The 3 E’s for How to Succeed in a Time of Transition

What does it take to thrive during a transition? These three tips!

Thursday evening, I picked my three-year-old up from daycare and took her to a “make up” swim class. Practically bursting with excitement, she trotted through the doors to the pool with a huge grin on her face. But when we got to her swim lane, a look of fear and confusion replaced that sweet smile.

Baffled by her reaction, I realized too late that it was because she wasn’t prepared for anything to be different. She was in a different lane, with a different teacher, different kids, etc. It was too much change for her to process, particularly when she was expecting swimming as usual. So she did what any preschooler worth her salt would do—dug her heels in and cried.

Children frequently exhibit their raw emotions, openly and without shame. Those emotions don’t disappear for us as adults, but we learn to manage them. Unfortunately for us, we can’t enter the office, take one look at our new boss, and erupt into a pile of tears.

With 4,000 new political appointees slated to enter government leadership, change is inevitable. And given that nearly 70% of the Senior Executive Service is experiencing their first-ever presidential transition as a leader, change of this magnitude is new to many. For those of us who are experiencing change within our own business structures, it’s important to outline steps for not only dealing with a transition, but also thriving in one.

Here are 3 ways to succeed in a time of transition in your organization:

Below are three simple strategies for success:

  1. Embrace Change - With new people comes new energy, new ideas, and a new way of looking at things. Rather than dig your heels in and fight it, help to influence and direct that change. One way to facilitate these discussions is through information sharing. If you haven’t already, put your organizational data into Qlik Sense and together with the incoming leadership team, explore the data. For example, identify areas of high attrition (are there certain programs, locations, or grade levels that are hemorrhaging talent?) and together come up with an action plan.
  2. Encourage Employee Engagement - Engaged employees are productive employees. Involve your team in the transition. Ask them for their ideas—what can they share with the new leadership? How can they be leaders of positive change, rather than simple bystanders? By looking at the data in a new light, can they identify any areas of wasteful spending to target? Ask them to explore their data for nuggets that will help to accomplish the new administration’s goals.
  3. Effectively Position Key Programs - Like it or not, you’re now “selling” your programs, teams, or departments. Everything will be examined, and sections that haven’t produced will be cut. Make sure that not only do your key programs have measurable results to back them up, but also that you’re positioning them as in-line with the new administration’s goals.

Change, while often scary, can be refreshing. It offers new opportunity to examine ourselves, our organization, and our way of doing things. By embracing the change, encouraging your team to do the same, and positioning your team and work appropriately, you can not only weather the transition, but also emerge stronger than before.


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