“Every beginning is a consequence” writes the French poet, Paul Valery, “because every beginning ends something.”
William Bridges might be called a change specialist since he was among the first to predict the changing nature of careers in his provocative book, Jobshift. Based in Mill Valley, CA, the former English professor reinvented himself as a change consultant. In 1993, the Wall Street Journal named him one of the top most popular executive management consultants in the country. Apparently the transition went well!
He writes, “it isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions. Change is situational: the move to new site, reorganization of rules. Transition on the other hand is psychological – a three phase process people go through as they internalize and come to terms with the details of the new situation change brings about. Change without transition is just a rearrangement of the chairs. As someone has said, “Just because everything has changed, don’t think that anything is different around here!”
Three stages of a transition:
- Ending, losing, letting go
- Neutral zone
- New beginning
Notice that transitions start with an ending and end with a beginning. This “human process” of transition cannot be hurried, even by the best transition team and timeline. As someone once said: “It takes nine months to have a baby, no matter how many people you put on the job.”