William Bridges focuses on transitions and the psychological changes that lie behind significant organizational change. He maintains that the situational changes are not as difficult for companies to make as the psychological transitions of the people impacted by the change.
William Bridges’ theory involves a three-phase process of:
(1) Ending, Losing, Letting Go – helping people deal with their tangible and intangible losses and mentally prepare to move on.
(2) The Neutral Zone – critical psychological realignments and re-patterning takes place. This is all about helping get people through it, and capitalizing on all the confusion by encouraging them to be innovators.
(3) The New Beginning – helping people develop the new identity, experience the new energy, and discover the new sense of purpose that make the change begin to work.
Bridges’ attention is focused on helping people discover, accept, and embrace their new identities in the new situation. He theorizes how these life stages can become a constant cycle of organizational renewal via the creation of a culture that embraces and nurtures change as a way of life.
In the best-selling “Managing Transitions” Bridges provides a clear understanding of what change does to employees and what employees in transition can do to an organization. He addresses the fact that it is people who have to carry out the change.
“A change can work only if the people affected by it can get through the transition it causes successfully.” In a recent article, William Bridges also said; “It still surprises me how often organizations undertake changes that no one can describe very clearly.” He suggests answering the following questions in preparing for the change:
(1) What is changing?
(2) What will actually be different because of the change?
(3) Who’s going to lose what?