on endings… transition management
I am listening to in to the audio book version of William Bridges´ “Managing Transitions – Making the most of change” these days on my way to work. He talks about transition management which is really the inner / psychological counterpart to change management.
He describes every transition as being a mix of 3 things… an ending, the neutral zone and a new beginning. Here some of his thoughts in the significance on “endings”:
“The single biggest reasons that organizational changes fail is that no one has thought about endings or planned to manage their impact on people! People forget that while the first task of change management is to understand the desired outcome and how to get there, the first task of transition management is to convince people to leave home. You save yourself a lot of grieve, if you remember that!”
Thinking about my own life and virtually any transition period, the most recent one switching from a sabbatical into work again, this is so true!
I wrote down the following checklist for myself and will try that on some smaller changes happening for some of the teams I work with:
- have I made it clear of why the ending is necessary for the continuity of the organization?
- did I study the change carefully and identify who is going to loose what, including myself?
- do I understand the subjective reality of the losses to the people who experience them?
- have I acknowledged those losses with sympathy?
- have I permitted people to grieve and protected them from well-meant attempts to stop them expressing their anger and sadness?
- have I publicly expressed my own sense of loss, if I feel any?
- have I found ways to compensate people for their losses?
- am I giving people accurate information and am I doing it again and again?
- have I identified clearly what is over and what isn´t?
- have I found ways to mark the ending?
- am I being careful to not denigrate the past and found ways to honor it?
- have I made a plan to give people a piece of the past to take with them?
- is the ending we are making big enough to make the ending in one step?
Let´s see how these questions can be applied in the everyday smaller transitions of a Scrum organization.