Dealing with Different…6 Ways to Embrace Change

Part 4: Negotiate as Necessary

Change can be challenging. Yes, you need to choose courage, have a pliable heart, and anticipate an adventure, but please don’t naively believe everything will be easy … It won’t.

There will be things you will not like, possibly even a few deal breakers. When that happens, you are going to need to have some crucial conversations. In other words, negotiate as necessary.

Field Trip 2

Negotiation can take on many forms. Role clarity, new expectations, available resources, and even adjustments in compensation may all need to be discussed. The key is to negotiate early. The best time to surface conflict and challenge the process is early in the change cycle.

My wife is a former schoolteacher, and she always reminds me that it is easier to set the standards at the beginning of the relationship – the first day of school. You can always choose not to enforce the rules later, but it’s nearly impossible to get those little shirttails tucked in if they don’t start that way.

Many of you who are reading this are actually the ones who implement change … the leaders. If you find yourself in this position, make sure you allow room for negotiation. When asking others to change think about how you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes. Ask for input, seek feedback, and make sure you communicate thoroughly and appropriately. Change is hard enough. An unaware leader only makes things worse.

If your organization is currently changing make sure you set aside time for the negotiations. They are necessary anytime you are dealing with different.

Leadership Begins at Home,


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Dealing with Different … 6 Ways to Embrace Change

Part 3: Anticipate an Adventure

Go ahead and expect it. If you choose to be courageous and your heart is right, you can anticipate an adventure.

One of the things I failed to appreciate when I made my big transition to encouraging leaders full-time was what an adventure it would be. It has stretched me, challenged me, pushed me, and caused me to grow. I can’t imagine how stuck I would be had I not embraced change.

The adventure has taken me all over the country. During the last 18 months, I have met thousands of leaders, traveled to Yellowstone and Alaska, attended an NBA playoff game to watch the Spurs on their march to a 5th championship in 15 years, spent a week at spring training with my favorite team the Pirates, and experienced some amazing days in the Big Apple with my wife learning the craft of storytelling.


As I write these words, I am enjoying the beauty of West Virginia, a place I had never been before the change. If I had chosen comfort, none of these adventures would have happened. I hate to admit it, but I never anticipated how great change could be.

Change has a way of taking us places – not just places on the map. The demands of different are the catalyst to accelerate our accomplishments. Change propels us to progress. It grows us toward greatness.

If you are facing a change and find yourself mired in fear or looking for reasons to resist, I challenge you to lean in.

If you will, you can anticipate an adventure.

Leadership begins at home.


When it comes to change, do you think it is easier for leaders to anticipate adversity or adventure? Why?

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Dealing With Different … 6 Ways to Embrace Change

Part 2: Have the Right Heart

Last week I started a series on change by introducing “6 ways to Deal with Different.” The first step … Choose Courage over Comfort.

HeartIf you are faced with a change in your leadership environment, or for that matter any other area of your life, the second thing you will want to do is have the right heart.

It is amazing how hearts can get sideways when something changes. Attitudes spew out of some, while others stuff their frustration. Either way, when a leader’s heart is selfish, subversive, or sneaky, change becomes a nightmare.

Jack Welch once said, “When the rate of external change exceeds the rate of internal change, disaster is imminent.” The point? You better make sure your heart is constantly growing and preparing to adapt and adjust. Especially in today’s crazy culture of constant change.

I still say choose courage over comfort … dare, dream, and do. But please don’t forget to work on your heart. It will help you deal with different.

Leadership Begins at Home,


What are some ways a leader can keep his heart right in the midst of change?

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Dealing With Different … 6 Ways to Embrace Change

Part 1: Choose Courage Over Comfort

Yesterday I had the opportunity to take our change topic to another level by speaking at an annual retreat for a department whose company just restructured. The topic? You guessed it … Change.

Change Retreat

Can we all just agree … things are changing at blur speed?

Once we accept the fact that change is inevitable and make the decision to pursue growth (see yesterday’s post), we have two choices. We can either lean in or we can resist and be left behind.

I’m no different from anyone else. For me, change is hard. I like the status quo as much as the next guy … except I don’t. If the next guy is a leader he knows the status quo will ultimately suck the soul out of him and the people he leads.

Through the years I have experienced thousands of changes. I am finally learning to look forward to most of them. While I still resist occasionally, I have identified six steps to serve as my filter whenever I find myself “dealing with different.” Over the next few days I will share them with you. I encourage you to incorporate them into your leadership. I’m confident they will help you lean in to change.

Step 1 … Choose Courage over Comfort – When I started my company to encourage and equip leaders, the transition took longer than it should have because fear was involved. I heard voices. Mostly my own … Randy, how can you walk away from your income when you have three kids in college and one a year away? What about your health insurance? What if no one will hire you to speak to their organization or team? What if no one is looking for a leadership coach? What if you fail?

Thankfully my wife believed in and encouraged me, and my four daughters called me a sissy. “Dad you keep telling everyone else to live in their sweet spot. You and Uncle Danno even wrote a book on it. It looks to us like you are a scaredy-cat, sissy-chicken.”

Ouch! A man can only take so much from his little women.

Ultimately I decided to go for it. I knew if I didn’t I would one day be an old man full of disappointment and regret. Admittedly, if I had failed I would have been disappointed that I didn’t have what it takes. But I knew I wouldn’t have any regret.

Without courage I had lost my edge as a leader. Edge is a big deal. Without it, you limit your influence. I had conversations with God about my angst. I kept finding places in Scripture where He commands His followers to be courageous. I couldn’t find a single admonishment toward comfort.

When I chose courage and made the change it was like the wind returned to my sails. The support was overwhelming. I discovered it was even bigger than my doubts had been. There was plenty of work with my name on it. Provision was beyond what I could have ever dreamed. And My daughters were my biggest fans. Imagine that!

I told my wife, “This is unbelievable.” She reminded me, as she often does, “No this is believable. This is what you have prayed and prepared for.”

So how about you? Are you comfortable? I hope not. Because if you are, you are most likely miserable. If today finds you in a place where you know you need to make a change, resist the resistance … choose courage over comfort.

Leadership Begins at Home,


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I’ll share a second step to help you embrace change in my next post.