Are Your Managers Ready for Change?

If you're a Twins fan, you're probably worried by the team's sorry start this spring.

I know I am – despite the team's insistence that they are much better than their 0-4 (at this writing) record.

And if you're a Timberwolves fan, you're again witnessing an April collapse.

Depressing? Absolutely.

But guess what? As flummoxed as Coach Rick Adelman is by his team's deterioration, he's reportedly making mental notes about how his players deal with their injury-riddled lineup to help with roster decisions next year.

"Teams and players that are winners respond to adversity," he said recently.

Similarly, after the Twins lost to the unheralded Orioles, Ron Gardenhire began making lineup changes in only the third game into the season. It looked to many as if he were trying to mix it up to get something going. 

Unfortunately, it didn't work. Instead of winning that third game, the Twins limped into the home opener with a 0-3 record. 

But you can't fault Ron Gardenhire. He, at least, is willing to make changes.

That's one mark of good managers – in baseball, in basketball and in business.

They embrace change.

In contrast, managers averse to change, have distinct characteristics that put them "at risk" for derailing their teams and, in the case of business, their careers, their team’s performance and even their company’s profitability.

Pretty scary. After all, it’s managers who must manage change through the rank and file workforce.

Clearly, therefore, before you make changes you must know if your affected manager is one who embraces change or one who resists changes.

Here are a few warning signals that your manager is uncomfortable with change:
 • Frustration at the mere suggestion of change
 • Skepticism about the need for change or the potential for change
 • Cynicism because of past experience
 • Talk of "what was" rather that "what will be"
 • Refusal to participate in the changes

Here’s the bottom line: Most of us approach change cautiously. I know I do. And perhaps that’s a good thing. Barging into change with little thought and little understanding might well lead to disaster.

On the other hand, we cannot continue to do things the old way and expect to produce new results. (Just ask Rick Adelman or Ron Gardenhire about that.) Nor can we give in to the uncomfortableness of ambiguity or new methods.

And neither can your managers. They must embrace adaptation to thrive.

Tips: Six Tips to Help Your Managers Cope with Change

What’s the saying? “The only thing certain is change?” Or, is it “Nothing is as certain as change?”

No matter. Let’s just say we live in constantly changing times.

Changes can be run-of-the-mill, such as changing light bulb types in the plant, or momentous, such as halving an operations budget over the next year. They can be expected or unexpected.

But whether the changes are big or small, planned or unexpected, the more adept you and your managers are at coping with them the easier the changes will be.

How about your company? Are you seeing or expecting changes? How can you help your managers cope with change?

1) Know how your manager will respond to change. When you understand his natural appetite for change, you can tailor how you communicate change.

2) Help him understand his natural aversion to change. If a manager has a natural tendency to resist change make him aware of this tendency. Tactfully bring his tendency to his attention. Making him fully aware of his tendency will equip him to develop his own way of helping himself to adapt to change.

3) Communicate, communicate, communicate. Provide open and honest information about expected changes. And when you don’t know something, say so.

4) Provide solid leadership and direction. Help your manager understand the importance and benefits of the coming changes. Also help her set new priorities.

5) Involve your manager as much as possible. Involving resisters helps them build ownership. When possible, have your manager think through the process with you so that you can demonstrate how the change will benefit both him and the organization. Involvement may include negotiating or compromising, of course, and then you should aim for win-win


6) Give support. Provide extra training and reassurance as needed.

Here’s the thing: It’s understandable that managers approach change cautiously. Few of us relish change and many find it as uncomfortable as singing a solo at Carnegie Hall.



Your Solution Toolbox: Feedback that Helps Managers Understand Themselves

Measuring What Matters

Humans are creatures of habit. That’s why change is so difficult.

I’ve learned, however, that the more people know about themselves, the more comfortable they feel in new situations.

Enter Profiles International’s Checkpoint 360™.

Feedback assessments from Checkpoint 360™ will help your managers build a great level of self awareness and alignment. In other words, this feedback will give them the opportunity to understand themselves on a personal level — their core makeup and natural tendencies — and to pinpoint where they need improvement.

Can you see how you can use Checkpoint 360™ in conjunction with tips #1 and #2 above?

And I don’t mean to use it someday; I mean right now. I mean even before change threatens.

Because in my experience, the more a manager knows about himself the better he will manage not to mention the better he can overcome his aversion to change.

If you are interested in learning more about Profiles Checkpoint 360, call me today at 952-322-3330 or send an email to

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Let’s Talk! We offer a no obligation consultation to informally assess your current policies, procedures, and practices. This may help determine what’s missing in your current programs to meet the above recommendations. Call 952-322-3330 or send an email to

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