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Managing Transitions: Making The Most Of Change Paperback – September 4, 1991

4.6 out of 5 stars 143 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Bookviews blog, October
“Filled with excellent advice for those in leadership positions who need a clear understanding of what change does to employees and what employees in transition can do to an organization.”

Alaska Journal of Commerce, 12/13/09
“If your giftee has experienced a lot of change this year (or anticipates some in 2010), wrap up Managing Transitions…This book includes thought-provoking quizzes.”
 
Toronto Globe and Mail, 8/3/10
 #7 on the “Bestselling Business Books” list

Sandra Ford, President of the School Nutrition Association, quoted in Food Management, March 2013
“The most important book I’ve read recently.”
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Formerly a professor of English, William Bridges made a shift to the field of transitional management in the mid-1970s; out of his workshops has grown a long career of consulting, lecturing, and helping others through transitions. He lives with his wife in Mill Valley, California.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1st edition (September 4, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201550733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201550733
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (143 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,394,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
William Bridges is one of the world's leading experts in the area of managing the human side of change. Bridges originally introduced the notion of "transition" in his first book, Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes (1980), which was a primer on coping with the tumultuous life changes we all face on a personal level. In Managing Transitions, Bridges applies the concept of transition within the context of organizational change.
Bridges asserts that transition is not synonymous with "change." A change occurs when something in the external environment is altered. In an organizational setting this would include changes in management, organizational structure, job design, systems, processes, etc. These changes trigger an internal psychological reorientation process in those who are expected to carry out or respond to the change. Transition is this internal process that people must go through in order to come to terms with a new situation. Unless transition occurs, change will not work.
Bridges believes that the failure to identify and prepare for the inevitable human psychological adjustments that change produces is the largest single problem that organizations encounter when they implement major change initiatives.
Unfortunately, many managers, when confronted with predictable change-induced resistance by those charged with implementing a change, respond in punitive and inappropriate ways that only serve to undermine the change effort. Due to their lack of understanding of transition, they do not possess the skills to facilitate it effectively.
Leaders and managers often assume that when necessary changes are decided upon and well planned, they will just happen.
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Format: Paperback
The main message of this book - "Never lose sight of the fact that is not so much that you are starting something new but it is that you are stopping something old". The something old that you are stopping is the system that people have used for years. It might be the worlds worst system but it was theirs and you are going to take it away and replace it with something they neither understand or have been a part of selecting. This book helps you deal with that issue. Read it first - then start re-engineering.
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This books helps one get one's arms around the "soft" - but most difficult - side of change. I cannot tell you how many brilliant implementation plans fail because consultants and organizations did not plan ahead and take into account the material covered in this book. Checklists and clear descriptions help even the most analytical types understand the human side of change and tactics needed to make change successful. I recommend this book to all my friends - from McKinsey consultants to ministers and non-profit managers.
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The only other review rated the book at 1 star. Wow, did that confuse me until I discovered that the beef was with the vendor and had nothing to do with the book. This book is very helpful. I read it about four months after the launch of a major change at work. Initailly, I wished that I had read it sooner, but then I realized that the pain I had experienced without the knowledge from the author made the book more meaningful. Still, I regard chapters 4 and 5 essential and wish I had read them months ago as it would have been helpful to me and those I lead and influence. Heck! I wish the leaders in the company would habe read and headed the author's advice before even beginning the planning of the change!
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Leading a full-time staff of 20 people and over a 1000 volunteers, and having read a number of books on change, I have found William Bridges book extremely helpful. Many talk about change without thinking about the people that change can effect. William helps us understand that change is situational, while transition is emotional. He puts flesh and bones on change.
This book is well organized, breaking down transition into three phases. Phase I: "The Letting Go Stage", Phase II: "The Neutral Zone" and Phase III: "The New Beginning" In each phase William helps us understand what to anticipate and gives us extremely practical advice and checklists.
I also enjoy the awesome quotes throughout the book. Here are some great qoutes from Phase II:
"It's not so much that we're afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it's the place inbetween that we fear... It's like being between trapezes." Marilyn Ferguson
"It takes nine months to have a baby, no matter how many people you can put on the job." American saying
"An adventure is only an inconvience rightly understood. An inconvience is only an adventure wrongly understood." C.K. Chesterton
Get the book. It is well worth your investment. It will help you with your greatest asset: PEOPLE.
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I read this book when it was first published (1991) and recently re-read it, curious to see how well Bridges' ideas have held up since then. They remain rock-solid. His objective is to suggest how to "make the most of change" and heaven knows there have been so many major changes, both global and local, in recent years. I expect the nature and number of such turmoil to increase significantly, and, to occur at an ever-accelerating velocity. I also expect Bridges' observations and suggestions to remain valid. Perhaps at some point he will revise this book to accommodate certain changes such as the emergence of what Pink calls "the free agent nation." The book's materiel is carefully organized within four Parts:
The Problem [Bridges provides "a new and useful perspective on the difficulties ahead" and then a test case which illustrates that perspective]
The Solutions [Bridges suggests all manner of ways to apply what is learned from the previous Part]
Dealing with Nonstop Change in the Organization and Your Life [Bridges suggests a number of strategies by which to cope with rapid change, both organizationally and personally]
In 1991, Bridges was convinced that it is impossible to achieve any desired objectives without getting to "the personal stuff"; the challenge is to get people to stop doing whatever "the old way" and that cannot be accomplished impersonally. He was also convinced that transition management requires experience and abilities we already possess as when we struggle, for example, to "figure out a tactful response in a difficult situation." However, the strategies of transition management he suggests may require mastery of certain techniques which we "can easily learn.
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