Personal Transition through Change

Personal Transition through Change

Organisations don't just change because of new systems, processes or structures. They change because the people within the organisation adapt and change too.  Only when the people within it have made their own personal transitions can an organisation truly reap the benefits of change.

The Personal Transition through Change curve is widely used in business and change management.   This tool is extensively used in all sizes of organisations across the world to understand the emotional pathway that people go through when they experience any change.

John M. Fisher is the Chartered Psychologist who researched and developed the Personal Transition through Change curve.  He presented at the Tenth International Personal Construct Congress, Berlin, 1999, and subsequently developed in his work on constructivist theory in relation to service provision organisations at Leicester University, England.

See if you can relate to these steps:

Anxiety – You don’t really know what’s going to hap­pen next, and you aren’t sure what any change will really look like at this point.

Happiness – You’ve committed to the change, and you are feeling really good about it.

Anger – Some anger and frustration is directed at others, especially those who you believe are responsible for forcing the change.  At a later stage, this is directed at yourself with feelings of guilt for not having coped as well as you believe you could have.

Despair – You may feel confused and apathetic and really start to wonder who you are.

Other pathways on the curve are:

Denial - where you deny that any change is occurring at all

Disillusionment  - where you decide that the change does not fit with your value system and you decide to have nothing more to do with it.

Hostility - where you show aggression towards yourself and others and the change, in general.

John explains how he came to develop the change curve and how he uses it in his work in an exclusive Ei4Change podcast.  You can listen to the full podcast through iTunes or on the Ei4Change website.

Copies of the Personal Transition through Change curve can be downloaded free of charge, along with other free resources on the Ei4Change Resources page.

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  • You can also see the Y-tube on Personal Transition through Change

  • Thank you Robin for sharing this article, I can relate to your article. I am reading a book Illuminate by Nancy Duarte and Patti Sanchez showing this S-curve to describe the Innovation Life Cycle. It is interesting to see how John M. Fisher has applied it to our personal journey through change. 

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