Issue No. 64 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting is all about change and transitions. This week’s author writes, “Imagine that the change [you’re planning] is a cue ball rolling across the surface of a pool table. There are lots of other balls on the table, and it’s going to hit a few of them, some because you planned it that way and some unintentionally. Try to foresee as many of those hits as you can.” And this reminder, visit the archives here to scan my mini-reviews of more than 60 books.
Change Is External. Transition Is Internal.
When this book was first published in 1991, it was recognized as the definitive guide to dealing with change. Now 400,000 copies later—it still holds that position. If it’s not on your organization’s resource shelf, it needs to be.
William Bridges writes, “It isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions. Change is not the same as transition. Change is situational: the new site, the new boss, the new team roles, the new policy. Transition is the psychological process people go through to come to terms with the new situation. Change is external, transition is internal.”
Being the boss is not always what it’s cracked up to be. When the book was first published, according to Bridges, employees were winning more than half of the wrongful discharge cases filed. “Stress-related disability, including the claimed stress of working for you, is another increasingly common complaint.”
Change is a given—but how thoughtful leaders and managers handle the psychological impact of transitions requires both understanding the problem and understanding and executing three critical steps. In Step 1, you must understand that transition begins with letting go of something. In Step 2, you enter the neutral zone (the no man’s land between the old reality and the new). Some will abort in this zone, not wanting the pain. But it’s also the place where creativity, renewal and development will often occur. “The neutral zone is thus a dangerous and opportune place, and it is the very core of the transition process.” Step 3 is the new beginning, but it’s often torpedoed because leaders don’t mark an appropriate end to the neutral zone (or skip it altogether). The new beginning can only be effective when your people go through the first two steps.
Before you announce the next big change at your shop—order this book from Amazon by clicking on the graphic below: Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change, by William Bridges.
Note: For a free 21-page article (PDF), “Getting Them Through the Wilderness,” by William Bridges, describing how Moses transitioned the Israelites out of Egypt and into the Promised Land, visit the William Bridges & Associates website and click on the article in the “Resources” section.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
#1. Think back over some of the more significant changes we’ve made here in the last 12 months. How did those changes affect you: physically, emotionally and spiritually? Were you surprised at the effects of those changes?
#2. How much training, orientation or briefing have you had on the psychological effects of change and transitions? Would you invest two to three hours to read a book or listen to an audio book on “Managing Transitions?” Why or why not?
The Hoopla! Bucket & the Ho Ho Hum Annual Christmas Party - Insights from the Management Buckets Workshop Experience
The amount of time and money your team invests in planning and executing your annual Christmas luncheon, dinner or party is likely ten times the time and money you invest on identifying the event’s goals and outcomes. Get a restaurant, pick a menu, bring some gifts—and bingo!—you’ve got your party.
But…at the end of the event, was it another Ho Ho Hum evening, or did it knock-the-socks off the veterans, the first-timers and any spouses who attended? Here are five steps for creating more effective hoopla: 1) Survey guests in advance to discern expectations; 2) Include a senior team member on the event planning committee who is responsible for the outcomes; 3) Write down one or two goals for the event—and how success will be measured; 4) Build the invitation, the program and the follow-up around the outcomes; and 5) Survey your people after the event with a five-point rating scale. Don’t allow anecdotes (good or bad) to tilt the evaluation. Use the five-point rating scale. You measure what you value. Merry Christmas!
NEXT STEPS: I can help you integrate these leadership and management tips and best practices into your unique setting and help you assess your competencies in the 20 management buckets. Visit my website.
To bring a one-day or two-day Management Buckets Workshop Experience to your organization or city, call our office at 949/500-0334. Ditto for the six-hour Nonprofit Board Governance Workshop for board members and senior leaders.