There are two kinds of organizational changes – planned and unplanned. Unplanned changes are just as the word implies; everyone goes through the transition process at the same time, including the leaders. In contrast, with a planned change, leaders have been actively engaged in research, analysis, deliberation, negotiation, discussion, etc. for some time, often many months or perhaps even years.
Food for Thought ~
For leaders involved in a planned change, their own personal transition process accompanied the change they were seeking to effect. It is likely they experienced a gradual adjustment throughout the planning phase. By the time the change is introduced to the rest of the organization, the leaders are personally several steps ahead or perhaps even through the major phases of their own transition. People just learning about the change may be in shock, dismay or confusion. Suffice it to say, a good leader needs to be acutely aware of this dynamic, maintain empathy and understanding, and skillfully manage the different timetables people will experience throughout the transition process.
Question of the day ~
Have you noticed the different “transition timetables” in changes you are leading or have led in your organization? How can you stay attuned with others who may be in a different phase in the transition process?
Managing change and transition is the subject of my new column in the North Bay Business Journal. To read the article, please click here.