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For Cigna, consumer-centric starts with leadership development

Insurer's execs learned communication skills from improv school

Given that the health insurance industry is shifting toward a more consumer-centric mindset, Cigna chose to take a unique approach to leadership development, reports Clomedia.

In 2013, the insurer recognized the need for its leaders to connect with employees and external stakeholders. The reason: These executives call the shots when it comes to promoting change and progress in the company, Karen Kocher, Cigna's chief learning officer, tells Clomedia.

Such an initiative requires a certain level of creativity. "It's not the kind of thing you can practice in a formal setting," Kocher says. "It's about learning to be more creative in conversations, to be able to improv based on the setting and needs of your audience."

Cigna executives visited an improv school to enhance their leadership and communication skills. For example, one exercise had participants shout out business-focused suggestions to a team on a stage that created skits based on the different scenarios. These scenarios were then turned into learning programs to train new leaders and to teach them how to work in teams.

In 2014, Kocher helped incorporate the lessons learned from the improv school into Cigna's broader leadership development content, notes the article. In 2015, the school was invited to attend the insurer's annual customer summit, which focused on shifting trends in the marketplace, and the importance of leadership to enable a more consumer-oriented vision.

"It all boils down to being open to doing something different in order to get better outcomes," Kocher adds. "Our executives have absolutely noticed a difference in the way they are communicating, and that was the goal."

For more:
- here's the Clomedia article

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