Saturday, February 20, 2010


Notes from one of my classes today:

In a book called Transitions by William Bridges, icebergs are presented as an analogy of changes/transitions in our lives.

Icebergs float because they are less dense than sea water.  (icebergs: 900 kg/cubic meter, sea water: 1025kg/cubic meter).  This density differential results in about 1/8 of the mass of any given iceberg showing above the surface of the water, and 7/8 beneath the surface.

In Transitions, William Bridges posits that "change", the external part of a shift in our lives equates to about 1/8 of the total experience, while "transition", the internal part, is the substantially more significant part of the experience.

The following are the (primarily internal) "Phases of Change" that Bridges describes:
- disengage
- dismantle
- disidentify
- disenchanted
- disoriented
Neutral Zone
- anxiety up, motivation down
- new weaknesses emerge
- confusion and creativity
New Beginning
- settle in
- sense of security/permanence
- ability to 'move forward'

Transitions happen at many levels (work, personal, children, etc.), and the all three of phases of change are often experienced--to varying degrees--simultaneously.

"Almost anything is easier to get into than out of."  -Agnes Allen

"There's no real beginning, until there is an end."  -Paul Godfrey

"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter into another."  -Anatole France

Four factors to consider about transitions:
- Endings always come before beginnings
- Endings usually recycle old ending scripts
- There is not a specific timetable for endings
- No two endings are alike. (Your ending is not my ending.)

Four Managing better endings (change):
- identify who will be losing what.
- be specific and detailed about what will be different
- be specific about what is not going to change.  ("
- what is the "causal "chain" of secondary causes.  (If we initiate this change, what are the behaviors/reactions we should expect from people going through the related transition?)
- who will have to let go of what?  peer group? roles? promotions? values? expectations?
- What will be over for everyone?

The first task of change management is to help people understand the desired change and make it happen.

The first task of transition management is to convince people to leave home.

1 comment:

Lhone said...

loved the quotes. i'm not sure i understood the iceberg thing. did i have to be there?