Three Questions to Assess Your Change Readiness

“The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes.”

Marcel Proust, French Novelist (1871-1922)

3 Questions to Assess Your Change Readiness 2013-12-09

Do either these situations sound familiar to you?

At a recent family gathering, Brother Bob waxes poetic about the showjumping horse with Olympic potential that he just bought for $500,000 (and then about his new new speed boat, and then about his new multi-acre lakefront property), while the rest of the family is barely making ends meet.

Or, how about Sally Supervisor? Based on the recent changes announced at her company, she has gone into command-and-control mode with her team, thereby increasing their learned helplessness and decreasing their engagement?

While Bob and Sally may be lovely people, one area where they are lacking is in their situational awareness.

Simply put, situational awareness is knowing what is going on around you and responding accordingly. Leaders need to be sure they are exercising their situational awareness for what today’s quickly changing business landscape means to them, their teams and their organizations.

Watch this one minute AWARENESS TEST video, which quickly makes the point that we may not be as aware as we think we are.



Being situationally aware increases your readiness to lead change. Here are three questions to help you face the opportunities and challenges of change:

  1. Do you see opportunities others don’t? Change breeds opportunity. Don’t out-compete your rivals; reinvent the rules of the game by finding new opportunities first. Therein lies the fun.
  2. Have you figured out how your organization’s history can help to shape its future? Take the advice of psychologist Jerome Bruner and use the best of the old to inform the search for the new. Being innovative is “figuring out how to use what you already know in order to go beyond what you already think.” The most Impactful leaders I know are able to rediscover the past as a way to develop a line of sight into what comes next. Ah, the power of storytelling.
  3. Are you learning as fast as the world is changing? As a leader, you absolutely cannot afford to stop learning. Seek out ways to evolve, and be humble enough to know you do not always have the answer.

Interested in more ideas to get inspired and to inspire others to increase situational awareness? See the full list of 10 thought provoking questions on leadership and change from Bill Taylor*, co-founder of Fast Company magazine. Check out the article Confidence, Excellence and Independence: Business Lessons From 4 Great Leaders on

Do you and your teams need a refresher on situational awareness for the new year? For the past ten years, Evolving Strategies has offered a half-day session on how to increase situational awareness. The session includes self-reflection and team exercises to help make the new learnings stick. Email me to learn more.

*Taylor is also the coauthor Practically Radical: Not-So-Crazy Ways to Transform Your Company, Shake Up Your Industry, and Challenge Yourself and Mavericks at Work: Why The Most Original Minds In Business Win.

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Sandra Schwan

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