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Transition and Change - Bridges

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Transition and Change - Bridges

  1. 1. BRIDGES: TRANSITION AND CHANGE Transition +/- Change Last winter I attended the Indiana Youth Institute’s annual conference and heard famous country singer/songwriter, Naomi Judd speak. One of her quotes was “Change is the only constant. You better learn to like it and live with it.” Because change is constant and so relevant to all of us on a daily basis, we are exploring the relationship between change and transition. Change refers to the external – it is the situation, policy, practice or new event. Transition on the other hand is internal. It is the psychological process people go through to come to terms with the new situation. It is the process of letting go of an old reality and moving to accept a new reality. In between, there are losses. So, transition is the result of change and often what causes the most challenges for individuals and organizations alike. Transition must occur for change to work! William Bridges is a renowned speaker, consultant and writer on change and transition. He has published 10 books, including Managing Transitions, Transitions and The Way of Transition. According to William Bridges, transition requires people to participate in three separate processes. These include: 1. Saying Goodbye. Letting go of the way that things were including the way people engaged or accomplished tasks that made them successful in the past. They must let go of what feels to them like their whole world of experience and their sense of identity. 2. Shifting into Neutral. That in-between state full of uncertainty and confusion. Coping seems to take most of people’s energy. For successful transition, Bridges notes that an organization and its people must spend some time in the neutral zone as it is where creativity and energy are found and real transformation takes place. 3. Moving Forward. People begin behaving in a new way with new competencies and values. Within these three processes, Bridges suggests leaders manage transitions by: 1. Describing the change and why it must happen, and do so succinctly – in one minute or less. 2. Ensuring details of the change are planned carefully and that someone is responsible for each detail. 3. Understanding just who is going to have to let go of what – what is ending (and what is not) – and what must be let go of. 4. Ensuring steps are taken to help people respectfully let go of the past. These may include ensuring everyone has the information they need and understanding the symptoms of grieving. 5. Effectively Communicating – the “4 P’s” of transition communications:
  2. 2. • The purpose: Why we have to do this • The picture: What it will look/feel like when we reach our goal • The plan: Step-by-step, how we will get there • The part: What you can do to help us move forward 6. Creating temporary solutions to the temporary problems and the high levels of uncertainty found in the neutral zone. 7. Helping people launch the new beginning by articulating the new attitudes and behaviors needed to make the change work – and then modeling, providing practice in and rewarding those behaviors and attitudes. References Bridges, William. Managing Transitions – Making the Most of Change. Perseus Books, 1991. Kotter, John P. Leading Change. Harvard Business School Press, 1996. http://leadertoleader.org/leaderbooks/L2L/spring2000/bridges.html source of this article: http://www.tld.org/pages/245_annie_s_assessment_transition_change.cfm?redirect

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