Transition in order to Transform

Graduation images abound! You can’t turn on the TV or open a social media platform without seeing pictures of students graduating from college or high school this time of year.

Speakers at these events inevitably talk about embracing change and the opportunities the students have in front of them. However, what is not discussed often is the extent of the transition each person experiences (including their families).

Change is not the same as transition, but they are related. Change is situational. A transition is a psychological adjustment. William Bridges holds the title of all-time expert in transitions. He authored multiple books you can check out if you want to know more.


  • Change: Moving to a new house or a new city. Transition: Figuring out when the new place / new city feels like home.
  • Change: Starting a new job, OR getting promoted. Transition: Determining when you are comfortable in that job or at that company.
  • Change: Having a baby. Transition: Becoming a parent.

In the workplace, change is constant. Organizational structures change, business processes change, technologies change – sometimes all at the same time! Underneath all of those changes people have to manage the psychological transition from one way of working to the next.

Strong leaders demonstrate emotional intelligence by recognizing and acknowledging these behaviors in their teams. Strong organizations provide training to equip employees in how to manage these transitions.

Having a common vocabulary to talk about it is powerful. Then everyone understands each other throughout the journey. Each person paces differently.

Recognize, in your recent graduate(s), AND in your team members at the office, that transition on top of transition, over time, ultimately leads to transformation… individual transformation and organizational transformation. People come out the other side fundamentally different.

Betsy Winkler is a partner at PeopleResults. She can be reached on Twitter @betsywinkler1