It’s Not the Change…It’s the Transitions


In these days of continuous, almost unrelenting, ambiguity and change, it is important to bring some sense of targeted and tailored thinking to assist with self-management and the support of others.  The fact of the matter is that change is inevitable.  The additional reality is that it is very, very personal.  At Lori Stohs Consulting, we embrace the approach and the value of strengths.  We each individually possess natural gifts and talents; we have unique capabilities.  This appreciation of and for the individual also has relevance to change.  I have often said when equipping leaders for large-scale change, “remember, change it not at the pace of the leader, it’s at the pace of each and every individual going through it”.    

Consider the feature of change relevant to how we “go through it”.  With full credit cited for this aspect to William Bridges Associates, there is a tangible difference between change and transitions:

Change is the external event or situation that takes place: a new business strategy, a turn of leadership, a merger or a new product. The organization focuses on the desired outcome the change will produce, which is generally in response to external events. Change can happen very quickly.

Transition is the inner psychological process people go through as they internalize and come to terms with the new situation the change brings about. Empathetic leaders recognize change can put people in crisis. The starting point for dealing with transition is not the outcome but the endings that people have in leaving the old situation behind.”

The Bridges Transitions Model elevates this thinking to the senses, the actual aspects people go through.  These include a three-part approach and understanding:

  • Endings…the “Letting Go”, knowing what is over and will be no more, will be left behind
  • Neutral…the “Ambiguity”, when the old is gone but the new is not fully operational
  • Beginnings…” New Understandings”, new values, identities, understandings

Here is the Bridges Transitions Model depicted:

In application, consider it is not the change itself that is the challenge, it is the transitions we go through.  It may sound simple, but the best thing you can do for yourself is to recognize that you will process change and more importantly, transitions very, very individually.  You are who you are.  Draw upon your natural gifts and provide yourself with the time and grace to be “okay” with the transitions.  Also, do not go it alone!  Reach out for resources and include those you can count on for support.  Plus, be ready to give support, as well.

In closing, the current climate we are all in can provide us with both challenge and triumph.  People are proving every day that they can bring agility in times of ambiguity.  Change is inevitable.  Transitions occur.  But, just pause for a moment and consider this.  Consider the simple word…help.  I believe the more we think about getting help, we also are quick to provide it!  Be good to yourself…and to others.  We really are in it together! 

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