How to take control and empower yourself through times of organizational change

Traditional change management is about minimizing disruption for people.

Business readiness ensures that change isn’t disruptive for the business.

-Cy Wakeman

A book with a title like No Ego is likely to catch your attention.

What does it mean to have ‘no ego’ and what would that feel like??!

When it comes to leading people through change, No Ego has some excellent suggestions for questions to ask a person impacted by change to help them come up with a plan (their plan!) to get through it.

Cy Wakeman’s belief is that the pace of change requires that we adopt a new change management paradigm:

  • Business no longer has time to burden managers with carrying people through change.
  • In fact, it does them no favors in teaching them to survive in this world of change and disruption.

Wakeman proposes that the best leaders will call their employees to a better version of themselves, empowering them with questions like these:

  • Now that you know what is changing and are clear on the ways you are responsible for adapting, can I count on you?
  • What is your level of willingness to step up?
  • Can you say ‘yes’ to what’s next?
  • On a scale from 1 to 10, what is your level of commitment? Can I count on you?
    • **If willingness is low, the next question is “What is your plan to get (more) willing?

Now, Wakeman also says that leaders need to introduce this new way of setting expectations and helping employees bypass their egos gradually and with some compassion. For many in the workforce, this will feel foreign and frightening.

As I processed Wakeman’s perspective and dove into the tools for crafting conversations, I realized it’s not a complete departure from what the models for change have taught us:

People still need to know what is changing, why is it changing and why is it changing now.

What is different is that the burden to develop the ‘WIIFM’ (What’s in it for me) shifts from the leader to the employee.

Perhaps that’s where it always should have been.

After all, it’s a WIIFM (What’s in it for me) not a WIFFY (What’s in it for you).

Change makers and leaders can check out this book I can’t stop talking about. It’s 162 pages of easy-to-consume concepts with 30 pages of workbook/guide/templates to enable application. Bring a highlighter.

**BONUS: On a side note, Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee talked with Oprah on the Super Soul Sunday podcast and gave a beautiful picture of what it’s like to lose our ego (and how much practice it takes).


  1. Love this shift in questions to better enable managers to empower employees to make change their own. We always talk about compliance vs commitment and this is a great way to make that transition. Thanks for the recommended reading! 🙂

    1. I am really looking forward to trying these questions and seeing how well they work in our setting, Lauren. Let’s experiment!

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