Manage Change Through Courage and Creativity

Change isn’t easy. Sometimes, we initiate it. Other times, change happens to us. It shows up one day, like that new wrinkle on our forehead. But if you want to know the truth, change never happens overnight.

A mentor once shared that “things happen slowly and then all of a sudden…”

This has stuck with me as I look at the changes that have occurred during my career and as a member of SMPS. In both instances, the world looks and responds much differently than it did 20, 10, or even five years ago. It’s our responsibility to anticipate that change will happen and not try to control it, but instead lead through it.

How we manage change can make or break us, whether it’s our attitude managing it or how we adapt. Managing change in our professional world takes leadership and courage. First, we need to accept that change happens all the time. After acceptance, we need a bit of creativity to lead and make decisions. The Heart of Change, a book by authors John Kotter and Dan Cohen, walks through an eight-step process, acknowledging the steps we all go through, no matter how big or small the change. In their insightful book, they talk about how complacency, fear, and anger prevent change from starting in the first place.

There could be many reasons for this. For starters, there are so many unknown variables. Is the change going to be for the better? What if the people around me don’t support the change? What if I fail, whatever that means? It’s understandable to have these thoughts—we all have at some point.

The key is to let go of the unknown, focus on the present, and prepare for next steps. Take pride in the small wins. And take the compliments and criticisms as food for thought. Every firm and organization has challenges. With courage and creativity at the forefront, we can continue through the course of change. And we won’t be as surprised when that new wrinkle shows up. We might even be ready to embrace it.


Article written by SMPS President Dana Lancour, FSMPS, CPSM, who is vice president, branding + communications of Barton Malow. She can be reached at

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