As the world reignites the premises of design thinking as a mechanism to dig deeper into innovation, you will hear more and more about empathy. Recently, I listened to a talk on the necessity of empathy in the service world. The point of the conversation was to encourage walking in someone else’s shoes, as though you were them…not you. That last part is critical. We often imagine what we would do should we be faced with the circumstances of someone else. This isn’t empathy, it’s judgment. We can judge people’s behaviors based on what we would do in a similar situation all day long.

Now, think about a new idea or new initiative. The one that has been well thought out in committee and now needs to gather support to roll out. These are things we tend to socialize…talk about with the constituency most impacted in a way that is focused on convincing of the implementation, gaining support by way of diffusing resistance. How much further can you advance the initiative, and the relationship, by starting with some concern about the viewpoint of those impacted?