basically, what that means is, is that over the years, I helped shape the policy and the response to, as we jokingly called it, the disease du jour, and clearly it started with AIDS in the very beginning.

My first job was developing the clinical guidelines and the medical response to HIV and AIDS in the late '80s and early '90s. Then as public health needs progressed, I worked on SARS, anthrax, the post-9-11 anthrax outbreak, the H1N1 outbreak in 2009. Then one of the last things I did before I retired was develop our organizational response to Ebola. Then to sort of round things out, I wrote the travel policy for Zika. So, the joke at my retirement was that I had to retire because I'd gone from AIDS to Zika and there were no alphabets left.

Deb Zahn: That sounds right. One of the reasons I wanted to have you on is, so as consultants, I think consultants need to be in the know so that they can best help themselves and help their clients. Without suggesting that consultants who aren't public health experts or epidemiologists or infectious disease experts, they really need to understand what the right information that they should know and be looking at. There's a ton of misinformation and conflicting information out there right now. You've been very helpful as I've been watching you on social media, helping people tease that out. What are the key things that you think folks need to know right now about what's happening?

Michael Allerton: Well, one of the first things I think that's extremely important, and I used to teach a class in public health and that was actually the title of one of my lectures, and that is Headlines can be Hazardous to your Health. It's very important to understand the rationale and the true information behind a headline. This was before social media, and this was even before Facebook. I was talking about headlines on the cover of Time, or Newsweek, or the Wall Street Journal even would have very misleading headlines.

But when you read the article and actually read what was going on, it may not reflect the headline at all. That's still the same thing with soundbites. I think it's very important to understand and not repeat soundbites. "Well, I heard X or I heard Y," but find out why somebody said X and find out why somebody said Y, and then compare it with reputable sources.

Right now, there's a lot of discussion on what's a reputable source. Well, of course, Centers for Disease Control is a reputable source… sort of. Certainly public health departments locally are reputable sources… kind of. And why am I hedging? Well, that's because it's a dynamic situation. They will say something today that is absolutely true and accurate for today. But as the dynamics of the disease progress, as they find out more and more information about the disease, they have to modify it. That doesn't mean they were wrong a week ago. That just means that they are integrating science and facts, and developing new information as they're finding out more aspects of a new and emerging condition. That's happened with every single emerging disease from early on in the AIDS epidemic to right now with corona that it's a dynamic situation. So, today's fact is going to be tomorrow's myth.

Deb Zahn: That's right. One of the things that I know that consultants need to do with themselves and their clients is to help them understand that it's a dynamic situation. You might be busy making plans for the best available information that you just heard, but you got to stay flexible and nimble because it might change. Because as new things come out, states, localities, the feds are making then different choices and different requirements, and you have to be able to quickly respond to those. If you don't know ahead of time that dynamic is usual, it's typical, it should be expected, then it's going to be easy to get lost and overwhelmed.

Michael Allerton: I think it's really important to recognize that change is difficult, and uncertainty in a time of change is just a double whammy. You can see it when people are saying things like, "Well, when is it going to end? When can I go back to work? When can I?" Even some of the more conservative pundits are saying, "Well, America needs an end date." Well, America's not going to get an end date because we don't know what's going to happen.

We can do scenarios that are our best guess wish list. Then there's also the possibility of worst case scenarios. Those end dates are widely different. I think one of the things that's really critical is you have to have a healthy dose of pragmatism. You just have to recognize that things are not the way you want them, but you have to deal with them the way they are right now.

An example that I would like to give for that is recommendations for healthcare workers around mask utilization. For those of you who know about infectious disease and using masks, you know that the N95 is the gold standard. That a healthcare worker that goes into an environment where there is an airborne or a droplet borne disease, the recommendation is to wear an N95 mask, and to wear it properly and correctly, and to only wear it once, and throw it away, and to take it off in a certain way that you're not going to contaminate yourself and all that. So that's the CDC recommendation for airborne infectious disease on N95 masks. What do you do if you don't have them? The practical aspect is then to recommend the next best thing. Is the next best thing right? No, but the next best thing is all we have.

So there is a pragmatic aspect to what you might be needing to recommend and needing to offer in terms of how to proceed in a particular way. Granted, many consultants aren't going to be consulting on the aspects of the transmission of the disease, but they are going to be consulting on aspects of how to survive during this period of time, whether it be infection or whether it be finances. A heavy dose of pragmatism is absolutely necessary because is this what you would recommend in the best of circumstances? No, absolutely not. Well, then why are you recommending it now? Because it's what has to happen because we have no other option.

Deb Zahn: That's right. I've certainly seen that with some of my clients, and even in my own home because my husband works in a mental health organization, is it's not as simple as saying shut down everything. That there are essential services that need to be provided. Not just within the healthcare space, but in the food service space, transportation, et cetera, that you would advise someone differently if they do offer essential services. Knowing that sometimes there's going to be some gray areas in terms of what's essential. That is why being up on whatever the latest recommendations are is so critical. Because you need to give advice that embraces that pragmatism and basically faces the uncertainty with the best available information you have.

Michael Allerton: Right, exactly, exactly. I don't want to get political, but I think the best advice to staying on top of that is listen to the known experts, not the sudden people who are maybe in a political position, or maybe in a media position, or maybe the person who you've gone to for translating the latest of the news, or whatever news media channel you particularly like to turn on and watch. That's not where you go for this information. You have to go to the experts. As you've probably seen in some of my posts, I continue to plead to let the experts speak and everybody else just shut up.

Deb Zahn: Yes. Well, it's interesting because I've gotten things sent to me from really smart folks that I can tell are completely false. Because if they start with saying, "Oh, this is from a random doc from some random place," that's usually my indication that it's not true. I fact check because I think it's important to know. But there is so much misinformation floating around. When people are frightened and things are uncertain, the timeline's uncertain, what ultimately the magnitude is going to be uncertain. people aren't comfortable with blanks, so they fill them in with something. Typically, what they fill them in with whatever is laying around or what their worst fears are or what their denial is.

Michael Allerton: There's a human need to fill that blank in with things that support your view of the world, which sometimes your view of the world may not exactly match what might be happening at this particular moment in time. I'm getting phone calls, as you can imagine, from all kinds of people who are wanting to know, "Is this true, or could that be true, or this is what happened to me?"

I got a call from a woman just a couple of days ago who said, "A friend of mine told me who you were and what you did, and I just have to ask you something." She says, "My mother is elderly and she sees a doctor every two weeks. I took her in to see her doctor for her regular appointment today. I went into the doctor's office, and there was no hand sanitizer, there were no masks." I asked the doctor, "Should I be bringing my mother in for her next appointment with all this that's going on?" He said, "Oh, absolutely, it's all a hoax." Her mother has an immune deficiency and needs massive kinds of support, including blood transfusions to continue on a daily basis. She said, "Is this just something that's an opinion?"

My advice to her was to turn him into the medical board, to be quite frank, because he is allowing a particular view of the world to put his patients at extreme risk as an oncology physician. Just because somebody has the initials after their name doesn't necessarily mean they're the expert because many people have their own set of denial and responses to the world and that could color it.

Deb Zahn: That's right, and true experts. I have a Masters in Public Health, but that doesn't mean somebody should come to me and say, "Hey Deb, how's this all going to work out?" Now, I'm humble enough to say, "I have no idea." But again, if I'm a consultant who's working with a client, who is seeing things from their own world view, and not necessarily taking the right precautions. This is where I know your policy background is really how do you talk to them in a way that hopefully gets them on track with making the right changes? When they're starting from a place of either denial about what's happening or fear of other things outweighing the safety of the folks that work for them?

Michael Allerton: Right, well, sometimes you just have to approach them with what they value, not what's real, but with what they value. As you know, I've always said, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." Sometimes people have really good intentions and they think, "Well, this is a really good idea. Why don't we just do this?" And you say, "Well, no, that's probably not a good idea because the science shows this or the science shows that." I just feel in my heart that it's really the best thing to do and I really think we should do this.

I can usually go back to, well, what is their value and what are their concerns about? Their concern might be, really, viability of the company you or image. They really want to look like they're doing something important and good for the image. So, I'll use that, I'll use what their value is. I've been successful in those situations by saying, "Well, you could do that, but are you prepared for the headline that's going to say such and such happened at X because they did Y?" It's like, "Oh no, no, no, we don't want the headline. We don't want the headline. Let's not do that." So, it's really knowing what your client's value set is and working within that value set. That's how you get them to do the right thing.

Deb Zahn: Yeah, and I love the idea of highlighting the consequences related to their value set. Again, if their value set is keeping the company afloat—that might not be because they're not altruistic—it could be because they care very much about supporting the people that work for them or their legacy or whatever it is.

But I love the idea of, of saying, "OK, but let's then walk through what the potential consequences of those choices are so that you know that if those consequences happen, then you're comfortable with that." Nobody ever wants to see, "And CEO an unable to be reached for comment," right underneath that headline. So that's great.

Now, we talked about before that there's a continuum and I think it's more than like two sides of a coin. I think it's a continuum. On one side, you have folks that are in denial about what is happening either because they're not getting the right information or they're not seeking information. Then on the other side, you have folks paralyzed with fear. Then everybody's floating somewhere in that continuum. Starting with the denial piece, how is it that you would suggest helping folks get past that so that they understand, "Here's the reality. Here's the magnitude. Here's the uncertainty of things like the timeline." How do you help get people past that denial piece?

Michael Allerton: That's a tough one. It's really a tough one. Because different people are using denial for different reasons. It may be mostly to keep their comfort level and to protect themselves from something that they just can't deal with at the time. So for me, one of the critical pieces of dealing with denial is to actually break reality down into small bites and slowly introduce them so that you're helping people, not challenging that defense mechanism that they have in place. Because that defense mechanism is working for them at the time. You have to be really careful if you chip away the defense mechanism too fast. They can just completely melt down and be totally useless for themselves or ability to continue to function. Again, it's getting back to their values. You have to get back to what they value and break it up into pieces so that they can slowly get to the point of feeling comfortable with the way the reality is. If you just try to dump all of the reality onto them at once, they're just going to put that denial mechanism in place even more vociferously and more rigidly because that's all they've got. So I think it's breaking it up. It has to be in palatable little bites.

Deb Zahn: Yeah, I like that. I had another guest who also mentioned that she's been working with her clients, and they also have to have some hope. Like you can't just be, “And everything's horrible and it's completely uncertain for how long it'll be horrible. And it might be even more so even after this goes away because your supply chains no longer exist…” or, you know, whatever. Human beings can't take all of that in and necessarily then turn around and make good choices. She is also, and I know some other consultants have talked about this with me as well, is trying to help them find opportunity in the crisis. Not predatory opportunity because you know how I feel about that. Same way you do, which is if you see people…

Michael Allerton: God knows we've seen it recently in the last few days.

Deb Zahn: Exactly, like if you see somebody suffering is an opportunity for you, you've got bigger problems. And you shouldn't be in business. But to really look…

Michael Allerton: Certainly not in the healthcare business.

Deb Zahn: Absolutely. If there are ways that you can provide hope or ways that you can say, "Look, disruption can also be a time where you can do things that you've always wanted to do or that are perfectly aligned with your value but just might be different than what you're doing today." Help them figure out what that is. That could be as simple as if your staff and your employees are more comfortable working at home and you see that it's actually working well, then maybe what you start to think about is developing a more flexible workplace as this progresses and as this starts to resolve itself. But to look for those ways that you can say you can actually do things better and use this disruption as an opportunity to do that because then it's not all horrible and bad.

Michael Allerton: Right, exactly. I really liked that idea of opportunity. Where can we look at the opportunities that this might provide us? I like that.

Deb Zahn: That's right because disruption is disruptive. I often like if I have clients who are going through massive disruption, whether it's a merger or acquisition or something big like that, I usually say to them, "By the way, if there were other changes you wanted to make, now is a good time for that actually. Because everybody's already feeling displaced and then you don't have to recreate that later. You can just put something in place that actually is helpful in the long run."

Michael Allerton: Yeah, I've used the analogy of Jello and making a Jello mold and salad, which is odd because I absolutely hate Jello. But think of it as making a Jello salad, and the best time is before it's set. Because you can decide what to throw in and what to keep out. When it's not set yet, that's the best time. Once it's solidified, you're done and it's in place.

Deb Zahn: That's a great analogy. And of course, I just pictured putting marshmallows and maraschino cherries in it, which…

Michael Allerton: And see, I was thinking shredded carrots.

Deb Zahn: Yes, which I never understood. So, but yeah, I think that's a great analogy. Now the other side is folks who are paralyzed by fear. Of course, right now that's compounded fear because it's fear about the virus itself and what that means for themselves, their family, their community. But then on the other side, it's also the fear about their clients and what they're experiencing, and their own business and ability to generate revenue and support themselves and their families. What do you encourage folks, again given, because you've been through multiple pandemics or epidemics now, what do you encourage folks to do with that fear?

Michael Allerton: Well, I think one of the most important things, and it goes back to what I said in the very beginning about headlines being hazardous to your health, I firmly believe that you should not watch whatever news channel is your favorite 24 hours a day, and just keep watching the same story over and over again. I feel very strongly that you need to limit your watching of the popular press and media or reading to just an hour a day. Put on the local news and the national news in the evening. Check the news in the morning to see if there's been any new developments. Then go about your life the way you would normally do it.

We noticed this during 9-11. People would just sit and watch the tape over and over and over again of those towers. They were the ones that just were immobilized and couldn't...They got into this habit of just reliving everything. Each new day, we hear other problems in Italy. We hear problems with New York. We hear problems that are developing now in California. If that's all you're getting, you're never going to be able to overcome your fear.

You need to have certain amounts of normalcy and even, and it's more critical now because nobody may just shelter in place for very long after 9-11 or other natural disasters. This means you have nothing else to do but watch TV. So be very cautious and take care of yourself in the sense that you have a normal work routine. I am assuming most consultants, even if they work at home, don't watch the TV and the news all day long under normal circumstances, and you shouldn't now either. Make sure you get plenty of sleep. Make sure you go for walks six feet apart from everybody else. But that's really, you need to make sure that you're continuing what would be, as best as possible, a normal routine and not dwell on the same facts over and over and over again.

Deb Zahn: It's not doing anything for you. Yes, and I understand that, and as I said on a previous podcast, "Don't turn to your spouse and say, 'Hey, maybe we should watch Contagion.'" If you are that spouse, you should look at them, as my husband looked at me and say, "Are you freaking kidding me?" So, that would be the other tip.

Michael Allerton: You know, I have to confess that I've never seen Outbreak or Contagion.

Deb Zahn: I've seen them both.

Michael Allerton: And the reason why? I lived it.

Deb Zahn: Yeah, you lived that every day. Yeah. It's when I did policy, I never watched West Wing because I do that. I watch biblical plagues and things like that. Now, given again that you know this field extremely well and what to expect in the unexpected, I'll say. So what are the key things that you would want people to know about pandemics generally that is just helpful for them to embrace at this time?

Michael Allerton: Well, certainly they all go away. There's never been a plague or a pandemic that didn't eventually go away. That's one absolutely crucial piece. Now, I can't tell you when, and I can't tell you how bad it's going to be before it does, but it will. Even the Black Death of the Middle Ages and certainly the pandemic of 1918, 1919 eventually went away. So, that is something that I think people need to hold onto is that it will go away and we will get back to a normalcy again. Now what that normalcy will be and how this may have changed society, I can't tell you that either, but it will go away.

One of the things that I really think is absolutely critical though is that when it goes away, we not forget, and we not make the same mistakes that we've made in past pandemics. That is we put everything in place to keep it from happening again. Then if it's been too long, we forget all those lessons and we take all those things that we put into place away.

I think there's four things that I think are absolutely critical to remember and that is outbreaks happen. They will happen again. That's the first one. Two, they do not care about borders, tariffs, geographical boundaries. The 1918 pandemic went around the world twice in two years. There were no airplanes. Well, there were airplanes, but there was no major travel. It just still was able to happen. The third thing that's critical is that each outbreak teaches us something. We learn something valuable and important when we study each outbreak. The fourth, and what I think is the most important thing, is that if it's been too long since the last outbreak, we forget it all.

Deb Zahn: Yeah, agreed. Any type of emergency can actually be helpful. That's the other thing I was talking with a colleague of mine, who helped develop some of the emergency preparedness standards for particular type of health care providers who, because they weren't hospitals, nobody thought they needed to do anything. Unfortunately, 9-11, and blackouts, and storms helped people understand that that's not true. They're important providers in their communities. And my shout out to federally qualified health centers! People turn to them, as they should.

So her point is, is when you're also thinking about emergencies, pandemics should be one of those other types of emergencies and that you should, whether you're a company or an organization, doesn't matter if you're in healthcare or not, because you know emergencies happen, that's expected. You don't know what it's going to look like. You don't know if it's a disease outbreak. You don't know if it's a blackout. You don't know if it's a huge storm, but you know it's going to be something. So prepare for that, and anything you learn now, use that to make your organization, your business, and your people stronger.

Michael Allerton: Exactly. One of the things that I was always really impressed with the company that I worked for 40 years was that they had an entire disaster preparedness division that was not temporary. They worked full time every day, whether there was a disaster or not. They did contingency planning. We did twice a year drills. They created scenarios that were everything from outbreaks, to earthquakes to fires, which in the time that I've retired, all of those things have happened in Northern California, earthquakes, fires, and diseases. Sometimes they found out that their contingency planning wasn't enough, or that there was a piece that they didn't think about ahead of time. Then, hopefully, they integrated it for the next time.

Deb Zahn: That's right. Everybody can do that. Families can do it. We have go-bags with solar items in them. We have everything. But any organization or business so that if there's an emergency that occurs, that that's not when you first think about what you're going to do. You actually have a plan that you activate. Who's in charge, what folks are supposed to do, you know. This is something that another colleague talked about on a video she released is even to suddenly say, "OK, now everybody work at home. There is a whole bunch of operational things that you have to think through to make that work." Recently, someone I was talking to explained, well some of their employees have phones that charge by the minute, and they don't make a ton of money. So suddenly being able to say, "OK, well you can just use your cell phone and that's fine." And there's no plan for that. That makes it tough for the employees.

Michael Allerton: If they have internet services at home, their home internet service is too slow and doesn't have the bandwidth to do video conferencing. That's what my niece, who's a schoolteacher, is discovering with their students and doing this distance learning is that a lot of families have the bare minimum of internet service.

Deb Zahn: Yeah. Well, I live rurally and right now everybody, including everybody who came from New York City is now using it.

Michael Allerton: That's right, so it drains down.

Deb Zahn: Yeah, so I suddenly, I'm on a Zoom call and it suddenly stops. I have to have contingencies in place for that. Those are things that business and organizations can use this experience to say, not just at the end of it, "Whew. Well, goodness, we got through that." But to say, "OK, but we know emergencies happen. How are we going to do this so next time it's easier for us? Next time our employees or our staff are going to be in better shape. We're going to be in better shape. We're financially going to be in better shape." How do you do that and use this experience to plan for that?

Michael Allerton: Right, exactly. To go back a little bit to the role of the consultant and working with a company, I think one of the most important things people could do now is to show the value of having something in place that doesn't look like you need them. The idea that, "Well, I don't want to pay for people who aren't working. If we don't have a disaster, why is a disaster team on the books?" Well, it doesn't quite work that way once the disaster hits.

Deb Zahn: That's right. That's when you'll know you should have done that. Well, or even just, I've seen some places leave it as it's someone's responsibility, but it's quote unquote “other duties as required.” As opposed to you've actually baked it into someone's job description, and as a normal part of what they do each and every day, or each and every week, or each and every month is to work on that. That's a very different thing than saying, "Yeah, I think Bob's suppose to lead us out of the building. Wait, where is Bob?"

Michael Allerton: Yeah, exactly, exactly, exactly. When it comes to earthquakes, fires, and emerging diseases, one of the things that I do think is going to be happening is that there are going to be more emerging diseases and they're going to come closer together. That are kind of like these 100 year storms and hurricanes that seem to happen every other year now. I think that there's also an aspect of the global conditions right now that we are going to see more diseases and we're going to see more virulent infections. There's a great book, should anybody want to read it, that I used to use as a textbook and it's called “The Coming Plague.”

Deb Zahn: It destroyed my life when I read it years ago. I keep telling people about it.

Michael Allerton: Yeah. Well, the full title is “Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance.” It's actually an old book. I think it was written in the early '90s. It is absolutely magnified in terms of the world out of balance right now. The author was Laurie Garrett, who I've actually seen on some of the news programs cause they're bringing her in to consult and provide information to some of the broadcasts these days. It's an excellent book and it certainly is one way of learning Public Health 101.

Deb Zahn: Yes, yeah, I would agree. It had a big impact on me because it essentially said what you're saying, which is these things are going to happen and they're going to be significant particularly in a global world, and that's real. So, if we know that's real, then we plan for that, which is helpful.

I do have to say one positive note is that I did get an apology from my mom, who would make fun of my husband, and, mainly, she was making fun of me because I am just a little bit of a prepper. When we were in one of the storms when we lived in New Jersey, we didn't have water for a week, and we weren't prepared for it.

I helped another organization as a consultant do their communication related to Super Storm Sandy. I started saying, "OK, we have to have water. We have to have food. We have to have these things. We have to have go -bags." We have all of those things. I even have go -bags for my cats because that's how I roll. She continually made fun of me. She finally said the other day, "So when you said zombie apocalypse, is this what you meant?" I said, "This is what I meant. Zombies are optional, but, yeah, this is what I meant." And she said, "OK, you were right. I'm glad you know how to grow food."

Michael Allerton: Well, and I told my niece, I said, "When the zombie apocalypse hit, I thought there'd be more zombies and less apocalypse."

Deb Zahn: Yes, yes, and that felt a little more manageable. And so, people, we have to our gallows humor, but you have to have some levity. So let me ask you this last question, which I ask everyone...probably an easier question for you to answer since you are now how do you bring balance to your life, particularly in times like this?

Michael Allerton: I'm a little of a kind of an odd bird in the sense that I have some really fun hobbies, and I've always been able to just delve into those. I'm a model train fanatic. I also worked my way through college as an illustrator, and was offered a job by Walt Disney Studios to be an animator. So I actually have an animation desk in my den. There is nothing more boring and routine and tedious than drawing a picture, and then a little bit different, the same picture, then drawing another one, a little different, the same picture. I can get totally lost in that. So for me to have an activity, and for others it might be reading mystery novels, it might be watching the Turner Classic Movie Channel and old movies. But you've got to have something that is completely separated, completely away from all of the stuff that you do.

You may be one of those people who is just totally identified by your job. I was. I worked 60 hours a week before I retired. I loved my job and I was defined by my job. But even then, I still had to have something that I could totally escape into. I couldn't work 60 hours a week, and come home and not go crazy if I didn't have just some way of turning it off, and going into some oblivious activity that just was incredibly enjoyable and enjoyable to me, and it just shut everything else out. Now again, I said I might be a little bit of a weird bird because not everybody can identify with that, but at least that's what worked for me, and I can only tell you what works for me.

Deb Zahn: That's great. No, I think that's extremely helpful and I do think that finding something that isn't related to this that you can still do while still practicing the precautions. Make sure you have joy in your life every day that is not related to this. I love that. Well, Michael, thank you so much. I appreciate everything that you're doing on social media to try and help bring light where there is darkness and confusion. So, I appreciate you coming on this podcast. Thank you so much.

Michael Allerton: Oh, it's my pleasure. Thank you. Thank you so much for allowing me to come on.

Deb Zahn: Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the Craft of Consulting Podcast. I want to ask you to do three things. If you enjoyed this episode or any of my other podcasts, hit subscribe. I've got a lot of other great guests and content coming up, and I don't want you to miss anything. The other two things I'm asking you to do—one is, if you have any comments, suggestions, or other feedback that will help make this podcast more helpful to more listeners, please include those in the comments section. And then the last thing is, if you've gotten something out of this, please share it. Share it with somebody you know who's a consultant or thinking about being a consultant, and make sure they also have access to all this great content and the other great content that's coming. As always, you can get more wonderful information and tools at Thanks so much. I will talk to you on the next episode. Bye-bye.

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