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"On My Mind" - Transitions and How We Drive or Inhibit Them

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dear Colleagues:

Over the past year we have seen many of our members move or change companies.  In some cases these have been key leaders within the Education teams moving to other leadership roles in new companies; in other cases, we have seen individuals move into programmatic roles or increased job responsibilities in the same company.  In a few instances, our members have needed to become Members in Transition, re-evaluating their own professional paths and goals. These changes offer great new opportunities for us professionally, but  have the flip side of the challenges of “starting over.”

Moving to Marketo after a long relationship with my Taleo team, I saw early on that I was not the only person on my new team going through a major transition.  I have been implementing so many changes for my new team, most at a very rapid pace. I expect the team to transition into  new ways of doing things, but many of the team members  have  had very little prior experience with my way of looking at the business.  At the same time, I have added new members to the team itself, i.e. instructional designers, instructors, and managers.  This contributes to an additional layer of complexity for my folks – how fast can they understand and accept the changes, and how smoothly can they successfully transition and adopt?

So I went back to some of my change management roots and ran across a great summary deck from a book by William Bridges about “Managing Transitions,”  http://www.strategies-for-managing-change.com/support-files/williambridgesmanagingtransitions.pdf.   I like his simple description of the things you have to pay attention to, and the things that can hamper success.  There’s a great differentiation between “change” and “transition.”  The slide on “Do’s and Don’ts” I find particularly helpful as well as the next one on “Communicating during Transition.”

In reading through this deck, the concepts are certainly OD (organizational development) related and seem obvious.  But yet, as so many of us are taking on new teams and instituting our own ways of doing things, we must think about the impacts on our folks. We’re asking our new teams to think differently and create new offerings or processes, and we want them to respect and “love” it while doing so! That’s kind of arrogant, or at best unrealistic. What does our transition need to look like and how do we as leaders make it easier, or smoother for them? The notion of orchestrating the transition is appealing.

Food for thought, but I think the slides that summarize Bridges’ recommendations are helpful at achieving success.  Hope you find them useful as well.

Jesse Finn, President, CEdMA

Vice President, Global Education and Learning, Marketo, Inc.

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