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Transition Management in Organizations

Whether we like it or not, change is part of our lives. What is important is for us to be able to make the best from change, every time that change occurs.

Change is an event, change is a situation, change may simply happen… What really matters is how change and the transition that change triggers are managed in the way in which they impact concerned people.
I will never get tired of saying that, within companies and organizations in general, it is only up to people to make the difference to achieve success in the path triggered by change. I will never get tired of saying this because this is an evidence-proven fact, I witnessed it first-hand, and a large wealth of publications backed by rigorous scientific research can confirm it as well.
The full success of any change in any type of organization depends on the people who directly and indirectly participate in it. Recent research by McKinsey (2017) suggests that, in order for transformations to succeed, organizations need employee engagement at all levels, consistent communication, and improved people-centered strategies.
Data show that only 30% of projects involving more or less extensive changes (structural and organizational changes, acquisitions, mergers, outsourcing and insourcing, new business strategies, new management, or new leadership) have a totally positive outcome. 70% of the projects do not reach the expected objectives, and out of this 70%, as much as 30% it a complete failure.
Transition Management means to support change (ongoing or upcoming) by involving people at all levels, ensuring consistent communication, and adopting people-centered strategies.
It means to realize a rigorous program of targeted and concrete interventions to support the transition experienced by individuals and teams, and by the entire organization as the sum of individual transitions.

This is what William Bridges, who inspired the approach I propose and with whom I have had extensive practical field experience, calls "The human side of change": Transition Management is about taking into account the human side of every change in order to achieve 3 fundamental goals:

  1. Security in the success of change implementation;
  2. Acceleration of the implementation timeline;
  3. Numerous and often unexpected benefits compared to the initially planned goals

Typical of every Transition Management intervention is its high degree of customization.
All aspects at stake must be absolutely clear: type of change(s) planned or ongoing, individuals involved internally and externally by change(s), execution times, any required buy-in intervention, budget, etc.

A Transition Management intervention following the William Bridges Model typically includes three phases:

  1. Complete awareness and management of what has ended (Endings), and needs to be left behind
  2. Central role of each individual in transitioning from Endings to new Beginnings: awareness, creativity, communication, action
  3. Strategies and consolidation for new Beginnings

And three possible levels:

  1. Individual Transition in Organizations (individual level of people impacted by change)
  2. Managing Organizational Transition (referred to those in charge of managing the change process)
  3. Leading Organizational Transition (referred to those who have a leadership role in the organization impacted by change)

The levels can be integrated and the implementation plan will be fully customized in order to obtain the greatest benefits while respecting customers’ need and resources availability.

The average duration of a Transition Management project varies from 6 to 12 months

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