Transition Management is a specific kind of
Transition Management is not the only kind of
management. And when we use the term
"management" we do not mean
"manager." We mean management as "a hand
in." Management as a process. Naturally,
organizations will require other kinds of management
before, during and following the transformation. We're
not claiming any exclusive contract.
required at specific historical moments in the life of an
organization, corporation, city, country or planet.
Transition management is required at specific
historical moments. We're anticipating a kind of change
that is organic and whole, not mechanical and fragmented.
The opportunities for
transformation are rarely created. Instead, they are
discovered. Transformation is an emergent property of a
complex system and is usually well underway before its
subsystems are aware of what's happening. The person who
"creates" a transformation, is really the one
who identifies and frames it. So the transition
manager--all of us really--are on the lookout constantly
for the opportunity to discover a state change in
progress. When we discover one, we have to paddle with
the energy, but we can still have a lot of influence over
how the boat moves in the stream.
moment is the transformation from one state of being to
transformation is a state change. It will be immediate
when it happens. The kind of radical change we're talking
about is discontinuous -- taken all at once in a great
leap, and also quantum--there is usually no stop
in-between two states. It is change of "an order of
magnitude." The transitions between Toffler's three
waves provide a good example, but there have been more
transitions through history than just these three.
I argue that we only
assume that we're the same person each day. In reality we
die and are rebirthed often. Even on a purely physical
level, the cells in our body are being replaced all the
time. As we go through these cycles of enterprise
building and collapse, death and rebirth, we remember and
connect to our past experiences so that nothing is lost.
But we are physically very different individuals. And so
it is with our organizations.
Transformation manager facilitates the process of the
transformation by combining the vantage points of
strategic planning and project management, and forging an
environment in which the creative energies of a group of
people can function for mutual and planetary advancement.
|By the word
"facilitate" we mean "to make easy."
The Transition Manager builds and maintains a tool kit.
He or she uses that toolkit to forge and create an
environment that supports transformation. This
environment is a unique manifestation of the Seven
Domains. What if your toolkit is restricted to that of a
traditional meeting environment? The big oblong table;
limited space to share ideas visually; a rigid agenda
that allows for no exploration or experience. Can you use
the Seven Domains effectively in this kind of
environment? Perhaps. But in the end, you cannot beat the
system. Structure wins. You have no choice but to
introduce a new system, even if it is on a small scale.
Small but whole. There must be a radical departure from
the old structures otherwise they will continue to
problems are solved during a period of transformation,
their solutions involve the rapid co-evolution of whole
systems or value webs. The stakeholders collectively
solve a problem by advancing it as a whole system towards
the vision. This contrasts markedly with problem solving
during stable, nontransitory times, when solutions can be
applied piecemeal to an existing organizational ecology
-- in effect "re-solving" the problem in bits
and pieces on the level of an existing way of work.
role and duties of the Transition Manager are specific;
and the ethical framework of the Transition Manager is of
the highest order
Transformation Manager may or may not be in an apparent
position of authority or power; he or she may not be
recognized for the work performed--these issues are
circumstantial and a matter of practical consideration.
|Much of the
work of a transition manager will be invisible and
Transition Manager works for no agency alone; he or she
pledges allegiance to life, planet Earth, humankind, and
the community within which he or she works.
is more practical than it may at first seem. Beneath it
lies the assumption that in order to understand any one
system, you must outframe to the supersystem of which it
is a part. Because transition managers are involved in
sweeping, ecosystemic changes, they must engage their
work from a broad enough vantage point. At the close of
the 20th century, the only reasonable vantage point to
design from is a planetary one. Such a vantage point will
lend the transformation process and the transformers the
maximum leverage and understanding.
Transition Manager is responsible to life's quest to
reach a higher order of being, manifested in specific
order of being is not mystical. It's based, instead, on
the understanding that a transformation may increase the
level of complexity in a system by an order of magnitude.
The result of this increase in complexity should be
expressed in the attainment of radical improvements or in
the realization of new inventions.
matter what work role or position the Transformation
Manager assumes, he or she functions from sapient
authority in performance of the duties.
managers can be anyone. The CEO, a manager, a secretary,
a project leader, a customer or stockholder. Their
authority comes from the clarity of their vision and
understanding. People ought to follow the one who can see
the way. But because of this sapient nature of leadership
in times of transition, the strategies of the transition
leader or transition manager must of necessity differ
from those of the traditional leader or manager.
in transformation are in the mature phase or exist in an
environment that is in a mature phase of its life cycle.
In those circumstances, human credibility, certification
and authority are based on the assumptions of the old
paradigm that is undergoing severe stresses.
organizations or ideas, all of the rules of the game--the
economics, if you will--are known. All that's left is to
make incremental or marginal improvements in a finite
game--a zero sum game.
During periods of transformation, new games are
being created and the old rules don't apply to the new
game. This can lead to conflicts and there is danger in
getting trapped in the conflict. The transition manager
discovers and invents the rules to a new game, but still
has one foot firmly planted into the world of the old
The old game is based on rule-based
authority. For authority to exist, the game must be
defined. As long as the new game remains undefined, there
will be no authority in the way most of us understand the
word. Creative people define a new authority. Part of
what the transition manager struggles to understand is
how feedback, design and decision making operate in the
creative process where there is no central authority.
Transition Manager maintains the ability to operate in
two different, and often hostile environments; this
ability is essential to creating the bridge necessary for
history, creative people disconnect from their society at
some point in their lives. Often they return to society
as social critics in art or poetry. Creative people are
in the vanguard of transformation but they are rarely
transition managers. Transition managers cannot afford
the luxury of disconnecting with society in order to
explore new frontiers. They must instead build the
bridges or provide the means for other people to build
the bridges to a new way of work or a new way of life.
Manager must remain free from entrapment by either the
old or the new; the correct vantage point is from both,
and from a healthy transformation with no commitment to a
predetermined outcome in the specific.
|Transition management is
not all that a transition manager does. He or she may be
responsible for a variety of other roles with specific
deliverables. The transition manager role transcends
these other roles.
Transition Manager's fiduciary responsibility requires
that he or she gain no undue advantage from the
In order to gain undue advantage, the transition
manager must choose to step firmly into one world or the
other, but cannot remain with a foot planted in both the
old and the new at once. So this requirement is not so
much one of asking the transition manager to behave
ethically, but of understanding that it is impossible to
extract undue advantage when straddling two paradigms.