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Embracing the New State of Change


Change has become a constant state in business and the speed and scope of change is only expected to increase. At the same time, many of us are uncomfortable with and resistant to change, which challenges new initiatives and potentially impacts productivity and the customer experience.

Nicole Brusewitz, FCCS’ VP of Leadership Development, Learning and Consulting Services, recently shared advice on a Forward Thinking podcast about how to take an intentional approach to managing change by fostering an environment of continuous evolution while prioritizing employee well-being. Click here to listen to the full podcast episode featuring Nicole.

“Flexibility isn’t a muscle we should wait to start developing,” says Nicole. “We should help employees work on these skills now so we’re ready to respond when the time for action arrives.”

Leaders can encourage innovation and creativity, and help cultivate more adaptive styles of thinking. It’s often helpful to not only devote time to practicing scenario planning and risk mitigation, but also strategic foresight to broaden thinking. By leveraging assessment tools like StrengthsFinder, DiSC or Predictive Index, leaders can help their team members understand how individuals are likely to respond to change so both they and their manager can tap into natural strengths or overcome inherent resistance.

“Leaders themselves need to be open to change and able to set the tone for a positive change culture,” says Nicole. “This involves creating a nurturing environment that provides psychological safety to support employees through the changes they face.”

When people feel informed and excited about a change, they adapt to it more easily without becoming burned out by the seeming constant business evolution. Effective communication about the reasons, goals and process of the change will help employees become more comfortable as they move from the unknown to the known.

For individuals, change can provide an opportunity for professional transformation, offering new skills and experience that can open opportunities within the organization and can be a distinct advantage in the talent market. Rather than viewing change as something to fear or an obstacle to overcome, it can be seen as a catalyst for new possibilities.

“By shifting our perspective on change and reframing discomfort as an opportunity, we can see change in a new way,” says Nicole.

Individuals can cultivate their change agility by consciously developing a sense of curiosity and openness to new experiences. When faced with a change, prepare yourself to respond by asking yourself three questions:

1. What do I do at the organization - what’s my influence and who is watching me for cues as to how I’m reacting?

2. How am I connected to the change - did I initiate it, is our team involved or does it only impact us indirectly?

3. What is my natural change response – am I naturally excited by change or more apprehensive, and how do I need to respond in this situation?

“Asking these questions over and over can ground ourselves in how we tend to show up and how we’re connected to the change,” says Nicole. “This helps frame the change for yourself and/or your team, and can help you identify when you may need to modify your typical response.”


FCCS programs offer a variety of tools, resources and insights on effective change response. The Leading Others learning journey supports professionals who have either recently become managers and/or manage front line employees; Gettysburg and Lewis & Clark experiential leadership programs highlight change as an inherent part of leadership; and strategic consulting with executive and boards can focus attention on specific change initiatives. For more information contact Nicole Brusewitz, Vice President of Leadership Development, Learning & Consulting Services at 303.564.8120 or via email.

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