Preparing for change – A reflection of William Bridges Transition Model

Article contributed by Maree Armansin, QCA President

We help our clients manage change in all aspects of their lives and now that QCA is about to undertake a historic change, it is important to reflect on how we are going to undertake this transformation. The William Bridges Transition Model of change refers to three phases that we move through.

Change is situational and external whereas transitions are internal and the psychological process that we go through to come to terms with the new situation. Change causes transition and the transition starts with an Ending.  It isn’t the change that people resist but the losses and endings that they experience and the transition they are resisting.

It is therefore important that QCA embraces and undertakes an ending process that acknowledges, celebrates, preserves the artefacts of and thanks those that have come before us. We want to ensure that we end well so that everyone can transition to the next phase which is referred to as the Neutral Zone.  This is the wilderness between what was and what will be. This period can be frustrating, but also a time of great creativity. It is where we get to look at how a new PACFA Queensland Branch will operate, what activities and structure we will have and how it will emerge. Finally, we come to the New Beginning stage and get on with the new way of doing things.

So often we expect people to embrace the new beginning before they are ready and this causes tension, a sense of grief and loss. Everyone arrives at these transitions at a different time, so we need to give people time to transition through the change.

Organisations are notorious for thinking staff have bad morale or are stuck when they, as managers have been contemplating the changes for some time so have effectively ended and been through the neutral zone prior to informing their staff.  Over the past few years, QCA has considered moving to PACFA but it was too soon. Hopefully, now we can have time to transition everyone to the new model and give them a chance to say their good-byes, then be part of the neutral zone, exploring ideas and co-designing the new way of being as we embrace our new beginning.

I hope you will join us on this journey.

Maree Armansin

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