Why Empathy and Change Management Go Hand in Hand

Are you focused more on change-management processes than you are on your team members?

Summary
Transcript

Chris McGill, six sigma master black belt at Cigna, shares why leaders should get personal with their team members when changes arise. He says it’s easy for leaders to get lost in the different methods that surround change management, but focus should remain on the individuals for whom the changes are affecting.

“Change management can't be producing a 30-page document of your plans of what you're going to do and let it be just that,” explains Chris. “It's got to be human-centered. It's got to be based on really understanding where someone else is coming from.”

Watch the video to learn from Chris why being an empathetic leader is crucial to effective change management.

Change management is a topic that, honestly, you can get lost in the acronyms. You can get lost in the different methods that are used around change management. And what I've come to believe in my own life, my own organization, is that it's got to be more personal. Change management can't be producing a 30-page document of your plans of what you're going to do and let it be just that. It's got to be human-centered. It's got to be based on really understanding where someone else is coming from. The empathy part of our job of where are they coming from, what are their challenges, why are they acting the way they act, how are they going to react to this new change? And just being able to be a person that listens, and reacts, and just goes from a place of understanding as opposed to, "Well, we've got to process you in this way."

And so if I feel like I'm being processed, if it feels like I'm going through a mechanical stage of even change management. I've got to go from this state to this state, and I've got to go through this tool. If it feels like that, then you're probably going to miss it. To the end user, it shouldn't feel like you're being processed. It should feel organic. It should feel natural. But in the background, we all know there's process. And the process is running effectively because it's allowing that to happen in a natural, organic way.

And that's when you know you've done a really good job is that you have a process. It's not chaos; there's intentionality, but it doesn't feel like that to the end user. If you're fundamentally changing someone's job, if you're replacing a new system in their world, a new business operating system and they've been the expert for 30 years and you're fundamentally changing that, having an appreciation for them not being the expert anymore, that they're on the same playing field as everyone else, just even knowing that, and recognizing how do we get them from point A to point B in a smooth fashion, I think is what it's about. And again, even the mind piece of it, allowing them to understand, or, "Here's why we're doing this. Here's the reasoning behind it. Here's the logic." And so appealing to the heart and mind is definitely key.
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Chris McGill

Chris is a passionate teacher of all things process improvement related. He is able to communicate in a fun and engaging manner to inspire people to make their world better. He has worked with people in state government, universities, s...

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