Managing change

Following on from yesterday’s post.

I paused yesterday’s post by writing this:

In addition, Dr. Lee said to always THINK BIG! Big in voice, big in attitude, big in stature.

Finally, let me share with you what was posted on the Visible Procrastinations blog back in 2009. Reposted with the author’s permission.


Change is unavoidable for everyone one of us. Some changes are certainly wonderfully positive ones. Others not quite so. But the thing about change is that whatever the reason in one’s life for having to experience change it has a disruptive effect.

Today’s post leans heavily on that Visible Procrastinations (VP) post but the main theme is fully endorsed by yours truly!


My Change Journey

Some notes from My Change Journey: This workshop is designed to help you understand your emotional and psychological needs during times of change and strategies you can use to take control of your own change journey. It also focuses on creating opportunities and seeing possibilities in the new world of work.

change – an event that occurs when something passes from one state or phase to another;

transition – the act of passing from one state or place to the next

Seeing the Big Picture

Many times we do not always see the bigger picture.

There are two examples of that; the first is this rather delightful 5-minute video that is just a bit of fun to watch. The second comes along shortly.

Experiencing Transitions

When change is implemented at any level in an organisation or personally, people typically respond by moving through a series of phases. People will spend different times in each phase. This is a crucial thing to understand and is at the heart of why change is always disruptive and frequently unsettling.

Take a few moments to reflect on the next item; this three-phase framework.

Bridges (1995)William Bridges (1995) Bridges’ three-phase transition framework: The first phase, the Ending phase, is about letting go of an old identity, an old reality or an old strategy. The Neutral Zone is akin to crossing the wilderness between the old way and the new. The final phase is making a new beginning and functioning effectively in a new way.

I am going to reinforce this message because it underpins everything to do with us understanding the business of change. Especially when we have to deal with unsettling events!

Ending – Letting go of what has been.

Neutral Zone or The Bridge – yes, it does feel like a ‘wilderness’ in some circumstances. Give it time!

Starting – Embracing the new way and making it work really well for you.

The key is to allow each phase plenty of time to take effect; frequently much longer than one senses!

The Process of Transition

John Fisher’s model of personal change – The Transition Curve – is an excellent analysis of how individuals deal with personal change.
J.M.Fisher’s ‘transition curve’

(More may be read here: especially here: )

Influencing and exploring options

“You should only worry about things that are within your sphere of influence.”

This is such a key message. So take a long hard look at the things that make you anxious or worry you. Then clearly identify those things over which you have no or very little control. Then walk away from them!

There’s a great book: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, from which is taken:

You should only worry about things in your “sphere of influence.” If you have no control over certain aspects of your life, why bother worrying about them?

circle of concern

Mental Models: our way of seeing the world

(NB. This includes the second example of seeing the bigger picture)

Mental models are usually tacit, existing below the level of awareness. Another way of thinking about them is as a paradigm. This is a big topic and I am going to return to it by way of a separate post, probably one day next week.

But this second example of not seeing the bigger picture is also stirring the deeper waters of one particular personal paradigm.

Take 1000
add 40 to it
Now add another 1000
Now add 30
Add another 1000
Now add 20
Now add another 1000
Now add 10
What is the total?
Did you get 5000? The correct answer is actually 4100.

P.S. The number of times I did this, adding it up in my head, and finding it came to 5000. Then I did it on a calculator and it came to 4100. Talk about the eyes looking but not seeing!!

But there’s an important message. If you, as me and Jeannie did first time around, made it 5000 then you are demonstrating that what your eyes see, interpreted by your brain, isn’t necessarily correct.

So if it’s important: Give it a coating or two of thought!

Moving on!

The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook by Peter M. Senge


Amado, G., & Ambrose A. (Eds.) (2001) The Transitional Approach to Change. London: Karnac

Amado, G., & Vansina, L. (Eds.) (2004) The Transitional Approach in Action. London: Karnac

Bridges, W. (1998) Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change London: Nicholas Brealey.

Bridges, W. & Associates (online resources to articles and assessment tools for ‘Managing Transitions’)

Bunker, K. (2008) Responses to Change: Helping People Make Transitions San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Covey, S.R. (1990) The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People Melbourne: The Business Library

Duck, J. (1993) Managing Change: the art of balancing Harvard Business Review, 71 (Nov/Dec): pp.109-118

Ethical work and life learning (Free online education for ethical work, business, career and life learning; training materials for entrepreneurs, organizations, seflf-development, business management, sales, marketing, project management, communications, leadership, time management, team building and motivation)

Fischer, P. (2008) The New Boss: How to Survive the First 100 Days. London: Kogan Page.

Johnson, S. (1999) Who Moved My Cheese? An amazing way to deal with change in your work and in your life London: Vermillion

O’Hara, S. & Sayers, E. Organizational change through individual learning. Career Development International, 1 (4): pp. 38-41

Rogers, C.R. & Roethlisberger, F.J (1991) Barriers and gateways to communication. Harvard Business Review (Nov-Dec): pp.105-111

Stuart, R (1995) Experiencing organizational change: triggers, processes and outcomes of change journeys Personnel Review, 24 (2): pp.3-88

Vansina, L. & Vansina-Cobbaert, J-M (2008) Psychodynamics for Consultants and Managers: From Understanding to Leading Meaningful Change. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons

Williams, D (1999, 2008 update) Transitions: Managing Personal and Organisational Change.


Tomorrow I cover the specifics of what took Jeannie (and me) to OHSU in Portland and the consultation with Dr. John Nutt and what flowed from that!

I so hope you found in today’s post some nuggets of personal gold for you!

I will close with a quote from the BrainyQuote site:

10 thoughts on “Managing change

  1. Change is the only constant in life. I went through a transition phase 2 years ago & now I am in a weird limbo land. However, I went through another upheaval this year. I have read about these principles when I worked for a fortune 500 company. Great share.


  2. What a wonderful post to find myself returning to Paul, Change is most definitely in the air.. And a big smile to your reply to Val, Acceptance! Yes the Key.. Something I too have been evolving and shifting into 🙂


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