Graceful Transition

“Our ability to adapt is amazing. Our ability to change isn’t quite as spectacular. “

Lisa Lutz, American Author

Change

Change is inevitable today for most workers.

First, many workers cause their own changes.  In 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated the average worker would hold ten different jobs before the age of 40, with that number of jobs only anticipated to grow.

Secondly, technology will cause many workers to change occupations.  It is currently estimated that 60% of occupations have at least 30% of their work activities that have the potential to be automated.  Half of these jobs have the technical potential to become automated based on currently available technologies.  The net result is over 200 million global workers will need to switch occupations by 2030.

If we think we have seen a lot of changes in our businesses in the past, wait for the future.

Because of the inevitability of change in all facets of employment, we, as small business owners and entrepreneurs, need to learn how to gracefully make changes so that any disruptions to our businesses are minimized.

Transitions

Transitions in business occur for many reasons. Explosive growth, downsizing, and automation all cause changes that require employees to transition into new roles and responsibilities.

It is important to think of changes in our businesses as transitions.  When you change a tire on a car, the flat tire comes off, and the new spare tire goes on.  The change happens immediately.

With a transition, however, the change happens in a planned and incremental way.

As employers and entrepreneurs, we need to instill in our business management model a constant function of transition.

For all businesses moving forward in today’s economy, some aspects of our business will always be in transition, and more and more of that transition will be on the human side of the business.  It will be the employees who will be transitioning, and as employers, we need to make all transitions as graceful as possible.

Graceful Transitions

Here are several ideas on making graceful transitions.

  • Communicate. Communication is the most important factor in all dealings with employees.  The more everyone understands, the easier each transition will be.

What needs to be communicated is a clear understanding of why the transition is occurring, and that the transition serves a clear purpose.

  • Everyone is part of the transition. Just because one person is transitioning, doesn’t mean that no one else is affected.  Well planned transitions should have some impact on everyone that even occasionally comes in contact with that position.
  • Because the transition involves many employees, each employee needs to hold the other team members accountable. Working together and motivating each other will help the transition happen gracefully.
  • Management needs to be prepared to provide support not only for the transitioning employee but for the entire team. Responsibilities will shift, and many will be needing assistance in learning new parts of old jobs.
  • Finally, management needs to be a role model. They need to embrace and support all aspects of the transition.  A positive attitude will go a long way.

The Bible

The idea of a graceful transition sets the appropriate attitude for all changes in the business.  The base word in graceful is grace.

Grace is exactly what is needed during periods of change.  Tempers will flare, frustrations will mount, and decisions will be questioned.

When you extend grace, you’re intentionally responding in a generous and helpful way.  When we talk about God’s grace, we think of Him giving us His Son for our salvation. It is God giving us what we don’t deserve. We deserved the punishment of Hell, but God graciously bestows on us the gift of His Son.

So, knowing about God’s grace should cause us to seek to know just how to show grace to others.

While we can’t offer salvation to another person, we can be kind and gracious to them.

Showing grace to others is a matter of dealing kindly with them, even if they don’t deserve it.

2 Peter 1:2 says.

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

The key to graceful transition when change occurs at work is to allow everyone grace.  And through this grace, your changes will be successful.