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» Transition Exercises
Dr. Steven Reiser
Global Strategic Procurement Officer
The purpose of a transition exercise is to speed the adjustment time when a new key person joins an organization or a person is promoted to a new position. The exact timeline and structure of the exercise is negotiated between the client and the consultant. The exercise may be a one-time off-site meeting or may be an intervention that lasts from three months to a year as the organization evolves to reflect the new leader's style and expectations.
Why is a transition exercise helpful?
- Whenever a new individual joins a team, dynamics change. This happens even when the new individual is highly competent, well-selected, and the arrival is anticipated with positive reactions. Without a focused transition effort, the "dance" among members takes longer and decreases productivity.
- Individuals act from unspoken assumptions. In the absence of well-articulated assumptions from all parties, both new and old members of the organization act in ways that are often based on differing assumptions. This may cause confusion and conflict.
- Power relationships change. Everyone must renegotiate and re-establish individual power based on the new member's position. Both business and interpersonal relationships dictate who is in, who is out, who is close, and who is far from the power base. This shift trickles down throughout the organization to cause confusion and decreased productivity.
- Even the most positive of changes will cause stress for individuals and the system. New norms and changed expectations create tension within the system. While functional expectations may remain the same, the new individual will have different ways of expressing norms and expectations that create individual and organizational stress.
Benefits of a transition exercise:
- The new leader demonstrates openness to learning about the system before making major changes. This adds stability to organizational tension.
- Power relationships are openly negotiated and contracted to decrease productivity loss and confusion.
- Expectations from old and new key players are explained and negotiated with the help of an impartial third party.
- Adjustment time is condensed as the organization moves forward together in an open manner, discussing transition problems as they arise along the way.