What are your new beginnings after the pandemic that you are going to take on? You may ask: “What do you mean?”. Allow me to explain this by using Bridges’ Stages of Transition model.
Many of us had to abruptly let go of, what we now refer to as, the old way of conversing or communicating: face-to-face at the office. In one (cramped) meeting room. Or by the watercooler. Or in a nicely furnished huddle space.
Almost instantly, this was thrown out of the window and was turned into a virtual meetup. Sometimes with the webcam on. But more often you were staring at an avatar or someone’s initials.
This is just one example of letting go of the old ways of doing business. It was a necessity that no one questioned. But what else have we let go of? And have we fully embraced these new ways, also referred to as the new beginnings?
I will attempt to explain what we are all going through with the help of the Stages of Transition as they have been defined by Bridges in 1991. I hope it makes sense and that it will help you coming out stronger in the end.
Bridges’ Stages of Transition
William Bridges first published his “Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change” book in 1991. Ever since, more than 650,000 copies have been sold. According to his model, people go through three stages when transitioning from an old way of thinking, acting or behaving to a new way.
Fist Stage: Endings
During the endings stage, people are:
When the news broke about a highly contagious new virus, denial was probably one of the first reactions for most people. It’s far away. It won’t impact me. More people suffer from the seasonal flu.
The moment the virus was at nearly everyone’s doorstep, this all quickly changed. And other emotions and responses kicked in. Shocked, fear, and anger probably come to mind. How can this happen? Why was nothing done to stop it? Who is to blame?
It most likely did not take long until the next stage kicked in, not too long after this.
Second Stage: Neutral Zone
During the neutral zone stage, people are:
You probably remember seeking for answers when feeling and experiencing these emotions. Answer from leaders. From the government. Or from your business. From your family and your circle of friends.
What is the impact of this viral disease? On my health? My loved ones? On my work? On my finances? And on my hobbies?
It is not a surprise that when staying for too long in this stage, and in the previous stage for that matter, the toll it takes on you increases significantly. And accompanying stress levels can cause quite a bit of harm.
While all this may sound depressing, we also become hopeful during this stage. Particularly, when we hear about scientists making progress with finding cures. Or how first responders are saving lives. How your leaders made the right calls. Or how your support systems are there for you.
This creates new energy. Positive energy. Our survival instincts kick in. We get creative. Start making the most of change. We might as well, right?
This leads to the third stage.
Third Stage: New Beginnings
During the new beginning stage, people are:
First, let me say that if you have lost a loved one, this stage is probably not on your mind very soon. Or when you lost your job or caught the virus, it may take a bit before you’re getting excited and energized. I’m wishing you lots of strength and all my best.
If you don’t fall in any of these categories, you may already have become this creative genius who now knows how to scan a document with your mobile phone. Or the one who has designed a workspace at home people are complimenting you about. Maybe you now participate in virtual fitness classes. And how about those folks who started a non-profit organization that delivers groceries to the elderly and to those in need at no charge. Genius!
New Beginnings After the Pandemic
What are your new beginnings? With the end of the tunnel in sight, and hopefully with no hardship to deal with, the time is now to tap into your creative juices.
- What have you learned to be better prepared next time? Personally, and professionally? Maybe make a list? And come up with a plan you start implementing?
- How can you continue to benefit from your learnings when dealing with the new way of working? Or, from the new way of communicating and collaborating? Or, from new temporary ways of working that potentially could become more permanent?
- What have you learned from other people? Or. what have you learned about other people? Or, about yourself? Did you reach out to those alone? Did others reach out to you to check in frequently?
- Have your eyes been opened? Have you met with new people you would like to stay in touch with? People at work. People in your neighborhood. Volunteers.
- Have you been introduced to responsibilities, a job, or even a career, that you would like to seriously consider? Ranging from volunteer opportunities, to switching jobs or careers.
A Final Word
I hope that each of you has not been impacted (too much) during these challenging times. And if you have been, have faith and trust that all this will be behind us. And hopefully very soon.
Will the world around us be the same as it was before. Most likely not. Will it be better? Let’s go for that!
Intrigued by This Topic?
Does this topic of managing transitions intrigue you? If so, you may be interested in learning more about managing organizational change. I tend to refer to it as “people change”. In the end, people are the organization.
Managing organizational change is a profession. A capability that each of us should know about. At least at a fundamental level. The world around us is changing. At an ever-increasing rate.
This pandemic has accelerated change in a several areas. But more changes are going on already. Technology changes, business changes, economic changes, and social changes. How do you best deal with all these changes? Or maybe even take the lead on one or two?
If you would like to learn more about organizational change management, then consider participating in our Change Management Foundation Certification Training Course. INTERPROM is accredited by an APMG International for all Change Management courses.
Or, if you already have taken on change manager role, or aspire to become one, and would like to benefit from a personal coach, then consider our Change Manager Coaching Service.