culture at workculture changeManaging change Step by step guide to transformation

February 28, 2021by makewellg0

Step by step guide to transformation 



In a recent article, I wrote about the difference between resilience and transformation and why the aim should be to transform, particularly in current times.

I also explained that many professionals working in the field of personal change and transition have an intellectual understanding, not embodied, personal experience. This makes it easy to be swept up in latest HR trends/fads (see below).

The goal in writing this article is to give you an overview/map of the process. One that you can engage in personally, experientially. You can do this at any level in the organisation, with help/support at any stage.

Whilst an organisation can embark on this collectively, see factors to consider (below), ultimately, it is a personal journey, even when starting in a working environment. The leaps to break through resistance are taken by the individual.

Is your organisation ready for transformation?

I believe there is one major factor needed for transformation within your organisation – senior support. This is not new; read any change management book and you will find that support at a senior level is required for successful change.

Remember we are talking about transformation and not change so senior leaders need to be fully prepared for the personal shifts that happen during transformation and the pain/consequences that can happen as a result. There is a reason that counselling courses come with a disclaimer. Growth has a huge impact on the individual and those closest.

The resistance that will be experienced internally and externally by the individual will be huge, even if engaging in the process willingly. If there is not full commitment and support it is not worth attempting. If you are an HR professional, making an assessment of what’s the business needs but this has not been identified by your senior team – leave well alone. You are wasting your time – transform personally and do the job that is asked of you.

Latest HR trends to be watchful of ……

Resilience training – re-emerging as a fresh approach – it’s not. See the article Transformation not resilience
Mindfulness – Unless this is being delivered by someone who has deep spiritual training and experience I do not believe it to be effective. Many mindfulness coaches have taken short courses and are not equipped to deliver.
CBT – CBT can be an effective took for behavioural change. However, statistically speaking its success rate is the same as other therapeutic approaches – approx. 50%. This number increases slightly with substantially more sessions. Not something the majority of businesses will have the resources to do.
– Employee Assistance Programmes – this is not a trend but it’s worthwhile noting that the majority of organisations are not utilising their programmes effectively.  This is needed for an organisation embarking on cultural change/transformation.  The process …….

The easiest way to explain transformation is to understand how it is different from change. So, whilst I will use the term change (as this is the term widely used) what I am referring to is transformation.  William Bridges who was a leader and expert in this field referred to it as transition.

Simply put, change is going to happen regardless, it is happening all around us, all the time. The opportunity for transformation is optional.  It is an internal process. 

For those who like a visual/model to work with – this explains the process:

Stage 1: triggers

The triggers for growth can be large or small. They invite us to change our roadmap forever.  Major life events or changes also offer the opportunity for growth and change: death, Ill health, birth, marriage, divorce, redundancy, retirement, adolescence. Again, I say offer. Despite the obvious external change, it does not always coincide with internal change or growth. How many people get married but continue to live the single life? How many people retire and meet an early death? How many career girls are unable to adapt to life as a mother? How many people are unable to get over the death of a loved one?

In all these circumstances, the outer reality has changed. The inner reality not so much. This is why many lives resemble a re-run. It may appear that a person is moving on but there have been no internal shifts so the same patterns are repeated.

Stage 2: resistance
Resistance is our reluctance to accept reality as it is.  To live openly, honestly and in accordance to truth is often a difficult road. Not one accepted by our businesses, families and communities. Resistance to ourselves often creates the biggest battles of all – dependencies and all round destruction in some cases.

To learn more about why you resist, how you resist and what you resist, read Change: break through inner and external resistance.

The highest form of resistance is experienced as anxiety and depression. Resistance = tension and stress. Read more:
Learn to switch off and rest with ease
Take the steps to overcome your fear
Recover and heal with those who have recovered and healed
Change: prevent the downward spiral

Stage 3: letting go

Letting go itself is not the difficult part of growth/change. The fear that proceeds is the difficult part. There is a fear in suffering and yet when we are in suffering it is not as bad as we imagined it to be.  Many people talk of the gems to be found when suffering.

There are two parts to letting go that can help us transcend. The first is dealing with the emotions that arise – from sadness to complete despair. To face the emotion and not turn back into resistance and previous patterns.

The second is one of the most important and least understood and is dealing with the feelings and emotions that sit on the other side of suffering. William Bridges speaks about this as nothingness. Think about it once you release whatever it is you are letting go of, there will be an empty space. This is what scares people. It is an act of courage and faith to have the patience to wait for something to take its place. 

Read more: Change: letting go

Stage 4: new beginnings
A transformation is complete when the new arrives. This is not to be confused with new external events.  From the empty space, the nothingness, something new will be born – perspectives, ideas and often new events.  These events feel difference – new and fresh.  

A genuine new beginning is transformation.

It is a process. One we repeat again and again depending on how far we are willing to go, how much we are willing to grow.  

Some transitions take years, some can take place in moments.

I wish you every success.  

A beautiful process to experience personally and to watch in others.



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