Managing Transitions Book Summary - Managing Transitions Book explained in key points
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Managing Transitions summary

William Bridges & Susan Bridges

Making the Most of Change

3.8 (115 ratings)
20 mins
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    Managing Transitions
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    The psychology of change

    To create meaningful, lasting change, we need to appreciate that change in the workplace happens on two levels – a situational level and a psychological level. And if we don’t address both intentionally, we’re setting ourselves up for failure. 

    So, what do we mean by that? 

    Let’s say you realize your organization is suffering from its current structure. You put in the time and research and decide to shift from a traditional hierarchy towards a different system of self-managed teams. On paper, it makes perfect sense. But when you start to implement this change, you run into trouble. 

    The thing is that managers often struggle to let go of control. Conversely, team members who rely on leadership direction can start to feel uneasy with the autonomy and struggle to make decisions. After a few months of the new system, you realize that the team structure only really exists on paper, and all the problems you were aiming to fix are as bad as ever.

    The change itself, moving from a current state into one we envision, is on the situational level. We are moving from situation A to situation B. But the transition between A and B is much more personal – your team needs to psychologically reorient themselves in order to embrace the change on a psychological level. If we overlook that crucial internal adjustment process, our wonderfully strategized plan can fail, no matter how logical it might be. 

    Preparing your team for transition is as important as planning the change itself. Resistance towards change isn’t just a case of people being difficult – it’s a natural psychological response towards the unknown. More than being tolerated, resistance should be expected and planned for. It’s your job to guide people through that transition. Without framing the change within a transition plan, the engrained habits and culture will undermine even the best of plans, regardless of whether they benefit everyone. 

    The thing is that people need time to process endings, recalibrate their identities, and try new ways of working. We can’t expect an immediate flip of a switch. Instead, we need to map out the psychological change, to help your team really transform. 

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    What is Managing Transitions about?

    Managing Transitions (1991) delves into the critical difference between change and transition, emphasizing that successful change hinges on managing the psychological transitions of those involved. It offers practical strategies for helping people adapt to change, underscoring the importance of understanding and addressing the human side of transition to ensure organizational success.

    Managing Transitions Review

    Managing Transitions by William Bridges & Susan Bridges (2009) is a practical guide that helps individuals and organizations navigate the complexities of change. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Full of practical strategies and insights, it equips readers with the tools to effectively manage transitions in their personal and professional lives.
    • By combining research, case studies, and personal stories, the book offers a deep understanding of the emotional and psychological aspects of change.
    • The engaging narrative and practical examples keep readers captivated, ensuring that the topic of managing transitions is anything but boring.

    Who should read Managing Transitions?

    • Business owners and managers preparing for a change
    • Business leaders with a big plan for the future 
    • Anyone facing resistance to organizational change

    About the Author

    William Bridges was a distinguished author, lecturer, and consultant, known for his insights into organizational change and transition management. He developed the influential "Transition Model," a framework that has become a cornerstone in understanding and managing organizational change. 

    His wife, Susan Bridges, as president of William Bridges Associates, has played a critical role in furthering his work. Together, they have contributed significantly to the field, with Susan co-authoring and updating William's concepts to meet modern-day challenges in change management.

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    Managing Transitions FAQs 

    What is the main message of Managing Transitions?

    Navigating change and transition is crucial for personal and organizational growth.

    How long does it take to read Managing Transitions?

    The reading time for Managing Transitions varies. The Blinkist summary can be read in 15 minutes.

    Is Managing Transitions a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Managing Transitions is worth reading as it provides valuable insights and guidance in navigating change.

    Who is the author of Managing Transitions?

    The authors of Managing Transitions are William Bridges and Susan Bridges.

    What to read after Managing Transitions?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Managing Transitions, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Leadership Revolution by Lori Mazan
    • Mentorship Unlocked by Janice Omadeke
    • How Trust Works by Peter H. Kim
    • The Wealth Money Can't Buy by Robin Sharma
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    • Fast. Feast. Repeat. by Gin Stephens