Last summer was one of upheaval for Leinster with Matt O'Connor stepping to replace previous coach Joe Schmidt, who departed to take the reins at Ireland.
And a disappointing exit from Europe as well as a mid-season dip in form has left Kearney convinced that only victory over the Warriors at the RDS on Saturday would ensure for a successful campaign.
"I think this year it's even more important, because there has been a lot of change," Kearney told the Irish Independent.
"Our performances have dipped a huge amount and I think it's a sign of a really good team if you are poor throughout a season and can still come away with a trophy at the end of it.
"I think, given our history over the last four or five years winning silverware, to envisage a season where that didn't happen would illustrate that you're taking a step back."