The concept of change is daunting to most people. Transitions can cause discomfort, anxiety and even stress. But change need not be so dramatic! When managed well, and with a positive outlook, change can be quite enjoyable. Especially when those affected understand the need for change and possible opportunities it brings.
Whatever the change, big or small, there is no need for panic. Most people fear change because they feel they need to jump straight into the new state. They do not realize there are phases to a successful change implementation.
There are different change management models based on the size and context of the change. Some common models for change management include ADKAR, Kotter’s 8-Step, McKinsey 7-S, Deming Cycle (PDCA), and Lewin’s Change Management Model. This blog will highlight the simplest of them all, the Bridges’ Transition Model by William Bridges.
The Bridges’ Transition Model takes people’s emotions into consideration while rolling out the change. This is what makes this model most effective. There are three sequential steps to the model:
Step one is dealing with “The Ending”. Before we can embrace change, we need to give ourselves enough time to let go of how things are now. During this phase, emphasis should be given on explaining the reason for the change and getting buy-in from all parties involved.
Next is “The Neutral Zone”, where planning for the change starts. This could be the most uncomfortable phase where questions, confusion and even doubt might surface. It is extremely important to stay on track during this step; remember the reason for change and address any morale issues that arise.
The third and final step in Bridges Model is “The New Beginning”. This is when change is fully embraced, and people begin to work and live in the new context. Change Officers can begin documenting what they have learned from the process. They can also measure the impact of the change.
As you can see from the steps above, Bridges’ Transition Model gives plenty of time for the concept of change to sink in, and for those affected to process it before jumping right into the change itself.
Change is never easy, even for those who have undergone many changes in their lives. Anyone who says otherwise is not being honest. But there is no reason for change to be daunting or scary. It boils down to the state of mind one chooses to adopt, and their commitment to see the transition through.
Next time you encounter a change, consider the potential it offers and give yourself sufficient time to go through the three steps of transition. For any assistance with your transitions, checkout our Change Management program here.