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Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change Paperback – International Edition, May 27, 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 2nd edition (May 27, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738208248
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738208244
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #271,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


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.”

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.

Customer Reviews

The book is very practical - both easy to read and to apply the key concepts.
Robert Selden
This is one of the best books I have read on change and is highly recommended to anyone who is faced with leading a change process.
Robert Selden
Bridges has provided us with a toolkit for managing the human side of change that is well worth considering.
Desert Husker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

161 of 164 people found the following review helpful By Desert Husker on February 24, 2000
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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60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 1, 1999
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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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By K. Brick on March 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
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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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
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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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Ronald A. Hawkins on April 1, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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More About the Author

William Bridges is an internationally known speaker, author, and consultant who advises individuals and organizations in how to deal productively with change. His ten books include an expanded third edition of his best-seller, Managing Transitions (2009), and the updated second edition of Transitions (2004), which together have sold over one million copies. Before that he published The Way of Transition (2000), a partly autobiographical study of coming to terms with profound changes in his own life and transforming them into times of self-renewal. He published Creating You & Co., a handbook for creating a work-life that capitalizes on today's frequent and disruptive changes, and the ground-breaking Jobshift.

For three decades, he has guided thousands of individuals and hundreds of organizations through the maze of the transitions that accompany change. He focuses on the Transition, or psychological reorientation, people must go through to come to terms with changes in their lives. His three-phase model of Endings, Neutral Zone and New Beginnings is widely known. The professional seminars that he launched in 1988 have now certified more than 5,000 managers, trainers and consultants worldwide to conduct Transition Management programs. His later work has focused on bringing the principles of Transition Management into the non-profit world. He has been a frequent keynote speaker at conferences and corporate meetings in the United States and abroad.

Educated originally in the humanities at Harvard, Columbia, and Brown Universities, he was (until his own career change in 1974) a professor of American Literature at Mills College, Oakland, CA. He is a past president of the Association for Humanistic Psychology. The Wall Street Journal listed him as one of the top ten independent executive development presenters in America.