Change is inevitable, but not many managers handle it well. One framework that is recommended for managing change is the "Bridges Transition Model."
It suggests that change and transition are two different things.

Change is a situation in which something transforms. Transition, in contrast, is the inner process that people experience as they come to terms with a change.

The Bridges Transition Model breaks transitions down into three phases: an ending, a neutral zone, and a new beginning. These phases have the following characteristics:

* Phase 1: Ending. Every transition begins with an ending. Before a person can transition to a new beginning, they must first let go of the way things used to be.

* Phase 2: The Neutral Zone. This phase is a confusing state where people are no longer living in the past, but they have not yet reached a new beginning. The neutral zone can be draining, confusing, and distressing. However, it can also be a very creative place.

* Phase 3: New Beginning. In this final phase, people accept the change and begin to identify with the new situation.

Managers must recognize that before they can help team members begin the transition through change, they must first transition themselves. There are several strategies for helping employees transition:

* Planning strategies. Before a change is implemented, managers should discuss the transition with their teams and share the Bridges Transition Model. It is important for managers to be clear about what they believe is ending. This is also a good time to plan and schedule communications.

* Ending strategies. During this phase, managers should not be afraid to over-communicate. The "4Ps" can help to explain the change. They include: (1) what is the Picture, (2) what is the Purpose, (3) what is the Plan, and (4) what is my Part. The ending should be marked in a respectful and clear way that acknowledges losses.

* Neutral Zone strategies. Once employees enter the Neutral Zone, it is important to continue communicating the 4Ps. Temporary systems, policies, and processes can help make this phase seem more normal. Slowdowns in productivity are to be expected, so setting realistic targets is essential. In addition, managers should involve employees in the change plan. By working together, employees will view the change as less isolating.

* New Beginning strategies. As the transition enters its final phase, managers should still communicate the 4Ps. Every success, even small ones, should be celebrated. Managers should replace temporary policies with permanent ones that are consistent with the new situation. This phase is an appropriate time to reflect on the transitions that employees have made.

Author's Bio: 

Samantha Johnson is the online content creator for Business Book Summaries.

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