The Change Journey

Karen Durano is the Enterprise Project's change manager for Supply Chain Management and the Wexner Medical Center.
William Bridges, noted change expert, says that change is an event that happens quickly – a contract is signed, a new leader is named, a decision is made. In contrast, transition to change is a psychological process that individuals experience as they come to terms with the change. Bridges describes transition to change as a three-stage process; first as an ending, followed by a period of uncertainty and finally a new beginning.

HGTV’s popular series, Property Brothers, illustrates the emotional impact of change and provides strategies we can use to facilitate the transition process. Brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott help families find, buy and transform fixer-uppers into their dream homes. When Bridges’ Transition Model is overlaid onto the show’s plot, we clearly see the three stages of transition in action. Those same stages will shape the transition to change associated with the Enterprise Project.

Segment 1:  Drew and Jonathan help a family buy a home within their budget. The family’s reasons for buying a new home may vary, but every family experiences the pain of letting go and saying goodbye to their old home, neighbors and neighborhood. Drew and Jonathan help the family through the process of letting go by reminding them why their old home no longer works for them and the benefits a new home will provide.

Segment 2:  Drew and Jonathan transform the fixer-upper. The second transition phase begins when the home is purchased and renovations start. This phase – the neutral zone – is marked by a multitude of emotions, most notably fear and doubt. Every episode features a close-up of Jonathan tearing down drywall, peering into the opened space and proclaiming, “Uh-oh. This does not look good.” Another close-up quickly follows showing the family huddled together, with one of them hissing, “I told you buying this house was a bad idea!” Each family member’s reactions are different and are influenced by what each left behind and expects to gain. The Scott brothers help the family navigate through the neutral zone by listening carefully to their needs and concerns, encouraging them to participate in design and budget decisions, communicating regular updates and acknowledging that emotions, especially negative, are entirely normal and expected.

Segment 3:  Drew and Jonathan reveal the family’s dream home. In the final segment, the Scott brothers welcome the family into their new home and celebrate new beginnings. Before and after pictures remind the family of what they have achieved and confirm that their decision to move was correct.

So, just as the Property Brothers do, it will be important to understand the transition to change as we move through the Enterprise Project. We will need to facilitate strategies to help us arrive at our own new beginnings – and ultimately, a better Ohio State.