I am reading a very interesting book for my directed study class. My class is on Organizational Change and one of the books is about leading people through transitions. Because of my current state of transition, I have found William Bridges’ book Managing Transitions very interesting. Here’s part of a paper I wrote, that I have adapted for my blog:
In the first chapter of this book, the author makes a point that was new to me. He distinguishes between the action of change and the psychology of transition and suggests that there is a three-step process for successfully moving through transition.
First, he says you must learn to let go of the old. In a sense, you have to allow yourself to grieve what you are leaving behind in order to embrace the new horizons ahead.
Next, you should expect to spend some amount of time in what Bridges refers to as the “neutral zone.” Many try to rush, skip or ignore this phase because it may seem painful or dangerous. However, because of the psychological nature of transition, allowing yourself adequate time in the “neutral zone” may be the most critical stage in the process. Bridges proposes that this time of limbo is “the time when innovation is most possible and when the organization [or person] can most easily be revitalized.”
Finally, you must begin to come out of the transition and embrace the new beginning (change). Moving into this phase gives you new purpose which provides the catalyst for solidifying change within an organization or your own life.
So…in case you haven’t been able to tell lately, I know that I’m in the “neutral zone.” Reading this book at this time, I’m sure, is no coincidence. I’ve really been able to relate to this book in a lot of ways, and even pass on some things I’ve learned to others. The funny thing about change and transition is that we’ve all be there, will be there, or are there now. However, I know for me, when you’re processing through it, it feels like you’re the only one. More on this book to come…