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16 Essential Steps for Navigating Transition Together

Adapting to Change as a Team

August 15, 2023
Charles Hooper, MCC

“The only thing that doesn’t change is change itself.”


This is one of those “Dad sayings” my father was fond of saying when I was growing up. Little did I realize how helpful this would be as I led various change initiatives in my career.


Since then, I have heard variations of this statement from various military, business, and creative leaders.

“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”   – General Eric Shinseki


“Change before you have to.” – Jack Welch


“I’m all for change, as long as things stay the same.” – Andy Warhol


In our post-Covid world, things change constantly, which can bring great frustration. Many leaders we coach, and train are overwhelmed by the constancy of change.

Teams have to adapt to survive. The former rules of change are somewhat helpful, yet today leaders and teams need the agility and flexibility to process change as the norm.

In this blog, I would like to share with you about the benefits of adapting to change, the struggles of change initiatives, and 16 ideas to jump-start your change thinking.

What are the benefits when a team successfully adapts to change?

  • Results can be reached faster
  • A process can be adopted to guide the team through change
  • The change will get results with as little alienation of employees as possible
  • The team will be anticipating risks ahead of time
  • The change process will have open and honest communication
  • The leader will be viewed more positively throughout the organization

“Times of change are great opportunities for you to create real value for your team by making sure all your efforts move the team toward a better future, rather than holding the team back.”

Team Work by Russ Sarratt and Rusty Chadwick

What does it look like when a change initiative struggles?

  • Results are slower or interrupted
  • Lack of process for the team to follow
  • Frustration and lack of engagement from team members
  • Tripping up on unforeseen risks and challenges
  • Unclear communication which confuses team members and the organization
  • The leader will be viewed poorly and trust will be hindered


“When you first learn of change, you have the option of choosing either to respond or react, and there is a big difference between the two.” Team Work by Russ Sarratt and Rusty Chadwick

teamwork - adapting to change

How can teams learn how to be successful in adapting to change?

Here is a sample of a change framework WinShape Teams Coaches use to help teams adapt to change. This process has multiple questions under each but for the sake of brevity, I have only included one question for each step.

This sample process can be used by the leader or by the whole team to successfully navigate through a change initiative. Let us know if we can help you as a leader or as a team plan a change initiative!

  1. General Inquiry – What is the change we want to create?
  2. Assess readiness – How ready are we for this change?
  3. Anticipate resistance – Who are the people or groups that may resist and how will we positively react?
  4. Anticipate momentum – Who are the people or groups that will support the change and help make it happen?
  5. Set clear goals – What goals will allow us to track progress and maintain accountability?
  6. Create the case – What is the clear, concise, and compelling messaging for the change?
  7. Communicate the case – How will we best communicate the change?
  8. Leaders go first – How can the leader set the tone by setting the example?
  9. Enlist supporters – How can influencers build up supporters to gain momentum?
  10. Set the path for change – What is the best process which clearly lays out the path towards the desired change?
  11. Track progress – What milestones can be marked toward the change to help us stay on track?
  12. Rapid action and quick wins – What is the low hanging fruit which can create and sustain momentum?
  13. Implement ideas – What are the practical aspects of how we will execute on the change?
  14. Communicate progress – How will we keep the organization informed on progress so people can be encouraged?
  15. Handle setbacks and resistance – How will we respond rather than react when trouble comes?
  16. Celebrate results – How will we acknowledge and highlight the ultimate result?

These questions are adapted from the Center for Executive Coaching. The full framework is used when clients work with WinShape Teams Coaches.

Now the question I want to ask you is — How willing are you to change so that change can happen in and through your team?

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WinShape Teams Coaches help leaders with change initiatives.

If you would like to explore what this could look like for you and your team, fill out this inquiry form and we will be glad to discuss with you how a season of coaching could help!