What You Need to Know About Managing Transition

The late management consultant Peter Drucker once said, “The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic.” This quote addresses managing transition and its importance. Whether your business is changing leadership, introducing new processes, or innovating in another vital way, the following four strategies can help your company stay on track.

Know Where You Are and Where You Are Going

Image via Flickr by MattysFlicks

Transition involves a company moving from one point to another. To transition successfully, you need to understand where your company is now and where it hopes to be in the future.

Before transitioning, Inc. magazine explains that you need to understand the current state of your organization. Inc. suggests:

  • Taking an objective approach
  • Pinpointing the company’s flaws
  • Deciding how important it is to correct these problems

Once you know where your company stands, you should identify where you hope it will be after the transition, according to Inc. What would the company look like in a perfect world? Identifying what you hope for your company will help you evaluate whether the transition was successful or whether work still needs to be done.

Communicate the Reasons Behind the Transition

According to a Small Business Trends article by learning and development specialist Dale Kirke, Thales Training and Consultancy, clear communication with affected employees should occur before making any changes. All employees affected by the transition should learn why changes are occurring and the expected benefits of the transition.

Remember that communication is an exchange of ideas, so employees should be encouraged to share their concerns and give their opinions in this early stage. According to Kirke, failure to communicate “will almost certainly damage the change process before it has even properly begun.”

Implement Change in Phases When Possible

Dr. Andrea Simon, a cultural anthropologist and CEO of Simon Associates Management Consultants, wrote in a Forbes article that growing research from neuroscientists and cognitive scientists supports the theory that humans struggle to adapt to change. According to Simon, studies show the brain’s prefrontal cortex must work hard to process unfamiliar ideas. The mind maps created by habits are hard to break.

Since humans naturally struggle to adjust to change, Kirke believes it is smart to transition in phases when possible. For example, you might ask a small group of employees to use new software before implementing it across the organization. This approach makes coping easier for workers and easier for the company to assess the impact of its changes. When you evaluate at every phase, you can more easily pinpoint what is working and what isn’t.

Study New Ways of Coping

The business world is always changing. If you have been out of the educational system for some time, you can gain more qualifications which can help teach you new ways to cope with transition. Lessons about transformational change are a key part of programs such as a Master of Science in Management – Operations Management degree.

Managing transition can be challenging, but with the right strategies in place, your company will be well-equipped to cope with change.