“It isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions. They aren’t the same thing. Change is situational – the move to a new site, the retirement of the founder, the reorganizations of roles on the team, revisions to defined benefits. Transition on the other hand, is psychological. It’s the process people go through as they internalize and come to terms with the details of the new situation that the change brings about.” -William Bridges, Managing Transitions, 3rd Edition.
We usually feature a guest on our bi-monthly podcast. This time Tom and Adrienne chat about leading transitions. This conversation is timely as we enter a new season. Summer disrupts schedules for all of us. Our schedules have been disrupted for multiple reasons over the last couple years. Add this “normal” transition to the mix and emotions run high.
Adrienne points out, in agreement with the Bridges quote, it’s not the change, it’s the uncertainty. As the founder of Positive Delta
The purpose of this conversation is to capture a few gems on effectively managing transitions (while maintaining sanity):
- Give yourself and others some grace – We don’t know what we don’t know. Let’s go with what we know and adjust as needed. Don’t wait until all the information is available.
- The opposite of reactive is not proactive – it’s responsive – To give our best response, begin with a pause. Adrienne is reminded regularly in her personal life what she teaches at the organizational level. It’s easy to forget the pause. To give our best response, we must create space tothink about what matters most – to self, to others, to the result. Forgetting the pause makes us more likely to be swept away in the flurry of reaction. Find a way to clear the mind on transitions. Keep practicing!
- Communicate in the gaps between the decision and the execution – On the organizational level, it’s tempting to defer communicating the change until the information is all in. Apply the same principle. Anticipate the change, communicate – as fully as you can – tell them what you know, tell them what you don’t know, tell them when you’ll know more.
We pull it all together with these 5 Steps: Pause > Name it > Claim it > Document it > Communicate it.
As always, we’d love to hear from you about your insights, challenges, and successes around leading (self and others) through transitions.
Tom & Adrienne