embrace change

Embracing Change As a Leader - Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

by Fleming Ford

Leaders who embrace change have a dynamic team with a stronger and healthier culture, whereas dealerships that aren’t open to change tend to BE stagnant and vulnerable to failure.

In other words, if you’re not willing to change, you’re not ready to lead. One of the biggest reasons that embracing change leads to success is because when we try new things, we learn from the new experiences, and we innovate new improved ideas. Whether the outcome is good or bad, every time we navigate through the unfamiliar, we undergo processes that will allow us to grow.   

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” ― Albert Einstein


When leaders frame change in the right way and take action to support that change, team members are way more likely to embrace it. And guess what? The need for change exists everywhere, no matter how successful the company or dealership, and yours is no different. As a leader, you should constantly be asking yourself how to improve and be willing to test the waters when needed.

Once you do identify the need for change, reflect with your team about how to address that change. How does your team feel about the change? How can you support them? Do they have any questions?

Next, you must understand that people will be naturally resistant to change, and even if everyone appears to be on the same page at first, it’s going to be your job to usher people past the disruption and create a new status quo. Effective leaders are able to communicate change in a way that takes into account their team’s perspective, including their emotional well-being. In times of change make it a point to check in with emotions and concerns whenever possible.  . Strong leaders are able to see the change through the lens of their team, always consider how will this change impact the service technician, the valent or the new sales consultants and understand how to best connect value to each individual.

There is always a question of value when we make significant change. This is when it is time to tune in to my favorite radio station, WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) Remember, you are asking people to change from the comfortable, “the way we have always done it around here”, to a new way in how we do business so always understand the shift you may be excited about, can feel overwhelming to some Most people won’t buy-in 100% until the either recognize the individual positive consequence it entails. The more you can communicate and cast a vision that connects with their individual “Why”, the more they feel trust you, the more you commit to helping them, the more they will invest their hearts and their time. 

Make sure everyone has a clear role they feel good about. The whole team should be crystal clear about what everyone’s role is so that things can run as smoothly as possible, with minimal confusion about who is responsible for what. Understanding where they fit into the new change initiative will help them feel less anxious about the change. 


We know that dealerships must change in order to thrive in an always-changing market. In order to help your team (and yourself) stomach change in a manageable way, break down each step of that change into small steps. Do your best to map out any major hurdles and plan solutions for dealing with them. This eliminates an enormous amount of stress, burnout, or disengagement.  

The more that you map out your path, the easier the road will be!

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” ― Rob Siltanen



Fleming Ford

Fleming Ford is President of ESI Retail Leadership Academy. Fleming cares deeply about creating progressive automotive leaders who can embrace challenges because they have the tools, mindsets and emotional skills to grow and engage all-star teams that achieve remarkable results. With 20+ years of experience coaching retail automotive leaders and HR Execs, she ignites positive transformational change with concrete ways for leaders to enhance the employee experience and drive better business outcomes.


Get Tips & Tricks every Week!

Join our newsletter and get news in your inbox every week! We hate spam too, so no worries about this.