Hello again

Welcome to a managers tip this week, for helping your team members through the psychological transition process during organisational change.

As I previously mentioned transition is different to change in that change is situational (new job, new office etc) and transition is psychological (will I be able to do the new job? will I get along with my new boss? etc) The processes are of course inter-related and inter-dependant, however are quite different.

Change starts with a new beginning and transition starts with an ending. If you think about starting a new job for example, the old job had to end first. In organisations we don’t ‘do’ endings very well. This can be seen over and over again when organisations merge, and years later you can still ‘sort’ people into who used to work for which previous company, by the way they speak, act, and the stories they tell.

People can sometimes cling doggedly onto emotional ties with the ‘old’ company which hinder them from truly merging and developing into a new organisational structure. Why cling? because the ending of the old company wasn’t attended to properly. Transition is like grief; we need help to move through stages to a new beginning.

Here are a few hints and tips from the work of William Bridges, regarding ending properly, to allow people to move forward:

  • Increase organisational messages about WHY the change is necessary
  • Remember that as a manager, research shows that you have probably worked through your transition more quickly than your team members, they need more time to catch you up. This can cause communication problems because you might interpret their lack of understanding as resistance when it isn’t.
  • Be as clear as you can about what is ending and what isn’t for individuals within your team. Who will lose what for example. It might be hard for people to accept, but at least they know where they stand.
  • Mark the ending in some way.
  • Ensure you have a range of information giving options regarding the changes to be made. Telling people over and over again the same way as you did before, won’t get better results and will probably only cause frustration.

Finally, during organisational change, treat the past with respect. Increase the messages that the past got you all to where you are now, and that you are going to build on what was great about that to help you all move forward.

Helping you, your organisation and your teams through changing times with the BOUNCE Programmes. visit www.cmcconsulting.org

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