Bridges Transition Model – Guiding People Through Change

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Bridges Transition Model - Guiding People Through Change

Change is the biggest obstacle, in this article, we will discuss how to overcome the resistance to changes in an organization or business. 

In simple words “How to come out of your comfort zone and make effective decisions or changes” or “How to convince or guide a person to a change in their life.

The Bridges Transition Model identifies the three stages people go through as they gradually enter an organizational change. This model focuses on psychological change during the transition between each stage. 

People are not comfortable with the change because of many reasons. This is why it is very important to understand how people respond to the changes.

It is important so that you can guide them through the change. Here comes the Bridges Transition Model also known as Change Management Tool.

This model will help you to do this. In this model, we are going to discuss the consequences of the change or how to make sure that the change you make is positive.

In this article, we have covered this model in-depth and after reading this article you will have a basic understanding of this powerful change management tool. 

What’s Index

Difference between Change and Transition?

Let’s have a clear understanding of these terms because in this article we are going to discuss about on these two topics. 

The change is situational, it happens quickly and a person tends to move more quickly. It does not have any phases. 

Transition is psychological, it happens slowly and a person tends to move more slowly. It has several phases. One may experience anxiety, low morale, low productivity, etc. 

Bridges Transition Model

Why Changes are implemented?

Generally changes in an organization or business is implemented to make things more safe, easy, and efficient.

A person makes changes in considering the benefit of an organization and performance.

However, employees turn out to be the biggest obstacle, in the Bridges Transition Model the author has explained how to encourage the employees to become the supporter rather than becoming an obstacle. 

This model is designed to help businesses or persons with organizational change.

So, if you want to make a change in your business or organization then this model will help you.

Oftentimes peoples get confused or feel helpless when they try to make a big change in their business. And sometimes due to overthinking, they do not implement the change. 

Here comes the role of Bridges Transition Model, this model will help a person to check whether the changes they are planning to make would have a positive impact or not.

The benefit or strength of this model is that it focuses on the transition to change. It’s the transition that often uncomfortable for people and hence, leading to resistance. 

This model will help you to overcome the resistance to change or by reading this model you remove the resistance to change completely. 

In simple terms

Let suppose you are an App Developer working in an MNC company and receiving a nice package of salary.

Now one day you came with an idea and you are thinking of starting a YouTube channel. On this channel, you will post new ideas, trends, and teach the audience how to build an android app, etc.

Let say your idea is very unique, and no one on YouTube is working on this part. With this idea or channel, you can deliver more value to your audience. So, now you have two options-

First Option– The first option is to quit the job and start working on your YouTube channel. 

Second Option– The second option is to continue your job and side by side work on your YouTube channel idea.

The first option falls under the “Change”, it means you are comfortable with the change and can quit your job easily. In this option will move to stage three quickly. 

The second option falls under “Transition”, and it means you are not comfortable with the change and cannot quit your job quickly. You are not comfortable with a camera, etc. 

Bridges Transition Model

What is the Bridges Transition Model?

The “Bridges Transition Model” was introduced and published by William Bridges. He was a great American Author, Public Speaker, and Organisational Consultant. 

This model helps to overcome the resistance for both types of people. The people who want to make a big change in their business and the people who want to become comfortable with an organizational change.

The model highlights the three common stages of transition that people go through when they experience change. The three stages are-

1. Ending, Losing, and Letting Go. 

2. Neutral Zone 

3. New Beginning

William Bridges says that people will go through each stage at their own pace since the peoples are psychologically different or have different mind-set.

The people who are comfortable with the change will quickly move to stage three, while others may 

For example, those who are comfortable with the change will likely move ahead to stage three quickly, while others will be uncomfortable and linger at stages one or two.

Now let us discuss each stage in-depth and how-to guide people at each stage. 

Stage 1:- Ending, Losing, and Letting Go-

This the first stage of transition and people enter this initial stage of transition when they first introduced with the change.

This stage has the highest resistance because people are forced to sacrifice their comfort zone.

This stage can be full of anxiety, stress, sadness, etc. and an employee may try to resist the change.

The psychological changes or you may experience these below emotions. 

Fear, Rejection, Antagonism, Sadness, Anxiety, Frustration, Sadness, Ambiguity. 

How to guide people through stage one-

At this stage, you should give the proper support to your employees. 

  • Understand the Feelings: – Communicate openly and listen empathetically, it’s important to understand their emotions and accept their resistance. Try to understand and respect their emotions or try to get everyone to talk about what they are feeling. 
  • Educate them: – Give them some time to accept the change, educate them, because people are more likely to resist the change which they don’t understand. 
  • Explain the positive impact: – Try to explain the positive impact of that change or clarify the benefits of the planned change. 
Bridges Transition Model

Stage 2: Neutral Zone-

Generally in this stage, people are confused and get impatient in this stage. In this stage or period, the people learn to handle the consequences, with psychological shifts taking place.

In this stage, some will tend to move more quickly, as compared to others. Again it depends on their mindset.

Sometimes entering into new change or procedure may lead to more workload and hence, people may feel stressed. 

In this stage you are in the middle, you are trying to adopt the new change while also trying to get away from the old one.

Due to a change in work procedure, you may experience low productivity, Anxiety, Low morale, Offensive to others. 

This is the stage of creativity, renewal, and innovations. You should encourage people to try new ways of doing a particular job. 

How to guide people through stage two-

Proper guidance is very important in this stage or during this neutral stage. 

  • Provide proper directions- Oftentimes people may get confused or might feel a bit lost, because of improper directions. So, provide them a strong and straight forward direction and keep reminding them about team goals. 
  • Discuss- Showing empathy is important in all the stages, make sure to discuss their feelings or thoughts. Take feedback from them and try to make a healthy discussion on their feedback. 
  • Set short term goals- One of the best ways to encourage an employee is to provide them a short term goal. This will help in developing confidence and motivation because accomplishing the short goals gives them a feeling of satisfaction and quick wins.
  • Remove excess workload:- If possible then try to remove the additional load or work as this will reduces the anxiety and workload on them. 

Stage 3: The New Beginning-

It is the last transition stage and it is the stage of acceptance, the people have moved forward and have completely accepted the change.

In this stage the employee has fully accepted the changes, now they are developing new skills, and are comfortable with the new work environment.

You might experience a sense of achievement and a new and more developed identity.

At this stage, employees are now comfortable with the new word environment and are ready to contribute and be part of the new environment. 

At this stage the employees are open to learning, filled with new energy, and ready to commit to their role. 

How to guide people through stage three-

Don’t get too harsh:- Generally, when employees come at the third stage the higher authorities may start scolding them on small things. Never do that, try to maintain a constant emotion, and avoid showing a sudden change in behavior. 

Encourage and Celebrate:- Always encourage the employees to push their limits but don’t get too harsh. Try to celebrate the results and accomplishments. 


In this article, we have discussed the Bridges Transition Model introduced by William Bridges.

The model highlights the difference between transition and change. We have discussed the different stages of transition and how to deal with that situation.


What are the phases of transition?

Ans. There are six ways that a substance can change between these three phases; Melting, freezing, evaporation, condensing, sublimation and deposition.
These processes are reversible and each transfer between phases varies: Melting: the transition from solid to liquid phase.

How do you use the bridges transition model to facilitate change?

Ans. Let’s take a look at the theory and how you can put the bridges transition model into practice to reduce your workforce through change.
Experience uncertainty
Undergo a sense of loss
Feel disorientated
Feel frustrated
Become angry
Feel sad
Feel afraid
Enter denial

How do you draft a transition plan?

Ans. Steps to transition plan
Add the title of the transition plan.
Mention transition details.
Role Accountability and Expectations for Transition.
Transfer of knowledge requirements for planning. 
Add the role change checklist. 
Transition Planning Agreement.

What is a project transition plan?

Ans. A project transition plan is a task used to layout tasks and activities to efficiently move a project from the implementation phase to the maintenance phase. Transition planning identifies the team responsible for a successful transition, equipment, technology, and required methodology

Bridges Transition Model - Guiding People Through Change
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