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Mastering Transitions: Ten Tips for Transition Success

By | Dave Ulrich | Speaker, Author, Professor, Thought Partner on HR, Leadership, and Organization

How well do you manage the transitions in your life?

Managing transitions well is a significant skill because all of us face many types of transition throughout our lifetime:

  • Physical transitions where we move from one place to another.
  • Emotional transitions as we create new identities (e.g., single to married to divorced; student to employed; employed to retired).
  • Social transitions when we find, retain, and evolve relationships.
  • Professional and career transitions with new companies, titles, or responsibilities.
  • Spiritual transitions as we evolve our beliefs, sources of meaning, and understanding of the divine.

As the world emerges from the coronavirus hibernation and intense scrutiny of racial concerns, each of the above (and other) transitions will likely occur for most individuals, organizations, and societies. While transitions are often idiosyncratic, broad lessons can be derived from general experience and research. Below is a ten-item checklist I use to coach individuals or leaders through a professional transition: these principles also apply to organizations and societies experiencing transitions.

1.     Leave on good terms or respect your past. Transitions imply moving on, but when moving ahead, we are well-served to leave on good terms with those left behind. Whether our transition is by choice or fiat, thanking those who were part of the previous experience through public affirmations or private notes can leave good impressions. What do I want my legacy identity to be?

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