The ability to create, build and sustain significant change in and through others.


Every leader has been called to be a promoter of change, helping to create a better future in some way. Thus, leaders must be skilled in leading change. Change management relates to skills and approaches that allow a leader to help transition individuals, teams, and organizations to a desired (and better) envisioned future.

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.1 Corinthians 15:51

Skilled Characteristics

  • Involves

    Involves senior leaders in sponsoring important changes

  • Communicates Wins

    Communicates successes so that people understand the positive impacts and progress of changes

  • Urgency

    Creates a sense of urgency for change

  • Considerate

    Considers how proposed changes will impact other people, including one’s own staff

  • Discusses

    Talks frequently about changes and why they are necessary

  • Tactical

    Sets smaller short-term goals to incrementally work toward larger goals/changes

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

– Anonymous

“Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

– John F. Kennedy

Unskilled Characteristics

  • Non-Inclusive

    Fails to include others when deciding on making changes

  • Solitary

    Fails to identify others in the team or organization who will help support and sponsor changes, but instead pushes the change through oneself

  • Little Communication

    Fails to clearly communicate the reasons behind changes, nor the impact of not changing

  • Inconsiderate

    Fails to consider the impact of changes on others nor how to make the change less painful for others

  • Hierarchical

    Often uses one’s own power and authority or title to force people to change

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic.”

– Peter Drucker

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

– Maya Angelou

Causes of Weakness

  • Role Models

    Poor role models of how to help people change

  • Understanding

    Poor understanding of the factors that influence people’s performance and ability to adapt to change

  • Task Focused

    Overly focused on tasks or vision rather than people and relationships

  • Authoritarian

    Comes from a hierarchical and authoritarian culture where change is mandated rather than planned and managed

“People don’t resist change. They resist being changed!”

– Peter Senge

“Change before you have to.”

– Jack Welch


Review the simple application steps below and choose 1 or 2 things you can do to spur yourself on to further growth.

  • Change Principles


    1) Create a sense of urgency about the need for change, the positive future to look forward to, and the negative impact of NOT changing.

    2) Build a ‘change team’ of people at all levels in the organization, team or community who are committed to championing the change in their spheres of influence.

    3) Clarify your vision and purpose and key messages you want to convey.

    4) Know who your key audiences are that you are trying to impact, and what their opinions and/or concerns may be about the change.

    5) Utilize your ‘change team’, repeatedly communicating a clear and compelling vision that addresses the impacts to your various audiences and their needs.

    6) Look for opportunities for quick wins or successes toward the intended change in order to motivate people to continue moving forward with the change.

    7) Ask for ongoing feedback about the reactions and concerns of your target audiences regarding the change and respond to those concerns in order to minimize resistance to the change.

    8) Keep moving forward without giving up, knowing that a certain percentage of people will likely never accept the change.

  • Negative Responses to Change:

    NEGATIVE RESPONSES TO CHANGE: All people go through a fairly predictable and normal response to changes that they see as ‘negative’. They are:

    1) Stability (before the change)
    2) Shock
    3) Denial
    4) Anger
    5) Bargaining
    6) Depression
    7) Testing Possibilities
    8) Acceptance/Integration

    Your job as a change leader is to help people to understand how they are feeling, tell them that this is ‘normal’, be understanding and compassionate with them, and help guide them through each phase in the process until they reach acceptance. Some people will go through the change process very quickly, sometimes not even realizing they went through some of the phases. Other times, people may get ‘stuck’ in a particular phase for a long time. Although you can’t force someone out of a phase, you can encourage them by acknowledging their feelings and continuing to talk about the issue.

  • Positive Response to Change

    POSITIVE RESPONSES TO CHANGE: People tend to go through a fairly predictable and normal response to changes that they see as ‘positive’. They are:

    1) Uninformed Optimism (where people know very little about the change and simply assume that the change is good and are excited about it)

    2) Informed Pessimism (where people start to realize that although the change may be good, there are certain difficult or disruptive elements about the change that they don’t like)

    3) Checking Out (where some people decide to give up on the change because it seems much more difficult than they originally anticipated)

    4) Hopeful Realism (where people begin to regain interest and hope in the positive aspects of the change)

    5) Informed Optimism (where people are informed enough about the change to be confident in the change and committed to it once again)

    Your job as a leader is to realize that even people who are excited about an initial change may become negative about it later, especially when they based their initial excitement on gut feelings or assumptions rather than a complete understanding of the change and its impacts to them. Therefore, you need to communicate with and involve your positive responders of change just as much as the negative responders, and make sure that they don’t eventually check out, give up, or become detractors from the change.