6 States of a Business Transition

Reactivity is a common problem we come across when working with organizations that are going through a business transition.  Oftentimes, daily tasks get in the way of our preparation. Preparation for a business transition is a process that typically takes months or even years.  As a result, our timeline creeps up on us and we are forced to accomplish various time-consuming tasks in a short period of time. While some organizations may be able to get away with this, most aren’t able to effectively accomplish this, leaving them with an array of conflicts.

6 Stages of a Business Transition

A successful transition is key to a long-lasting business.  Knowing how to effectively navigate through the stages of transition can make or break your business.

The change curve highlights the common stages that organizations go through while experiencing change.  This visual can be highly beneficial, as it can help you identify where you are and some of the problems you may face as you implement change.  Being proactive in your transition can help you move swiftly through these six stages, while reactivity will lead to stagnation and business decline.

6 Stages of a Business Transition

The six stages are as follow:

  1. Denial – People pretend that the transition or change isn’t happening
  2. Mistrust – Paranoia and gossip regarding the transition
  3. Fear/Confusion – Increase in conflicts and uncertainty around the future state
  4. Acceptance – Plan is presented and trust-building begins
  5. Alignment – Taking action on what the future looks like
  6. Commitment – External focus and goal focus

Reactivity vs Proactivity  

Being prepared for a business transition can help you overcome many of the obstacles that the six stages present.  For example, businesses often get stuck in the Fear/Confusion stage, due to the build up of resistance and feelings of betrayal and mistrust.  This results in leaders having to backtrack and identify pain points, strategize how to address these things, develop and implement a plan, evaluate the progress and finally, re-identify and implement any needed changes.  On the other hand, organizations who are able to be proactive about their business transition, can reduce the buildup of fear, mistrust and resistance. As a result, when they reach that dip in the change cycle, into Fear/Confusion, it doesn’t take as much effort to push through to Acceptance, Alignment and Commitment.  

3 Tips to Create Momentum

If you find yourself stuck while going through these six stages of transition, there are a lot of things you can do.  Here are our top three tips:

  1. Identify the Barriers – Recognize what is stopping you from having those essential conversations.  This can be identifying those tasks that keep popping up or any other factors that are preventing you from being proactive about your business transition.
  2. Communicate – Create more of those open conversations and make it safe for people to come to you with their fears and concerns.  Remember, your organization isn’t the only thing that is going to change through your business transition. The lives of every employee will be impacted, so it’s important to give them a voice.
  3. Ask for Help – Whether you rely on your team or reach out to an outside organization, it’s okay not to know what the next steps are.  Managing a business transition is a team effort; you can’t just rely on a single leader.

Overall, taking an active part in your business transition will help increase your chances of success — whether it means allowing yourself time to prepare or seeking solutions to overcome your obstacles.  

If you find yourself stuck and unable to build momentum, reach out to our team.  Our team of organizational experts at The Utech Group are equipped to break down relational barriers that stand in the way of organization growth.  Let us help you succeed.