Ready for the change? (The William Bridges Model)

Pretty sure all of you have faced or is currently facing a change in your life and fairly sure the current COVID 19 crisis is a key trigger or catalyst for personal or professional changes…
I gave some opportunities to reflect in my Resilience post or even in my Confinement one as both are related to major changes in your lives.
Some of these could be short, mid or even long term impacts on your ways of living.
Whatever, you will all need to manage these and go through multiple stages and best is to be prepared to face them and get an outcome that is as positive as possible!

Let’s start with Bridges Transition Model which is one of the most popular ones once talking about organisational change…

It is important to realise we all go through change at our own pace but we all go through the same stages as depicted these 2 graphs (only the format is different)

If you think of such a change with multiple people being impacted it is key to try to plot people on where they are in the chart so that you can develop your change strategy to get them through the curve.

Another key thought here is to get that you not only need to realise that part of your “normal” will end.
If you don’t get that critical message, it will be tough to move forward. It is one of the hardest thing to achieve e.g. in the corporate world that due to external forces a reorganisation is necessary and that one way or another you will be impacted, or in your personal life; loss of a dear one, cancer,…
It is tough to really realise that there is some definite statements or facts that will drive the change.
You need to clarify what is over and what is not and communicate accordingly so that all stakeholders are also aware and prepared for the change.
We will touch later on on the more detailed stages needed to take to go from this level to the next.

Once you identified what has ended, it is time to get ready to identify what you are losing due to the change, a role, a job, a fiend, a relative… this identification can help you understand how to react and start thinking of what you have to let go.
Letting go does not mean being nostalgic or erasing someone or something from your life but more sorting your ideas and thoughts to only keep what will help you to move on.
It is crucial to get this done to get a positive approach to keep going. Never forget that the overall purpose is to get you successfully through the change.
A quick hint here is to find ways to get some sense of closure using e.g. ceremonies of some sort so that you can show concretely what you leave behind.

Now that you made it to the Neutral Zone, this where, being between the old and the new “normal”, you will have to deal with the consequences of the change based on you identification and what you accepted to let go.
This stage is the one where you rebuild yourself, based on your experience and you prep yourself for the new world, this also means that you sharpen your saw for the next steps and set your spirit to be an actor and not a victim.
As for the previous phase, communication is a key factor so that temporary agreements can be found to achieve the destination. The destination also needs to be clarified and communicated.
New appropriate behaviours and attitude are also part of that destination.
This is also where you use everything at hand like training, mentoring, coaching to get yourself in the best psychological mindset possible (consider a psychologist as well if personal change) so that you can frame the new “normal” as best as possible.
The major pitfall here is to stay stuck in this phase and it is definitely to avoid! Else all previous effort will be meaningless and you would only live with ghosts and shadows till reality will hit you!
You know I am a pragmatic and this may save your sanity in this game.

Here you go, you made it to the new beginnings and you know what your new environment is and you feel prepared to face it!
This is where you start feeling like home now and your energy is positive so that you start performing.
It is time to create that clear picture of what your future should look like including your plan to get there.
Be open now to understand the new normal and your new positioning in this environment. This will also take your support and the support you need into account. This will help to remove the uncertainty and bring cohesion across.

It is obvious I guess to put in parallel personal and professional and realise that we go through the same phases.
It will be even clearer in the next post that will go deeper by talking about change curve and resistance to change.

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