“Change happens to people. Transition, on the other hand, is internal: it’s what happens inside people’s minds when they’re presented with change.”
Dr. W Bridges
The previous blog highlighted the three phases of the transition period, as written by Dr. William Bridges in his book called Managing Transitions – Making the Most of Change. Here are a few strategies that Bridges recommends for helping staff deal with each phase:
¨ Identify who’s losing what
¨ Accept the relativity and importance of the subjective losses
¨ Expect and accept the signs of grieving
¨ Compensate for the losses
¨ Give people information, and do it again and again
¨ Define what’s over and what isn’t
¨ Treat the past with respect
¨ Show how endings ensure continuity of what really matters.
The Neutral Zone
People need to realise that this is a time when a necessary re-orientation and redefinition is taking place, rather than just meaningless waiting, fear and confusion. Some strategies are:
Create temporary systems for the Neutral Zone
Try to protect people from further changes; review/create policies, procedures and roles to help people deal with this time; set short-range goals and checkpoints.
Strengthen intragroup connections
Old problems and resenments are likely to resurface. It is therefore important to rebuild a sense of identification with the group and connectedness with each other.
Use a transition monitoring team
A transition monitoring team is valuable – a group of 7-12 people from as wide a cross-section of the organisation as possible, can provide management with important feedback, and also let staff know that their views and feelings are important.
Use the Neutral Zone creatively
Capitalise on the opportunity that the Neutral Zone provides to do things differently and better.
3. New Beginnings
¨ Time it properly
¨ Clarify and communicate the purpose
¨ Don’t expect positive results prematurely
¨ Create a plan, and give people a part to play in the plan
¨ Reinforce the new beginning:
- Be consistent
- Ensure quick successes and celebrate them
- Symbolise the new identity
How do you and your organisation rate in terms of implementing the above strategies?
What (if anything} needs to change?