The cavnessHR Podcast - a talk with Paige Whitmire
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Social Media links for Paige Whitmire and free resources below!!
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Receive 20% off one of an individual coaching package or 20% a discount off of a corporate coaching offering for organizations.
Jason: Hello and welcome to the cavnessHR podcast. I’m your host, Jason Cavness, and our guest today is Paige Whitmire.
Paige, are you ready to be great today?
Jason: Paige Whitmire has 20 years of experience successfully leading teams in change management, operations and strategy to support a rapidly evolving healthcare industry. She is well known for her extensive experience in operational design, development and implementation, strategic planning, innovative collaborative partnerships and business model design with large nationwide systems across the country including The Cleveland Clinic, OhioHealth, Temple University Health System, Sanitary Healthcare, University of California Healthcare System and others. Paige has been a featured speaker at national conferences discussing the founding principles for success and change partnerships and released her first book: Success in the Face of Change on the topic of leadership and change management in May 2017.
Jason: Paige founded Cognitive Change in January 2015 to focus her attention on a genuine passion for developing, inspiring and empowering others. Working with both individuals and organizational teams, her programs concentrate on core principles of leadership and change to shift behaviors from within, resulting in limitless potential.
Jason: Paige is known by her clients as being a team member, a leader, a mentor, and a true asset. Paige's gift for coaching allows her to build confidence, inspire leadership and motivate positive action, proving time and again to be an integral part of advancing organizational objectives and demonstrating exceptional ability to guide executives through strategic planning exercises, culminating in new directions for various business ventures. Paige’s clients all agree that she’s an excellent coach.
Jason: Paige received her BA in Psychology from Texas State University and MBA from the University of Texas at Dallas with a concentrated coursework in the areas of Organizational Behavior and Strategic Management. She also holds certifications in the growing field of Change Management; pairing the practices of leadership, change and coaching to maximize successful outcomes.
Jason: Paige lives in Southlake, Texas with her husband and two children. She’s a big believer in maintaining balance in her life and deeply believes in health and fitness; she’s an avid runner and a world champion second-degree black belt in martial arts.
Jason: Paige, thank you for coming today. We really appreciate it.
Paige: Thank you for having me on your podcast today!
Jason: Can you cover some of what you have going on right now?
Paige: Absolutely! One of the things that I’d like to share with your listeners today is a little bit about my recently-published book: Success in the Face of Change. This is something that’s taking up a lot of the time right now where I’m doing a lot of marketing and some book signings around the DFW area. Writing a book has always been a bucket list item for me, but I decided to write this particular book for two main reasons.
Paige: First of all, following 20 years in the corporate environment (mostly in the consulting roles), I found that what was really important in working with the C-Suite level executives all the way down to the frontline employees and the individual contributors is to assess people’s readiness and their ability to change — to accept change and to understand change.
Paige: In the time that I was in the consulting roles, we could really start to determine if what we wanted to implement in the innovative things that we wanted to do with some of our clients were going to be successful based on their culture and readiness for change. One of the things behind the book is to help drive the understanding that if you don’t have the readiness for change.
Paige: It’s not only challenging to get people on board with this new mission or vision that you want to have for that transformation. But also going to be very difficult to achieve the anticipated gains from that project. Whether that be the return on investment, adoption of new technology, or breakeven point that the organization is trying to do. This is also related to the second reason why I wrote this book.
Paige: When I left the corporate environment and decided to launch Cognitive Changes of Business. I thought a lot about the areas that I wanted to work in, where did I feel really passionate and where did I feel like I have that ability to make a lasting impact with different people and organizations. I decided to write the book as a platform to clarify the key areas of focus in consulting and coaching.
Paige: The work that I want to do and the type of engagements and organizations that I want to work with. I’m driving to help improve both individuals and team performance through change management, leadership development and empowerment coaching. All of these come through in the book. But a big piece of this is cultivating individuals and their ability to build trust, listen and effectively communicate.
Jason: How often does it happen to you when an organization wanted to make good change management. But those are the people who actually are the biggest obstacles for the change?
Paige: That has happened in the past. I’m not going to tell any stories out of school. One of the things that I will share though is when I was in the consulting environment working in change management. I really got adapted talking to the C-Suite or the board of the organizations to say,
Paige: This is a great opportunity for what we want to do. But your organization and your employees are not there yet and they’re not seeing the potential (yet). So first, let’s talk about some remediation strategies that you could have. It does happen and organizations can really get caught up in that because there’s a lot of merger and acquisition activity that happens today.
Paige: A lot of people are trying to outpace their competition in being transformational. Which you can do through change, but you have to make sure that your organization is on board. Yousee it all the time where organizations don’t have that and they’re failing to meet their profitability, sales numbers and the things they’re trying to accomplish.
Paige: The key piece of that is to start transitioning and say, “This is a great thing and we could sell this idea all day long to you, but if your organization isn’t ready, let’s take a step back and talk about how to get you ready for this change and then we’ll talk about that innovative transformation down the road a little bit.”
Jason: Do you deal with all types of organizations or do you focus on a certain type of organization?
Paige: That’s a great question. It’s across the board. Most of the work that I’ve done in the change management space has been in the healthcare industry working with not-for-profit hospitals of all different sizes and also with some of the suppliers in the supply chain space. Since leaving the corporate environment.
Paige: I’ve expanded out of that and worked with a lot of entrepreneurs and very small businesses on how to start their organizations, how to launch their businesses and how to get online — all of which are a transformational change for a lot of people. I’m also talking with a couple of different mid to large size organizations that are out of the healthcare industry space on how to bring in change and coaching into their organizations to have the agility in their employees.
Jason: Do you find that you have to use a different approach depending on the size or type of the company that you’re dealing with?
Paige: I don’t. One of the things about my style is that I’m a “tell it like it is” type of personality. I’m not into sugar-coating nor telling everybody what they want to hear. Whether it’s a large organization, a small organization, or a single-business unit, the message and the key elements are the same.
Paige: You have to have that ability to build trust with people, to actively listen (listen to understand not to respond) and to effectively communicate in order to get people on board with what you’re trying to sell as your vision. [My approach] doesn’t change with the size of the organization.
Jason: What’s your area of focus? Are you mainly based in Dallas or do you go anywhere in Texas and across the United States?
Paige: I actually market my services across the country and have worked from the West Coast to the East Coast.
Jason: Let’s move on to your successes. Can you talk to us about your successes in the past, what you’ve learned from these and what we can learn from these?
Paige: Okay, that is a fantastic question. I’d love to share one of my favorite projects from some of my recent engagements over the last couple of years and that is working with two existing business units that were being combined into one. Historically, these two business units had worked together in a matrix fashion; however, they were highly competitive. They had different values, very different cultural style and different mission statements between the two business units.
Paige: Because of this, they had a dissimilar alignment in their objectives and goals and were not led to identifying who’s the end customer. So, moving these two business units under one organizational chart was causing a little bit of a rift. The role that I played as a coach and a consultant here was to bring together a work group that consisted of the different levels of employees — frontlines, administrative, and leadership from both of the two different business units.
Paige: The task was to determine the best way for the group to overcome the challenges that they had faced as two separate competitive business units and how they were going to work together moving forward. The product of this work is the ‘leadership compact’. Which is what you put together and what the output from the team is.
Paige: What it’s intended to do is, number one, reduce the uncertainty that’s faced by all the members in the team and for them to get the information out on the table. Talk through it and not have anything go behind the curtains. Number two, to help the team develop its new identity to articulate the protocols and the expectations across the team in a consistent manner so that they can be productive moving forward and to get out of the drama that they had in the past.
Jason: Has there ever been a time in the past when you’ve disqualified a customer and told them that they’re not a good fit for your services?
Paige: Absolutely. I faced that in the corporate environment and with individual coaching clients as well. The end goal is to help the client, whether in the consulting world with an organization, business unit team, or an individual. But if there’s not a good connection or a good fit with the style of coaching and the amount of pushing, then it’s more important for me for that organization or individual client to seek who’s going to be the right fit for them to be successful.
Jason: Now, talk about a time that you failed in the past, what you’ve learned from this and what can we learn from this.
Paige: There have been some throughout the years and I truly believe that we learn from our past mistakes — and it’s a huge way to learn. I’ve done a project a few years ago when I first started doing change management for organizations. Where I found some key objectives that have become part of my “playbook” as I move forward.
Paige: The role for me here was to lead a new technology discovery process on the frontend of implementing a new technology platform. Because of the budget constraint, we decided that we wouldn’t fly out there and join an existing meeting by phone instead. The first learning point there was to never underestimate the amount of engagement that you need for people to accept change and be ready for change.
Paige: Always shoot for the highest level and then come down from there if you must, but in order to get the win. You need to make sure that you’re interfacing with the client and reading their nonverbal cues and behaviors to understand if they’re buying into the change. Again, it was a discovery process for a new technology and there was an IT platform that was being built — great report and great information to make better decisions. It was faster and the cycle time is shorter. Everybody’s going to love it, it’s going to be great and all of these things are fantastic! What was missed on the target though is what’s in it for for the clients.
Paige: They were not necessarily focused on that technology bucket with the overall organization. Their collaborative partnership had some other things on their target list that they were focused on. The second key message is that, from your perspective, you can find value statement in what you’re trying to do all day long. But if they’re not in line with what the customer, the client is looking for, then you’re going to miss the mark on moving from a ‘push to a pull scenario’.
Paige: Which is the difference between pushing a client to do something and then moving and transitioning over to that pull scenario. Where they’re sitting at the edge of their seat, excited about their new technology and wanting to rapidly adopt that — and that’s what we failed to do. Though the failure to engage them at the level that was necessary was a huge piece. What would’ve really changed the scenario and the outcome was to understand what’s in it for the client, what was high on their list of priorities and what’s meeting that need.
Jason: On average, how long does it usually take for you to figure out whether a company is ready for change or going to fight you on that change?
Paige: Depending on the level of exposure that you get to the organization, it can be a pretty quick process. I’ve been part of developing some assessment tools to find out the cultural readiness earlier with an organization. where you’re going to talk to the different levels of the organization, write them and say, “This business unit is ready, but this business unit is a key component and they’re not ready.” The fastest cycle time I’ve done providing assessment, doing some online interviews and in-person discussions was a two-day process and turned that around in about a week.
Paige: In other scenarios, if you have exposure to the employees, you can understand what their readiness and desire for change is and what their blocks are just by asking questions. If you can pull everybody together (or the key players in some of those mid to smaller size organizations), then you can find that out from one discussion and say, “This is great, everybody’s on board,” or “They’re not on board. Let’s get you the plan to get them there first.” You really need to look at somebody’s key players that are going to be a part of that change and implement it to make it positive and successful for what you want to do.
Jason: Has it ever happened before when you do your surveys and you said, “Your company’s not ready for change right now,” and they said, “No, you’re wrong. We and our employees are ready for change”?
Paige: Yes, one of the things around the foundation of change management practice is that it’s really got to be a top-down and a bottom-up approach because that’s the first thing. You have your board and the C-Suite saying, “This is such a great thing. We want to implement this in our organization and it’s going to be fantastic.”
Paige: But if there’s the disconnect between those frontline employees, then it goes back to that scenario and it’s not going to be successful and the organization’s not going to achieve the desired results that they wanted to accomplish. Whether that’s a return on investment, to reduce the cycle time from a technology piece or anything like that. It doesn’t happen all the time but one of the most important messages is that it has to be top-down and bottom-up at the same time and cannot be one or the other.
Jason: Can you expand how you add value and solve problems for people?
Paige: I work in a lot of different environments today — in the consulting environments and also individual coaching for folks who are doing leadership development as part of some pilot programs in a couple of different organizations. One of the most significant ways that I add value in my current engagements is through that empowering coaching mentality.
Paige: One of the things that really differentiates my style is I intertwine the coaching and the consulting and providing structure and methodology to help my clients get the tangible results. If they’re at Point A and wanted to get to Point B. But there’s a problem or block in between them.
Paige: Then I help them to become self-aware of what’s blocking the path, build a plan around what’s going to be successful and if there are things that they’re going to take into consideration. Then take those into consideration, you can’t slide some things under the rug. The style of intertwining the coaching to the consulting is the differentiator for me and how I work in my different engagements.
Jason: You help out a lot of people in your position; now, let’s talk about some of those who have helped you in the past and how they have helped you.
Paige: There are many people that have helped me along my journey and I truly believe in living in a place of abundance. The most recent individual that comes to mind is a high-spirited woman that I know through my community and her name is Mary lee Alford. When you’re starting a new job or building a company, it’s critical to seek out a ‘connector’ — Mary lee is somebody who is a connector. These people are important because they see something in you that they absolutely admire. They believe in what you want to accomplish and they want to help you be successful.
Paige: These folks are out there and finding one of them is a real diamond in the rough. I had the fortunate opportunity to connect with somebody like this when I was just coming out of the corporate. Mary lee has connected me with a lot of different people and entrepreneurs that had led to some great collaborative opportunities, got me plugged into the leadership development within the community here in Southlake where I live and found some great opportunities within the chambers. A connector like Mary lee is what comes to my mind immediately of the most recent person that’s had an impact on my life and my business.
Jason: She sounds like a great person to know. Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
Paige: I’m going to tag on to something that you said in the beginning. One of the things I profess is that it’s important for me to be well-rounded. I’m an avid runner and a second-degree black belt in martial arts. But the thing that people don’t typically know about that is I didn’t start my martial arts training until I was 36 years old.
Jason: Oh wow, that’s pretty good!
Paige: Everybody assumes that I’ve been doing this since I was a kid and that it was really great that I’ve kept it up — but I’m really quite the opposite. I was in a situation with my daughter when they’re trying to engage the parents in the class and she said, “Mom, have you thought about doing this, this would be really important and impressive to me,” I thought, “Sure, why not! This is something to give a try,” and it turned out that the last 6 1/2 years have been fantastic. It’s a great way to spend time with my family and a huge step out of my comfort zone.
Paige: I have no problem speaking at conferences, being a subject matter expert in areas of supply chain and change management. But a huge different dynamic for me was to step in front of a group of people and perform in a different way. It made me nervous and gave me anxiety. When I started, I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it. But it became something that I really love and I’m passionate about.
Paige: For your listeners, a great takeaway from this is that it’s not only good for you to step out of your comfort zones but also critical to continue to learn and challenge yourself to grow by experiencing new and different things because it just gives you these great positive feelings and builds your confidence to make you a more well-rounded person.
Jason: I have to ask. When you started, were you the only adult with a bunch of other kids in the class or are there other adults with you?
Paige: There was a mix, there were a few other parents that were able to engage. But a lot of the instructors were much younger than me. A huge thing in martial arts is ‘respect for your instructor’, so again, it’s another perspective. It’s something that makes you more of a well-rounded person and increases your confidence. It also develops the leadership and confidence of those who are younger and the opportunity that they’re sharing with adults.
Jason: That’s a very good point. So, Paige, I understand that you have something for our listeners today.
Paige: Absolutely! For your listeners today who have supported the podcast — and I hope that they’re gaining a lot from it — I would love to offer through cognitive change a 20% discount on any individual coaching. I have a couple of different coaching packages that I do online virtually for people that live outside of the state of Texas, people in the metroplex who can meet me in person and also for any organizations that are looking to bring in trials for individual coaching for their high-performing employees or for their executives.
Jason: Thank you, Paige, that’s a great value for our listeners. Can you share some of your social media platforms so our listeners can reach out to you?
Paige: Sure! You can find me on LinkedIn by searching ‘Paige Whitmire Cognitive Change’, Leadership Coaching by Cognitive Change on Facebook or just search ‘cognitive change’ and my web address is www.cognitive-change.com. I’m also on a couple of different coaching directories; I’m part of Live Lead Play, which is through the iPEC coaching community and I’m also a part of the Noomii coaching directory, which has been a great place for a couple of different organizations who are seeking out coaches who have found me.
Jason: For our listeners, we’ll provide all the links on our show notes.
Paige, since we’re coming at the end of our talk, can you provide any last words of wisdom or advice for us?
Paige: I hope that your listeners were able to gain some gems out of our conversation today about change and the readiness for change, the importance of building trust, actively listening to people by listening to understand and not listening to respond and thinking about your messaging when you’re communicating to others. If any of your listeners are dealing with some type of transformational change or are struggling with that and want to grasp it better, take a look at my book: Success in the Face of Change. You can get a sample on every major platform and it’s available in the Barnes & Noble’s stores and on Amazon.
Jason: You bring up a good point about how people listen — most people listen to answer and to respond, most of us don’t listen to understand. That’s where I see a lot of communication problems come into play, unfortunately.
Paige: That is absolutely true. The majority of us are listening to respond and are not listening to understand. You can really take a step back to, number one, figure out how you can help others by listening to understand; number two, it helps a lot of times if you listen to understand and really take a step back from what may be your perspective of the situation and see some different alternatives because a lot of people can just jump into conclusion when they hear something.
Paige: Like when somebody makes a comment or a mark that rubs them the wrong way, if they’re not really listening to understand what might be going on with the person who’s speaking, then they may just jump into conclusion and say, “They just threw me under the bus,” or “They said something that felt like a jibe with me,” but that could not be the case at all. When you’re listening to understand, it gives you the ability to step back and be aware, think about what might be going on in the situation and the things that might be impacting that person to cause them to say that. This is a huge shift in the field of coaching, even in the consulting environment in organizations because so many people are just jumping to that first conclusion and it’s not usually the right one.
Jason: That’s so true. Paige, thank you for your time today, I really appreciate it. You gave us a lot of value and gems.
Paige: Absolutely, thank you so much for having me on your podcast!
Social Media links for Paige Whitmire and free resources below!!
Free resources below!!
Receive 20% off one of an individual coaching package or 20% a discount off of a corporate coaching offering for organizations.