Three stages of transition

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Once you have realised that you and your team must let go of life as it was, before you can successfully pursue your new vision, the next step is to realise that this doesn’t just happen overnight.

You don’t just switch from ‘State A’ to ‘State B’. There are three distinct phases.

The first is the separation phase. This is the packing-up stage of moving home, or the period at work after you have handed in your resignation and before you leave. The old life has not finished, but it is not the same as it once was. Something new is definitely coming.

Then comes the liminal zone. The Latin word limen means ‘threshold’ and here you are on the threshold: in the doorway between two identities, but neither fully in one place nor the other. This is the phase of setting up your new home, working out where everything is going to go, or settling in to your new role at work. Much is undefined, unclear. The old life has been lost and the new vision has not yet been achieved. This is can be the most unsettling time.

Finally, incorporation. As you journey towards your vision, new ways of doing things take form and become habits. You decide where the kettle and mugs are going to live. You establish a routine for managing and reporting daily, weekly, and monthly activities. You successfully pass some of the milestones on the way to the vision. And after a while “it just kinda clicks”.

These are the three phases of inner transition that must accompany the outer operational changes needed to achieve your vision.

Just as the outer changes need to be managed to ensure they happen smoothly, so the inner transitions also benefit from care and attention.

The next three posts will look at key factors for navigating these three zones successfully, starting with separation.

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