teamwork It can cause premature aging: teammates facing organizational changes who won’t budge or who even sabotage the efforts of others. We can stay younger by being aware of the focus others have, and consequently their energy and actions, as they move through a change initiative.


Author William Bridges expertly identifies three psychological phases everyone naturally goes through on an individual basis when experiencing change. We’re adapting his work and taking it a step further.


Phase 1: Avoidance or Fear. This commonly shows up as a backward focus characterized by defensiveness, procrastination, and reluctance meant to protect oneself. Expect to move slowly here.

Phase 2: Indecisiveness. This neutral mindset leaves one susceptible to ambivalence. One minute a person is enthusiastic about the change; the next moment he or she throws the project “under the bus.” (And sometimes you with it.)

Phase 3: “All in.” Now a person is almost entirely forward focused and is aligned with the new direction. People in this phase drive the change.


These phases are natural, and people move through them at their own pace. This is where some teams find themselves in unnecessary conflict: Some people expect others to be where they are in the phases of change. Criticism, demands, and persuasive lectures often follow, leaving the entire team focused on the disablers who are slowing the change effort.


Teammates who are serious about one-team high performance serve their peers by assisting them through any phase of change and the emotions inherent in the effort. It can look like this:


Step 1: Show empathy for others’ current state

Step 2: Articulate the vision (co-create it when possible)

Step 3: Tap into the motivations of each individual

Step 4: Identify each person’s role

Step 5: Ask questions for co-discovery and learning

Step 6: Provide feedback on progress


Long-lever question: Using steps 1 through 6 above, how will we better support others through the phases of change?


Excerpt from: ONE Team Book, Activation Point #35



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