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Managing Transitions

by William Bridges

William Bridges focuses on the psychological factors that hinder or support the ability of individuals to change. He emphasizes the need to help people let go of the status quo and embrace the new situation. The change leader’s job is to help make the transition as easy as possible.

Bridges offers a three phase transition process:

  • Ending, losing, letting go
  • The neutral zone
  • The new beginning

A transition is usually accompanied by a range of negative emotions such as denial, shock, anger and stress. After letting go, people may suffer from a lack of confidence and reduced productivity while in the neutral zone. Finally, with rediscovered hope and enthusiasm, people may embrace a new beginning.

An organization’s leaders play a key role in making change work by ensuring there is a steady stream of communication about what needs to be let go and the benefits of the new beginning.

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