Seung Chan Lim (Slim) believes leaders who have empathic relationships with themselves, their family members, their team, and their customers not only have lives that are more healthy & meaningful, but also more creative & effective.
- “Being present to a vulnerable expression of honesty is a privilege. It surprises us, challenges us, and reminds us of what it means to be human. It is what gives us the courage to vulnerably express our own honesty.
- “Many of us are trained to perceive all conflicts as problems to be solved. Most conflicts are not problems, but paradoxes.
- “Paradoxes cannot be solved. They can only be resolved by learning a new perspective, where the conflict no longer is.
- “To empathize is to feel connected or at one with what we could have otherwise objectified or felt separated from.
- “To realize empathy we must notice ourselves objectify or separate, then choose another way of being. Difficult under stress!
- “Demanding diversity and inclusion is easy. What’s difficult is navigating conflicts that arise amidst diversity and inclusion.
- “It isn’t mere diversity and inclusion we need. It’s unity amidst diversity and inclusion. Unity is impossible without empathy.
- “Without the ability to realize empathy amidst conflict, diversity and inclusion can merely fuel fragmentation and resentment.
- “Empathizing may accompany feelings of resonance or coherence, but those are not objective measures of understanding.
- “Verification alone can determine the accuracy and precision of our understanding. Yet, no method can verify perfect understanding.
- “We can empathize and still misunderstand. That’s not necessarily bad. Some things are better left misunderstood.
Slim was heard saying...
Seung Chan was born in Seoul, (South) Korea. Since the age of 6, he has moved from one culture to another every 5 years or so. With a history of living in Seoul, Korea, Cairo, Egypt and Beijing, China, he moved to the U.S.A in 1995 to study Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. As a former student of Dr. Randy Pausch, he feels forever indebted to the transformational impact of Dr. Pausch’s empathy.
Slim has spent 18 years exploring the role of design & empathy in innovation. He has spoken at Harvard Business School, Cornell Johnson School of Management, McGill’s Desautels Faculty of Management, Rotman School of Management, SAP TechEd, FUSE, and TEDx. He has also authored an award winning book titled Realizing Empathy: An Inquiry into the Meaning of Making. His past clients include American Eagle, Eaton, General Electric, Merill Lynch, Siemens, and Whirlpool. Innovation efforts he’s partaken have won numerous awards such as the CES innovation award.
Slim’s primary influences include Dr. Peter Lucas, Thomas Ockerse, Dr. Paul Pangaro, and David Gersten.
Slim’s journey started at MAYA Design helping fortune 500 companies innovate. From this experience, he learned that companies struggling to innovate have to overcome their unawareness & bias toward their customers before they can innovate. The muscle required to do so? Empathy.
He then conducted anthropological research inside the Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University on how artists innovate. From this experience, he learned that visual & performing artists struggling to innovate have to overcome their unawareness & bias toward themselves, their subject matters, or their materials before they can innovate. The muscle required to do so? Empathy.
Slim now helps CEOs develop a culture of innovation. From this experience, he sees that CEOs are like artists: mired in so much uncertainty and complexity that it’s no wonder they feel lonely, isolated, and anxious. So he helps them manage or overcome the unawareness & bias underlying such uncertainty, complexity, loneliness, isolation, and anxiety. Why? So they can more effectively lead their organization through growth & innovation. How? By helping them develop the muscle required to do so. Empathy.