Change vs. Transition Management

As we continue the conversation on navigating change in organizations, this month we will focus on change vs. transition management. Our team has focused on partnering with our clients to help them understand the human factor in effectively managing your relocation project.

Pulling from the William Bridges Transition Model, we created the concept of the Stoplight Effect in working with our clients. Bridges outlines that change is something that happens to people, like the relocation into a new facility. Transition, on the other hand, is internal: it’s what happens in people’s minds as they go through change. The Stoplight Effect breaks down individuals into three categories:

Navigating Change

So how do we navigate through the transition process to help our clients have a successful move? The most critical success factor is building trust with the team. This investment of time will determine whether an individual can move through the transition phases or if they decide to move on from your organization. To build trust we must be present with our teams, openly communicating with them, and asking how we can support them through the transition process.

Listen Empathetically and Communicate Openly

Individuals in the red category typically are struggling with the loss of identity in relocating from their space. Changing a location, even if it has plenty of perceived benefits to the organization may not be perceived that way by the employee. To help move an employee from red means spending time with them to understand what their fears or concerns are, to acknowledge the situation and to support them in the transition. As leaders if you don’t acknowledge the emotions employees are going through, then you’ll encounter resistance through the entire move process. This is the time to listen empathetically and communicate openly about what’s going to happen.

Built Trust

In the yellow stage individuals are embracing the idea of the move but want more specific details and timelines to help relieve their anxiety.  Employees in this stage can feel confused, uncertain and impatient if they feel left in the dark on the events that are happening. As leaders, we can use this stage to help bridge the gap between the old and the new with constant status updates, team communications, and even a signature event or yearbook to help close the chapter and prepare for the new one. Trust is critical in this area as our team members need to trust that we are providing them timely information and allowing them to be a part of the process.

Peer Champions

Employees in the green phase are our move champions. They are excited for the move and look forward to the new beginning and opportunities available at the new location. These are your peer champions who can be partnered with departments or individuals that are struggling through the transition. These champions can help to sustain the momentum of individuals moving through the transition phase and help leadership identify when someone needs additional support.

For more information or support in your moves feel free to reach out to our team at We are passionate about serving our clients and sharing information to help you succeed in navigating the changes in your organization.