Changes happen around us all the time.

The problem—as has been noted elsewhere—is not the changes, but how we respond to the changes in the first place.

But here’s something else that must be considered:

Often when the impacts of changes are described, they are described not in rational and logical terms, but instead in emotional and often illogical terms.

The laments, the nostalgia, the desire to return to a golden past when the changes were either not on the horizon, or they were considered to be so far away as to be inconsequential in their impacts—these are all emotional responses.

We confuse the arrival of change with conflict.

I have said that no great change—not one—has happened without conflict, and the conflict that occurs is not a battle of changes or even competing choices.

It is often a conflict of emotions, values, and identities.

Or, conflicts fueled by fear of the unknown consequences of what the changes will bring.

There’s no pithy, easy way to end this observation, other than by noting that, when changes come—and they are always going to come—the way for linchpin leaders to address them is through ensuring that the impact of emotional acts have primacy in delivering the message of change rather than the impact of logical acts that work in the short-term but do massive damage to trust in the long term.

Which means making the act of storytelling a primary in selling change.

Which means making patience with others’ processes an integral part of the path to implementing change.

Which means realizing that some parties, ideas, perspectives, and attitudes that once served a narrow reality, will have to be left behind in order for changes to be implemented—no matter the consequences.

Which means that allowing parties to experience the consequences of being “left out” of the change, with compassion, empathy, but also direct, transparent honesty, is a skill that many leaders of changes will have to realistically role model.

And it means role modeling and practically exercising a little humility on the part of those calling for change, and a little humility on the part of those rejecting change.

Because who knows when uncomfortable, unpredictable, and messy change is going to come for you?

Jesan Sorrells

Jesan Sorrells

Jesan Sorrells is the CEO and Founder of Human Services Consulting and Training and leads on HSCT's flagship product, LeadingKeys. Contact him directly at