Checklist for Managing Transitions (William Bridges)

1. Checklist for Managing Endings (Letting Go)

Have I studied the change carefully and identified who is likely to lose what – including what I myself am likely to lose?
Do I understand the subjective realities of these losses to the people who experience them, even when they seem to me to be overreacting?
Have I acknowledged these losses with sympathy?
Have I permitted people to grieve and protected them from well-meant attempts to stop them from expressing their anger or sadness?
Have I publicly expressed my own sense of loss, if I feel any?
Have I found ways to compensate people for their losses?
Am I giving people accurate information and doing it again and again?
Have I defined clearly what is over and what isn’t?
Have I found ways to “mark the ending”?
Am I being careful not to denigrate the past but, when possible, finding ways to honor it?
Have I made it clear how the ending we are making is necessary to protect the continuity of the organization or conditions on which the organization depends?
Is the ending we are making big enough to get the job done in one step?

2. Checklist for the neutral zone

Have I done my best to normalize the neutral zone by explaining it as an uncomfortable time that can be turned to everyone’s advantage?
Have I redefined the neutral zone by choosing a new and more affirmative metaphor with which to describe it?
Have I reinforced that metaphor with training programs, policy changes, and financial rewards for people to keep doing their jobs during the neutral zone?
Am I protecting people adequately from inessential future changes?
Have I created the temporary roles, reporting relationships, and organizational groupings that we need to get us through the neutral zone?
Have I set short-range goals and checkpoints?
Have I set realistic output objectives?
Have I found ways to keep people feeling that they still belong to the organization and are valued by our part of it?
Have I set up one or more Transition Monitoring Teams to keep realistic feedback flowing upward during the time in the neutral zone?
Have I encouraged experimentation and seen to it that people are not punished for failing in intelligent efforts that do not pan out?
Am I regularly checking to see that I am not pushing for certainty and closure when it would be more conducive to creativity to live a little longer with uncertainty and questions?

3. Checklist for new beginnings

Am I distinguishing in my own mind, and in my expectations of others, between the planned schedule (change management) and the psychological beginning (transition)?
Have I taken care of the “ending” and the “neutral zone”, or am I trying to make a new beginning happen before it possibly can?
Have I helped people to discover as soon as possible the part that they will play in the outcome of these changes, and how that outcome will affect the part they currently play within the organization?
Have I ensured that everyone has a part to play in the transition management process and that they understand their part?
Have I checked to see that policies, procedures, and priorities are consistent with the new beginning I am trying to make so that inconsistencies aren’t sending a mixed message?
Am I watching my own actions carefully to be sure that I am effectively modeling the attitudes and behaviors I am asking other to develop?
Have I found ways, financial and nonfinancial, to reward people for becoming the new people I am calling upon them to become?
Have I built into my plans some occasions for quick success to help people rebuild their self-confidence and to build the image of the transaction as successful?
Have I found ways to celebrate the new beginning and conclusion of the time of transition?
Have I given people a piece of the transition to keep as a reminder of the difficult and rewarding journey we all took together?

Source: Managing Transitions – William Bridges

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