How much do you have today?

Building on the topic of change from two weeks ago, it strikes me how constant change is and yet, many things never change.

On April 17th, the Wall Street Journal did a “Journal Report on C-Suite Strategies”. The topic? “Thanks. Why it’s important to show gratitude at work – what’s the best way to do it” (tiered subscription)

Really? No matter how things change, gratitude never goes out of style. Is this topic worthy of big section in one of the nation’s leading news outlets? Apparently. One stat: there is a 15% increase in the time spent helping someone when they are appreciated, according to the author Sara Algoe.

Sara goes on to share research that showing “gratitude before a task, showed improved cardiovascular response”. When giving thanks, be specific and genuine, expressing your care and concern. Giving thanks correlates with helping colleagues feel valued, which brings me to the SCARF framework.


You don’t lead by hitting people over the head, that’s assault, not leadership.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

As promised, from my last newsletter, here is Part 2 of How to WIN at Leading Change by Deb Graham. SCARF is such a GREAT framework, worth considering and implementing whether you are leading a change initiative or not. Read on:

Expecting pushback on an upcoming change? It’s normal to face resistance, as people naturally want to protect the status quo.

This reaction is not planned, but rather an emotional response to perceived threats. It’s important to understand how people might react to change, as it varies depending on the individual. One useful framework is the SCARF model, developed by Dr. David Rock and the Neuroleadership Institute, which identifies five common triggers:

Status: I am valuable
People want to feel valued and important. If Status is their trigger, they want to stand out from the crowd. Changes that negatively impact their title, office size, involvement in decisions, or perception of expertise can threaten their status.

Certainty: I know where I stand or what will happen to me
People want to know what’s going on and what to expect. Uncertainty around roles,
responsibilities, and the outcome of decisions can create anxiety. Change inevitably brings lots of uncertainty. Providing information such as the date the changes will be announced and what isn’t changing, can provide some stability and certainty.

Autonomy: I have a choice
People want to have control over their work. Micromanaging can threaten autonomy, while providing space and trust can increase it. Changes that limit autonomy may be met with resistance. If Autonomy is their dominant trigger, they will want to know whether the new way of doing things will give them more autonomy or less. Involving them will be critical to finding solutions that work for all involved.

Relatedness: I belong
People want to feel they belong and have supportive relationships. Changes that affect team composition or dynamics can create discomfort and resistance. Opportunities to get to know each other can help build trust. Also, leaders can use language such as “we” and “us” instead of “you,” “me,” and “they,” which signals a clear boundary between groups.

Fairness: I am treated fairly and others are treated fairly
People want to be treated fairly and perceive impartiality. Changes that seem unfair can trigger resistance. Lack of transparency implies you have something to hide, thus triggering the sense that things may not be fair.

Understanding these triggers and addressing them proactively can help reduce resistance. Providing clear communication, involving employees in decision-making, and promoting a sense of fairness can help create a smoother transition.

And Finally...

Earlier this week, I coached a sales leader who is going through a tremendous amount of change at her company. We talked about the SCARF framework, and it really resonated with her. She felt both Status and Relatedness were fine but needed work on Certainty, Autonomy and Fairness.

For Certainty, she felt she could ask better questions, be more proactive and add dates. For Autonomy, she said she needed more clarity about what matters to her new managers. She thinks she knows… but realized during our session that she is following her instincts and is not really sure. Fairness was an issue too for a similar reason. She is managing her team based on what she thinks, she “knows better”.

What is the insight? When you are facing change in your organization (and we all know that change is constant), maybe try the SCARF framework to see if you are on track and managing your teams to sync up with the company’s new direction.

If you would like to learn more about how Deb and I can help your team leaders more effectively manage change, reach out.

Have a great week.
Mary Jo

To learn more about my 1:1 executive, communication or business growth coaching, custom virtual workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at