Why did you decide to launch Sixense now?
The idea of Sixense has been evolving over time, but it has really come to fruition the last 12 months. As I evaluate companies for investing, work with my clients, and network with my peers, the idea of empathy and using empathy as a way to gauge the health of a business came to me unbidden many times over. It was a siren call I couldn’t ignore.
How did the idea for the Sixense Empathy Model™ come to you?
Sixense is borne of a lot of research and observing over the last 12 months as well as my own experience of running my own business.
I’ve noticed a few things:
There is a lot of broadcasting going on these days but not a lot of being heard. I use “being heard” as opposed to listening because we are not absorbing the messages being delivered to us. Many times, we are more worried about delivering our points at the expense of learning something new, interesting and oftentimes, subtle. Sixense provides strategy consulting using the Sixense Empathy Model as our core lens or filter. Our approach is to come from a place of understanding. I want to get to know you as a person and as a business person. Then, I want to get to know your business. That helps to inform the work we do together.
I have said to my clients, audiences at my speaking engagements, and my students that we make decisions based on emotional factors and then rationalize them later with tangibles or features and benefits. The emotional drivers of why we make decisions and the decisions we make absolutely help to drive business strategy—whether it be for internal or customer-facing activities. Empathy is a key component of identifying and understanding these emotional drivers.
What is the meaning behind the name Sixense?
A branding advisor and friend, Linda, came up with this idea, actually. It’s a great name. It’s obviously a contrived word made from sixth sense and is a nod to the fact that I’m a creative, intuitive thinker.
Much of your work is focused on offering an objective, outside perspective. How have advisors and mentors shaped your path?
During the course of my career, I’ve had mentors, advisors, and accountability partners who have helped me enormously. In the last year, I’ve also worked with an executive coach. These trusted relationships celebrate your victories, help you navigate the seeming un-navigable, and also give you the constructive feedback to help you move forward. I have a passion for mentorship, generally, and have also acted as formal and informal mentors to many people. It is something I find tremendously rewarding.
Why is an outside advisor or mentor so valuable?
An outside advisor and mentor can be valuable because of the person’s breadth of experience – not only in terms of the work they’ve done but also the relationships they’ve built with other people plus what they’ve learned along the way. Anyone can accumulate information. Being able to apply information is knowledge. And an outside advisor and mentor can help provide knowledge and guidance. Furthermore, someone who is one step away from a situation tends to have a more objective view. This person doesn’t have the same level of emotional attachment and bias.
I recently read an article in the Harvard Business Review that’s worth digging into if you are interested in learning more about leveraging outside expertise and what they call “agile talent.”
In the spirit of bringing in outside resources, I’ll close with a thought from that article. “But it’s not only their career stage that makes agile talent potentially excellent mentors. For example, successful agile talent is, almost by definition, entrepreneurial. They are actively involved in building their business, developing their strategies, growing and maintaining strong customer relationships, and creating a service offering that’s attractive to their market. This type of entrepreneurial mindset is extremely helpful and is very often lacking among full-time employees who don’t have significant market or competitive contact.”
I’d love to hear how Sixense can serve as your agile talent. I offer a free 30-minute consultation to see how you can benefit from our strategy, coaching, and startup advisory services. Let’s talk more. 312.208.7329