Life is full of transitions. They come in business, times of personal growth, relationships, and within organizations. Transition can be defined as the moving from one place, situation, or relationship into another. And for most, this can be a tremendously difficult time.
If you happen to be a mother, or stood by a woman giving birth, you will remember the birth stage of transition quite clearly. This last phase of delivery could be described with words like…
Transitions also carry those same characteristics. As we find ourselves leaving a position, location, or relationship, there is a letting go of the old. It can be a time of sorrow as the old begins to fade away. This period can be marked with emotional turmoil as we say goodbye to those things which we once held dear.
But it is also a time of new beginnings, a fresh start that brings excitement and adventure. As we envision the next phase on the horizon, our hopes begin to soar and new possibilities begin to emerge. We ride the roller coaster of emotional highs and lows.
Transitions remind me of crossing a no-mans land. When Paul and I traveled to the historic city of Petra, we started in Israel and crossed the border into Jordan. As we left the security gate of Israel and our tour guide, we had to walk about 100 yards before crossing into Jordan. It was strange. No guards. No nationality. We were literally between two counties. It was reassuring to finally pass through the border gates into Jordan and realize we had arrived.
That’s transition. A no-mans land between two states. The old is not gone, but the new has not yet arrived. Neither one is fully operating. The result can leave a person with a lot of uncertainty.
Since transition is such a common and perplexing part of life, how can we best handle it? Here are my suggestions for traversing this no-mans land of transition:
#1 Evaluate what will be left behind and what will continue as part of your life. Transitions are the time to weigh what part of our lives are truly necessary and beneficial versus what is expendable. T
hose things that remain the same offer stability during the new phase. Some parts of your life will shift according to your position, relationship, or location. Relationships may change because of a promotion. Friendships that were close may now have to stretch across thousands of miles. What do you want to hold onto and what will you let go?
#2 Be willing to release the old to embrace the new. I personally think this is the most difficult part, because of the emotional attachment and memories associated with the past. It may come down to simply making a decision. What can I release and leave behind? You may find yourself wrestling with a load of guilt, but allow yourself the freedom to embrace the next chapter of life.
#3 Discuss your change with those who might be affected. Be honest and sincere. Change will impact you, but more than likely your new position will affect others close to you. Plan ahead about how to bridge any gaps and diffuse any potential confusion. Discuss the positives and consider the negatives and how they might be diminished.
#4 Consider the open doors before you and what lies beyond. What are the possibilities? How will this new stage of life reward you? What are the benefits? Try to anticipate your reactions as new patterns, experiences, and associations begin to form. Life is an adventure…embrace it!
# 5 Stay flexible. In the midst of the ebb and flow of transition, try to find your moorings, but remain flexible. A boat tied to the dock rises and falls with the tide, but it is attached to a solid foundation. As for me, I place my faith in the one who never changes. God is the one fixed element in my life that is my anchor. As I sense the old patterns slipping away, I am determined not to allow fear to overwhelm me.
#6 Be patient. Easier said than done! We always look for the shortcut, but often there is just a long path meandering before us. As you experience a roller-coaster range of emotions, struggle with the physical tasks, and plot a new course forward, give yourself permission to rest. If you are like me, I am always wanting it done yesterday, and get frustrated whenever my timetable is not met. With this move to South Carolina, I face a garage full of bins and boxes. I must tell myself that it is OK to take a break and the unpacking, organizing, and decorating will eventually get done.
#7 Enjoy the journey. Life is a journey with many stops and a few unexpected side trips. The best we can do is to find peace through God and celebrate each and every step along the way. Take full advantage of the perks!
Transitions characterize our lives. Don’t run from change, but learn how to appreciate and use it to your best advantage. For many, it is right around the corner.
In a new series of posts, Hyatt deals with improving personal productivity on all levels. In this first installment, he speaks about FOMO (the fear of missing out) and the harmful effects to our work output.
In today’s society, it is difficult to say no, turn off social media, or decline a social invitation. What if we miss something? But the fear of missing out drives us into excess. We spend our time focusing on “good” things instead of the “great” things that are more in line with our destiny and goals. So we say “yes”…
to new clients because we fear missing out on income opportunities.
to your boss because we fear missing out on praise or leadership.
to new training because we fear missing out on learning a new skill.
to lunch invites because we fear missing out on key networking.
Change begins with a vision, but then takes time and hard work to become a viable and useful entity. To weave the new into the fabric of the culture, the novel idea must follow several stages of change. Any new idea needs more than just a visionary before it finds success.
5 Stages of Change
From my studies and experience, I have identified 5 separate phases which take a new concept from the drawing board to a final product. Each phase exhibits different characteristics. I call them the 5 Stages of Change
Dream…The very first step begins with a conceptualization of an idea. It may be a new technological advance or maybe a restructuring in an organization. This initial step requires someone who has a vision, a man or woman who foresees the need and can imagine the solution.
Design…The next step is to take the original thought and give it legs. This is where the novel idea takes shape and becomes practical. It may be a prototype or the trial run to determine if it will work. Many inventions fail this stage and never go on to fruition and maturity. Faulty concepts die an ugly death. This stage determines whether the idea actually has merit or if it is only an alluring vision. The proposed change is authenticated.
Develop….The third stage develops the concept. The bugs are worked out. The idea is perfected and adapted to its final use. This is also the stage where the change is promoted to a larger audience and gains greater appeal.
Distribute…In this phase, the change gets incorporated into a larger body of users. The trial period is over and it becomes available for widespread usage. At this stage, the flaws have been eliminated and it is in its final, practical form.
Dedicate…This is the long-term maintenance phase. The change has shown its merits. It is now finding champions who tout its wonders and it takes on a life of its own. Many support the novel idea and it finds followers who are devoted to its advantages. The novel becomes normal.
An innovative idea must go through all five stages to become established in an industry, organization, or culture. Take the electric light bulb as an example.
The Dream stage began in 1802 when Humphry Davy invented the first electric light. He experimented with an electric battery that connected wires to a piece of carbon. The carbon glowed, producing light and he called it the Electric Arc lamp. It produced light, but not for long and wasn’t practical.
The Design phase took place over several decades with various inventors toying with different variations on the original. In 1840, British scientist Warren de la Rue enclosed a coiled platinum filament in a vacuum tube, but it was impractical for commercial use. In 1850, a physicist named Joseph Wilson Swan created a “light bulb” by enclosing carbonized paper filaments in a vacuum glass bulb. Woodward and Evans attempted to commercialize their lamp using carbon rods and enclosed nitrogen but were unsuccessful. They eventually sold their patent to Edison in 1879.
The Development stage was realized by Edison finally produced a commercially practical incandescent light in 1879. His version outdid the earlier ones because Edison used a more effective incandescent material, a higher vacuum, and a high resistance which made it economically viable. The team discovered that a carbonized bamboo filament could last over 1200 hours.
The Distribute phase was marked by commercially manufactured light bulbs available to the public. In 1880, Edison Electric Light Company began selling its light bulbs to the masses.
The final stage, the Dedicate stage, took place in 1906. The General Electric Company patented a method using tungsten filaments. Edison knew tungsten was the best filament, but in his day technology prohibited the production. The rest is history.
The evolution of the light bulb took over 100 years. From a vision, through design and enhancement, and finally mass usage, humanity can now flip a switch and light up a room.
Begin with a vision and end with a victory. It is these five steps that follow any new idea from inception into practical implementation.
The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
William Arthur Ward
Change is inevitable. Seasons of life come and go and days pass quickly. Nothing remains the same forever. How we handle the changes that come our way says a lot about our flexibility, grace, and maturity.
Many respond positively to change (see my post 5 Advantages to Change). However, some react negatively for various reasons. People respond out of fear.They interpret change as a personal threat. The thought of having to adapt to different standards, environment, or circumstances can throw a normally sane person into a frenzied tizzy.
In the midst of the upheaval and shuffling, people fight the coming alterations. The following are seven reasons why people resist changing:
Misunderstanding. Every argument hastwo sides. One disagrees with the other and opposes their viewpoint. Or perhaps one segment of the population was not consulted as to their opinions. Open communication is the key and that takes an honest, heartfelt conversation.
Pride. Some people respond out of a need to control. Their motivation is selfish…”I want to be in charge! We must do it my way.” Instead of participating in a constructive ongoing debate, they dig in their heels in a stubborn battle of the will. This type of behavior is an obstacle to healthy progress.
Loss of status or position. Change can threaten job security. Many perceive their role will be eliminated or reduced. Restructuring an organization topples the current hierarchy and downsizing could mean a loss of position. As the transformation takes place, the reshuffling of responsibilities might mean getting squeezed out of position.
Fear of the unknown. This is probably the #1 reason people resist change. The unknown is scary. Some ask…”What will it be like? Will I like it?” Can I handle the changes? Most are willing to move forward only when they perceive the risk is greater to stay the course.
Peer Pressure.How do friends and colleagues perceive the upcoming changes? It is difficult to stand against peer pressure all on your own. How much easier to go with the flow! But going along to get along is a weak argument for fighting against change. Because we live in an era when social media commentary is equated with truth, it is important to listen to the facts before forming an opinion.
Fear of Failure. Many fear that they will not be able to adapt to the new culture or position. They lack confidence in the new structure or in their personal ability to perform. They are concerned with learning new skills and are apprehensive about transitioning into a new paradigm.
Tradition.“What was wrong with the old way?” many ask. Their loyalty to the people, procedures, and technology of the past is commendable. But…clinging to the old ways can bog down an organization and render it obsolete. Not all change is a temporary fad. It may be the only pathway to the future.
One thing you can count on in this life…change is coming. How will you handle it?
Leaders value growth. They are constantly sharpening their skills in a variety of areas…organizational development, vision, goal-setting, team building, and especially relationships. Leaders are learners.
My husband and I attend the Global Leadership Summit every August. GLS is an international meeting simulcast across the world. Every year it impacts over 260,000 leaders. If you are unfamiliar with the summit, it consists of two days packed with best-selling authors, CEO’s, and renowned leaders from across the globe. From pastors, to ministry leaders, corporate heads, and politicians, the GLS offers inspiration and information to take you to the next level of leadership.
I recommend that any growing leader attend the GLS. But you don’t have to wait until August 2016. I can offer you an alternative. The next best thing.
GLSnext is a new App available on both Google Play for android devices and iTunes for Apple products. And here is the best news…
GLSnext is free!
GLSnext is available to anyone, even if you have never attended a Global Leadership Summit. The app is an opportunity to learn from world-class leaders like Bill Hybels, John Maxwell, Patrick Lencioni, Melinda Gates, Bishop T.D. Jakes, and Dr. Henry Cloud.
The official GLSnext app presents videos from past summit faculty, a leadership library at your fingertips. With the GLSnext app you can instantly watch as many leadership videos as you want, as often as you want, anytime you want.
The categories include Church Leadership, Interpersonal Leadership, Organizational Leadership, Self Leadership, and Visionary Leadership. As of this post, sixty-two faculty members contribute to the videos. The videos range from short segments of a few minutes to a full presentation at the summit. Great for on the go, waiting at the doctor’s office, driving your car, or having a cup of coffee!
The GLSnext features include:
Instant access to hundreds of leadership training videos from your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Create and share your own custom playlists with friends and colleagues.
The 6 by 6 Tool to accomplish your most important leadership goals with 6×6 goal management tool.
Browse videos by keyword, topic, speaker and category.
Bookmark and save your favorite videos to reference back to at a future date.
This year there is a new option…GLSnext Premium. You get complete access to high-impact full session videos from the latest two years of The Global Leadership Summit. 2016 sessions will be coming in September. And it’s only $99, less than the admission for one summit.
Feed your leadership potential with top-notch teaching. Get a taste for the Global Leadership Summit and grow to the next level of leadership.
Download the GLSnext App and share it with friends and fellow leaders.
1. People can’t read your mind.We all know this. But most of us forget. When we force people to guess what we’re after, we widen the margin for error and misunderstanding. You need to get what’s in your mind into the minds of your teammates. That only comes with communication.
2. People forget.No matter how clear your strategy and tactics are to you, others will forget. My friend, Andy Stanley, sometimes says it this way: vision leaks. No one retains it all. Constant communication helps people hold onto what matters most.
3. People get distracted. Modern work is plagued by distraction. As leaders, we can do things to combat that—and we should—but we also compensate by continually communicating what’s important to our teams.
4. People haven’t bought your rationale. Just because people work for us doesn’t mean they subscribe to the mission or the values behind the individual tasks they’ve been hired to do. If you’re serious about results, you’ll either need to let those people go or bring them up to speed.
5. People drift off course. Even if team members buy into your vision or the importance behind specific tasks, they can lose sight of the target and drift off course. A leader’s communication is the compass of the organization. It keeps everyone oriented and moving toward the right goals.
Leaders need to keep in constant communication with their people. This can be done through various ways. One-on-one conversations, communiques, and emails are standard methods. But take time in meetings to reinforce goals, values, and corporate identity. Keep the vision before the people and it will become part of the fabric in your organization. Repetition is the key to instilling key concepts. Take a tip from a teacher…it works!