How a Global 100 Company is Advancing their Whole Person Health Strategy

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Hollie Ward, Global Head of Leadership Development and Talent Readiness, Cigna 

Grounded® and Conscious at the center of Cigna’s New Leadership Model

Cigna is a global health company dedicated to providing health care services and solutions. With 74,000 employees and 2019 revenues of $153B, their mission is to improve the health, well-being and peace of mind of those they serve.

As with most companies today, Cigna has gone through tremendous change, even before the pandemic began and before their merger with Express Scripts in 2018. After the merger during 2019, their highly engaged and committed workforce was intact, but their leaders knew they needed to rethink their business models and the leadership capabilities required to sustain the company’s success.

Cigna knew they needed:

  • leaders who are agile in the face of change – grounded and conscious – to navigate and lead the organization
  • to make change agility a core Cigna capability
  • to advance a ‘Whole Person Health Strategy’ for its 8000 leaders to achieve better health, greater resiliency and higher productivity. 
Cigna was looking for a partner to help develop these leadership capabilities to fulfill the company’s mission. Out of 21 potential vendors, Cigna invited 3 companies in to present their approach, offerings and resources to achieve these goals. The directors of change management, learning, leadership and organization development met with a smaller group of potential partners. They ended up choosing Healthy Companies as their long-term partner.  
According to Hollie Ward, Global Head of Leadership Development and Talent Readiness, who leads this effort: “Healthy Companies’ approach to change leadership and change agility was different from the other vendors. It was clear our philosophies were aligned – at the core of Cigna’s success is our ‘Whole Person Health’ strategy, inside and outside the company. Health must be our organizing theme for developing healthy leaders, people and teams.”
Cigna’s leadership efforts have historically focused on leadership competencies alone – actions and behaviors. The Company believed there was a missing link in their leadership model – and the Healthy Companies’ Grounded and Conscious capabilities filled this void. 
Hollie explains: “we need to be functioning on all cylinders to reach our highest potential. Leaders who pay attention to developing their personal health are strong and thriving and this is what influences  their performance. This is Grounded Leadership. At the same time, we must also be aware, agile and accountable. This is Conscious Leadership.”
“The goal of this effort is to help build grounded and conscious leaders,” Ward added. At the heart of this partnership will be to give experiences, insights and tools to help Cigna executives and leaders: 
  1. remain grounded as individuals in today’s fast paced, chaotic world,
  2. become more conscious of themselves, their teams and surroundings to accelerate their effectiveness; and 
  3. develop the skills to become more agile, confident change leaders. 
 Healthy Companies has collaborated with the Cigna team to provide more than a “programmatic” experience. Cigna’s vision is an ecosystem approach that offers leaders the opportunities to engage with Grounded ® and Conscious content, experiences, and practical application.  
Bob Rosen, CEO of Healthy Companies presented the Grounded & Conscious model to the top 550 leaders at a recent strategy meeting. They were provided with a Grounded & Conscious leader toolkit to conduct conversations with their colleagues, linking the company’s new leadership model to the strategy of the Company. 
In September, Cigna rolled out the first of a series of Virtual Instructor-led Grounded and Conscious sessions as part of their new Leading With Excellence program for leaders across the company. In using the VILT approach they are able to deliver a high impact leadership experience in partnership with Healthy Companies within the constraints of COVID and social distancing. 
As Grounded® & Conscious gets integrated into the company, Cigna will tailor different solutions, in different formats, for different populations to maximize impact and drive sustainable behavior change.


About the Author

Bob Rosen, Ph.D.

Bob Rosen, Ph.D.

Bob Rosen is founder and CEO of The Healthy Leader and author of 8 best-selling leadership books, including Grounded: How Leaders Stay Rooted in an Uncertain World, a New York Times bestseller, and Conscious: The Power of Awareness in Business and Life, a Washington Post bestseller. At The Healthy Leader, we help develop leaders at all levels to improve their health, well-being, potential and performance.


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