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Blog: Are You Winning or Coping When It Comes To Leading Change In Your Organization?

Leadership Journey Levels:

Change…. just the word alone brings stress to many of us. We encounter so much change in our rapidly evolving world that you may wonder, “How do I keep up and manage change for myself, let alone lead my team through another change?” One thing is for sure when it comes to change, it is not a matter of if, but when.

If we are not changing, we are dying… which is not an option. There is a quote by Charles Darwin that says, “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” How well do you manage and lead change?

There are several excellent change management models for leaders to use. My favorite is the ADKAR model. ADKAR is an acronym for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement. You can find resources on line that summarize how to use this model with your team. For this post, I want to focus on how to manage change and the stress of change personally first, then move your team. If you are not handling change internally well, you will certainly not be able to lead anyone else through the change.

Let’s walk through a list of questions to ask yourself.


  • Am I aware of everything I need to know (or can know) at this time regarding the change that is coming?
  • If I am not aware of everything I need to know, who else should I talk to and what questions should I ask them.
  • When will I talk with these people?
  • Should I bring any of my team members or colleagues with me when I meet to ask questions for clarification?
  • What research have I done to increase my knowledge in this area of change I’m are facing?


  • After learning all I can regarding the upcoming change, where am I on a scale of 1 – 10 (1 = not in agreement at all and 10 = completely in agreement) with the change?
  • If my scores are low (below 5) on the above question, what do I need to do specifically to raise my desire (If you are not desiring this change and on board with it, you will not be able to influence or “rally” anyone else to get on board with the change.
    • Am I afraid and if so, what of
    • Am I uncertain, if so, I need to go back to “Awareness”
  • If I am on board and desiring the change, why? I need to be able to communicate clearly what the change is, why it is beneficial and how it will make a difference… I must truly believe in the change to help others believe in the change.
  • Do I trust this change is beneficial – why or why not? If I do not agree, can I still support it or where can I be a voice of negotiation?
  • Am I seeing the big picture in the benefits of this change? If need be, can I leverage the statement, “Sometimes you lose the battle to win the war?”
  • How would I articulate the benefits of this change?
  • How can this change benefit me, those who work for me and the organization as a whole?


  • Now that I am on-board with, believe in and desiring the change that is coming, where do I (and my team) need training (knowledge)?
  • What time will I set aside as a priority for gaining knowledge?
  • How will I manage my workload and help my team manage their workload while we are working through our training?
  • Is there anyone else inside or outside of the organization I can tap in to for assistance above and beyond what we have in place?
  • Who are the “go to” people championing this change?
  • Can or should I be one of the champions of change for this endeavor?


  • Now that I and my team are trained, have we identified any areas that are not working like they should? If so, what needs to be done about this to get things working smoothly?
  • Am I pleased with my ability/skill level with the change? If not, what do I need to do to get myself up to speed? Who can help me?
  • Are my team members up to speed in their knowledge/training? If not, who on the team can mentor and develop the ones who are behind?



  • How will I make sure this change stays consistent and I and my team members do not go back to the way things were done before the change?
  • Who will I acknowledge for being influential and effective change agents through this process?
  • How will I celebrate my accomplishments and the team’s accomplishments?


If you are going to be an influential leader in your organization, you have to be an agent of change. In order to be an agent of change, you need to have: influence, consistency, negotiation skills, ability to take calculated risks, get others on board and make adaptations where necessary to win. Max McKeown said, “Adaptability is about the powerful difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win.” How will you set yourself apart in managing change this year in yourself, your team and your organization? How will you make sure you are not just coping but winning?


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