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Change vs. Transition. Change and Transition are not the same… Change = a shift in the external situation Transition = the psychological reorientation in response to change. Phases of Transition. Phase One: Endings.

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Change vs. Transition

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change vs transition
Change vs. Transition
  • Change and Transition are not the same…
  • Change = a shift in the external situation
  • Transition = the psychological reorientation in response to change
phase one endings
Phase One: Endings
  • Transition: when you realize you have to let go and leave the old situation/belief behind
  • Letting go often entails admitting what you have been denying or refusing to accept – namely, some kind of loss
endings change loss grief
  • Denial (this isn't happening to me!)
  • Anger (why is this happening to me?)
  • Bargaining (I promise I'll be a better person if...)
  • Depression (I don't care anymore)
  • Acceptance (I'm ready for whatever comes)
phase two the neutral zone
Phase Two: The Neutral Zone
  • The core of the transition process: The no-man’s-land between the old reality and the new.
  • A sense of endless wandering -- limbo between the old sense of identity and the new.
  • Both a dangerous and an opportune place
phase two the neutral zone1
Phase Two: The Neutral Zone


  • People frequently feel anxious and try to escape
  • Motivation falls, people miss workdays, old resentments reemerge
  • Systems are in flux, priorities get confused, information gets miscommunicated, tasks go undone
  • People respond slowly to competitive threats
phase two the neutral zone2
Phase Two: The Neutral Zone


  • When people begin to be creative, renew themselves
  • The lack of clear systems and signals may be a time ripe with creative opportunity
  • Freed from previous fixed ideas, people are willing to experiment
phase three beginnings
Phase Three: Beginnings
  • Beginnings are strange things. People want them to happen but fear them at the same time.
  • A new way of doing something involves risk and represents a gamble.
  • People fear they might get punished if they don’t succeed
  • If managed well it is a time of rebirth and excitement
  • A new vision: organizations articulate and communicate their new identity--they symbolize and celebrate it
  • Concrete steps are taken each day and week that leads people toward the new beginning
  • Concentration on a few quick successes reinforces the new vision.
transition phases
Transition Phases
  • Which phase represents where you are?
  • Stand in the zone marked in the room where you feel you currently belong
  • From groups of no more than 5 people
  • Talk about why each of you chose that step
  • Have one person ready to report common reasons for choosing this step
exploring your transition experience
Exploring your Transition Experience
  • Break into Pairs or Trios with others who are in the same phase
  • As you prepare for your conversation, please focus on listening with empathy
listening with empathy
Listening with Empathy
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Paraphrasing
  • Summarizing
  • Encouraging
  • Limiting advice
  • Being self-aware
For those in the Ending Phase:

What loss are you experiencing?

What is your emotional reaction – what stage are you in?

In previous loss experiences, what helped you to get to the stage of acceptance?

For those in the Neutral Zone Phase:

If you are sure you have completed the ending phase, how did you reach acceptance?

What emotions are you experiencing in the neutral zone?

What would it take for you to see opportunities, to renew yourself?

For those in the New Beginnings Phase:

What are you doing that is new, and that you are excited about?

What might be some of your fears?

If it is working well, what are some examples of how you are moving towards new beginnings?

managing transitions tips
Managing Transitions Tips


  • Expect and accept the signs of grieving as a natural reaction to loss.
  • Seek out and share information, and do it often.
  • Define what is over and what is not over. Focus on what you can still continue.
  • Acknowledge the endings. Avoid spending time looking back in order to reach closure.
managing transitions tips1
Managing Transitions Tips

Neutral Zone

  • Focus your energies on things over which you have control. Avoid spending your energy on things you cannot realistically influence.
  • Set short-term goals to give yourself a sense of achievement and of movement.
  • Use creativity to identify new ways of approaching challenging situations.
  • Accept the discomfort of the neutral zone, and that it may take time to achieve clarity.
  • Strengthen intra group connections, helping people move away form a feeling of isolation to rebuild a sense of identification with the group and of connectedness with one another.
managing transitions tips2
Managing Transitions Tips

New Beginnings

  • Recognize that you may be ambivalent because a beginning means the ending was real, and that there is an element of risk involved.
  • Realize that you cannot force a new beginning. You need to have reached closure on endings and sorted through the neutral zone.
  • Take an active role in contributing to strategies and plans that are moving in the new direction.
  • Celebrate short-term successes.
tools for dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity
Tools for Dealing with Uncertainty and Ambiguity
  • Decide what kind of leader you want to be during this time
  • Revitalize your connections to internal and external customers
  • Formulate clear messages about where the organization is going
tools for dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity1
Tools for Dealing with Uncertainty and Ambiguity
  • Establish clear priorities, focus on short-range objectives, and define each person’s job
  • Rebuild morale
  • Stay in touch with your people
individual task
Individual Task
  • Write down what insights you have had so far in the retreat that you would like to share with your team (e.g. HPN, EXO, etc.).
  • Review the 6 Tools for Dealing with Uncertainty and Ambiguity and the suggestions contained at the end of the Summary of Survey and Interviews document.
  • Identify which of the ideas in the Tools and Data Summary would be useful for you personally, and for your team.
in your team
In your team:
  • Each person shares
    • Insights from the retreat, and a tool or suggestion that they feel would be useful to them personally
    • Ideas of tools or suggestions the team could focus on
  • As a team
    • Identify 2 actions that you can take in the next 2 weeks within your team to better manage change and uncertainty
    • Identify 2 additional actions that you feel should take place across the organization to better manage change and uncertainty
    • Be prepared to report out your 4 recommended actions