2. Balance of Importance & Time
- 3 stages of Transition for individuals & organizations:
o Ending, losing, letting Go
Resistance to change, uncertainty and fear, emotional upheaval
Disengagement / Dismantling / Disidentification / Disenchantment /
o The Neutral zone
Resentment to change, low morale, anxiety about role or identity,
skepticism, feeling of chaos
o The New Beginning
Acceptance of change, high energy, openness to learning, renewed
commitment to role/group
4. The main strength of the model is that it focuses on transition, not change. The difference between these is
subtle but important. Change is something that happens to people, even if they don’t agree with it. Transition,
on the other hand, is internal: it’s what happens in people’s minds as they go through change. Change can
happen very quickly, while transition usually occurs more slowly.
The model highlights three stages of transition that people go through when they experience change. These
5. 1. Ending, Losing, and Letting Go.
2. The Neutral Zone.
3. The New Beginning.
Bridges says that people will go through each stage at their own pace. For example, those who are
comfortable with the change will likely move ahead to stage three quickly, while others will linger at stages
one or two.
Stage 1: Ending, Losing, and Letting Go
People enter this initial stage of transition when you first present them with change. This stage is often
marked with resistance and emotional upheaval, because people are being forced to let go of something that
they are comfortable with.
At this stage, people may experience these emotions:
A sense of loss
People have to accept that something is ending before they can begin to accept the new idea. If you don’t
acknowledge the emotions that people are going through, you’ll likely encounter resistance throughout the
entire change process.
Guiding People Through Stage One
It’s important to accept people’s resistance, and understand their emotions. Allow them time to accept the
change and let go, and try to get everyone to talk about what they’re feeling. In these conversations, make
sure that you listen empathically and communicate openly about what’s going to happen.
Emphasize how people will be able to apply their skills, experience, and knowledge once you’ve implemented
the change. Explain how you’ll give them what they need (for instance, training and resources) to work
effectively in the new environment.
People often fear what they don’t understand, so the more you can educate them about a positive future, and
communicate how their knowledge and skills are an essential part of getting there, the likelier they are to
move on to the next stage.
Stage 2: The Neutral Zone
In this stage, people affected by the change are often confused, uncertain, and impatient. Depending on how
well you’re managing the change, they may also experience a higher workload as they get used to new
systems and new ways of working.
Think of this phase as the bridge between the old and the new; in some ways, people will still be attached to
6. the old, while they are also trying to adapt to the new.
Here, people might experience:
• Resentment towards the change initiative.
• Low morale and low productivity.
• Anxiety about their role, status or identity.
• Scepticism about the change initiative.
Despite these, this stage can also be one of great creativity, innovation, and renewal. This is a great time to
encourage people to try new ways of thinking or working.
Guiding People Through Stage Two
Your guidance is incredibly important as people go through this neutral period. This can be an uncomfortable
time, because it can seem unproductive, and it can seem that little progress is being made.
Because people might feel a bit lost, provide them with a solid sense of direction. Remind them of team goals,
and encourage them to talk about what they’re feeling.
Meet with your people frequently to give feedback on how they’re performing, especially with regard to
change. It’s also important to set short-term goals during this stage, so that people can experience some
quick wins ; this will help to improve motivation as well as giving everyone a positive perception of the change
Stage 3: The New Beginning
The last transition stage is a time of acceptance and energy. People have begun to embrace the change
initiative. They’re building the skills they need to work successfully in the new way, and they’re starting to see
early wins from their efforts.
At this stage, people are likely to experience:
• High energy
• Openness to learning
• Renewed commitment to the group or their role
Guiding People Through Stage Three
As people begin to adopt the change, it’s essential that you help them sustain it. Use techniques like
Management by Objectives to link people’s personal goals to the long-term objectives of the organization, and
regularly highlight stories of success brought about by the change.
Take time to celebrate the change you’ve all gone through, and reward your team for all their hard work.
However, don’t become too complacent – remember that not everyone will reach this stage at the same time,
and also remember that people can slip back to previous stages if they think that the change isn’t working.
7. Stage 1: Transitions start with endings
Identify who is losing what:
• Describe the change specifically and consider what is actually going to change
• Who will be affected?
• For each of them ask yourself “what are they going to let go of”
Accept the reality and importance of subjective losses:
• Listen to what the people around you are telling you
• Accept that their subjective perceptions need to be aired
• Loss is a subjective thing, so don’t immediately try to rationalise and be objective out
Acknowledge losses openly and sympathetically:
• What are you going to do to bring things out in the open?
• What are you going to say?
• How will this be communicated to everyone?
Be proactive – compensate for the losses:
• Many change initiatives fail because people only feel the pain
• What can you do to compensate for the losses that are being experienced?
• Brain dump some ideas(be creative here and think broadly) what can I give back to balance what’s
been taken away?
Define what’s over and what is not:
People get confused in change. People are asked to do some new things and stop doing some old
things – but which ones? Not specifying what is over and what isn’t runs the risks of three
8. • People won’t dare stop doing anything – they do all the new things and they will keep on doing all
the old things too. After a while they overload and the result is burn out.
• People will make their own decisions about what to discard and what to keep and the result will be
• People will toss out everything that was done in the past
Think through each aspect of the change you are implementing and be specific about what goes and
what stays. This takes time but undoing the damage caused by the above three problems takes
Mark the endings:
• Don’t just talk about the endings – embody and dramatise them by physically doing something
• Choose action as well as words to convey the endings
Stage 2 – Transitions have neutral zones
Normalise the neutral zone: the neutral zone is often associated with uncertainty, are more confused
or even impatient. This period is the bridge between the old and the new.
• Let them know it’s natural to be uncertain or scared
• People’s outlooks, attitudes, values may have to change, so think about how you can support this
Create temporary systems for the neutral zone:
What are some of the things you can do to give structure and strength during a time where people
are most likely to feel confused? Think about the following three areas:
• What should you carry on doing/what should you not forget to do?
• What might you need to do differently?
• What new things might you need to do or put in place?
Strengthen group relations and sense of “connectedness”
• What will you do to make sure teams are working together and individuals feel they have access
Understand the impact change is having:
• In times of change, managers don’t always get the real picture just by asking “how are things
going?” at team meetings. Make sure your communication network is broad, and that you are
prepared to hear what you don’t want to hear about the change.
• How will you ensure you have a broad view of the impact the change is having?
• Establish that the neutral zone is a great time to step back and take stock, and a time to question
the usual way of doing things and come up with new creative alternatives
• If people don’t know how to be innovation and creative perhaps now is the time to train them and
support them to allow them to put their learning directly into practice
• Brainstorm new answers to old problems – try to find 10-20 new/crazy ways of doing things and
refine them until one works better than the old way
Stage 3 – Transitions end with new beginnings
9. Beginnings are a relief in that we are getting on with it, we are stepping out of the murky neutral
zone, yet they are also challenging for us because:
• It makes us realise the change is real – we are really going to do this
• It might not work – it’s a gamble, and causes uncertainty
• It might trigger old memories or beliefs such as “ I can’t cope with new stuff” or “if this doesn’t
work we’ll be punished”
• If we found the neutral zone a chance to disengage and sit back, the new beginning is about
getting back to structure, accountability and possible pressure
Biblical Examples of Change / Transformation
Genesis 12:1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your
father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”
Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your
bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of
worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by
the renewing of your mind.
Philippians 3:12-14 But, one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward
what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me
heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off
your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the
attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true
righteousness and holiness.