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How to facilitate change and transformations IV
The 3 zones of the transition process
A transition means saying ’hello’ to something new and ’goodbye’ to something that will no longer exist. Both require resources and both can give rise to positive and negative experiences. As a rule, a transition begins when we relate to what we are leaving behind.
Between the parting with the old and the acquisition of the new, we familiarise ourselves with the situation and make decisions about our future. There are usually many things to consider, many options to choose between and many decisions to make. Therefore, it is important that we find our own way and make decisions that we feel will be right for us and that we can answer for.
The experience we have of the change affects our attitude during the transition process. If the change appears attractive and desirable, we will have a more constructive, proactive approach to the transition process than if it appears unattractive or comes at an inopportune time.
The way we experience a change is often connected with the degree of involvement in the existing situation, and the way we feel about changes in general may also be important.
What we tend to remember most vividly are the changes that were difficult, troublesome or unpleasant to get through. The changes that enriched our lives or that we ended up being happy with are not always so clearly imprinted on our memories.
A transition is the internal human process that is necessary for our adjustment when we experience a significant external change
But it is important to remember that changes can give rise to positive and negative experiences and that, as a rule, there is the potential for both in any change.
Transitions are complex
Transition processes are complex. They play themselves out in three zones: Endings or Stop, Neutral or Adjust and New Beginnings or Start. We may find that there are no hard and fast boundaries between these zones and that we can be influenced by elements from all three zones at the same time. For example, we may well find ourselves in the New Beginnings or Start zone and still have experiences that belong to the Endings or Stop, or Neutral or Adjust zones.
It is a basic assumption in transition theory that transitions are complex and that the three zones cannot be completely separated from each other. This will also be evident from a close look at the model below.
All zones are present throughout the entire transition, but they take on prominence at different times. The Endings zone is typically most prominent at the beginning, then comes the Neutral zone and finally the New Beginnings zone.
The three zones are described in the following as though they were sharply differentiated in order to provide the necessary overview of their functions and special characteristics. This means that it is up to the reader to incorporate into his/her thinking the complexity that reality’s transition processes bring with them.
On the names of the zones
Endings or Stop is the end of something familiar, and this is the reason for the name of this zone.
Neutral or Adjust is the adjustment to something new, and this is the reason for the name of this zone.
New Beginnings or Start is where we start dealing with the new situation on the basis of our adjustment, and this is the reason for the name of this zone.