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In this workshop we'll explore how leaders better help people around them manage change by speaking to the emotional rollercoaster that comes with any change effort. We'll look at what a typical change process looks like and what behaviors leaders need to be ready to display at each phase.

Topics explored include:

  • The nuanced but important distinction between empathy and sympathy
  • Transparency guidelines during change to alleviate anxiety
  • Responding to natural skepticism that occurs with any promise of a "better" process/system/culture


Lastly, we'll discuss the importance of helping people see progress and for leaders to shield them from other organizational "noise" as they move the change effort forward.

Why you should Attend

Gallup organizations data shows that up to 70% of most change efforts fail to produce the desired outcomes. Part of this is our tendency to overpromise what any specific change/transformation effort will produce. The other reason is leadership's failure to understand that people's challenges around "change" are more emotional, than rational, yet we keep taking a primarily analytical approach to our change efforts.

This workshop will show how the role of empathy (not sympathy) is the most important skill and choice to be made when helping others cope with change.

Areas Covered in the Session

  • The change curve phases
  • Responding to emotions as well as facts when listening
  • Conversations that invite skepticism to be discussed in the open
  • How demonstrating empathy can make leaders feel vulnerable

Who Will Benefit

  • All Leadership Levels

Speaker Profile

Rich McLaughlin Rich has been an observer and practitioner of innovation and employee engagement processes for over 20 years. He has over 13,000 hours designing and facilitating leadership and interpersonal skills workshops, and innovation explorations with teams to help them jump start their change and innovation efforts.

He has helped teams as small as 8 and departments as large as 100 learn how to blend external developments (to understand where customer needs are moving) with internal employee engagement processes (to show how to stimulate internal experiments and capitalize on those opportunities). Rich also enjoys helping leaders grow by focusing more on people skills and less on technical ones. He brings an experiential approach in his work with client teams. His client’s value the engaging way he works with their people whether facilitating a leadership workshop, working with a specific team, or challenging employees to be more accountable for the whole.

Rich spent time learning about instructional design and change management at Accenture, helped Square D Company develop and implement their TQM programs and processes and developed the leadership curriculum and internal consulting practice at Baxter Healthcare during his time as an internal OD practitioner. The last 8 years of his practice he has been following the intersection of Innovation and Design Thinking.

Rich received his M.A. in Training and Development for Business from Ohio State University, and has been consulting faculty for the University of Notre Dame’s College of Business since 2000. He is author of, Rules of Engagement: A Story About How Leaders Can More Effectively Engage Employees. And he co-authored Tapping Team Intelligence: Exercises that connect team members, engage their creativity and foster collaboration.