Change means challenging the status quo.  As a leader, you have to appreciate that challenging the status quo requires a high-stakes conversation. High stakes conversations are discussions between two or more people where there is risk, opposing opinions and strong emotions. The outcome impacts lives, and leading change requires you to get others to adopt a new status quo.

Studies demonstrate that people respond to high stakes conversations one of three ways:

  1. Avoid them.
  2. Face them and handle them poorly.
  3. Face them and handle them well.


Leaders with a highly developed competency in change management are dependable to face the risk and manage it well. It is not an easy competency to develop because high stakes conversations often arise without warning and catch us by surprise. When we are caught up in challenging the status quo, our human biology and behaviors work against us. Our adrenaline runs high and blood flows to our arms and legs. This produces a fight or flight response where we can be easily confused and improvise, often without rehearsal. This leads to self-defeating behaviors where we do or say something that makes the situation worse.

Change Managers are masters skilled in crucial conversations. Contact the experts at Change Management Communications Center to learn more about developing your competency for leading change. You will strengthen your relationships, be influential and get changes accomplished in a profitable way.

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