As the New Year begins, many of us are filled with hope and excitement about what this next year will bring. That is definitely the case for all of us at Kairos. Last year included quite a bit of change which helped us prepare for where we are today. Seeing as change is one of the core services we provide, it was quite fascinating to watch how we reacted to the changes we went through. Helping organizations respond, adjust & thrive in change is something we do all the time, so you’d assume it would be easier for us, right? Not necessarily!

The William Bridges Transition Model gives a clear 3-phase process to events, and also helps normalize everyone’s experiences. This is why the model is effective for clients who are going through a change.

Bridges Transition ModelAccording to the model, every change begins with an Ending. What was the norm is now irrevocably different. For us, the decision to rebrand Catalyst OC into Kairos was one of our Endings. Chip shared his personal Ending journey that was fraught with the usual resistance & frustration in our November blog post.

Unfortunately, during a change things get worse before they get better. Bridges identified this second phase as the Neutral Zone. It’s best described as feeling as if one is sinking in the new reality rather than floating. It’s marked by disorientation, confusion and discomfort. Christin discussed her experiences in the Neutral Zone in December.

I’m happy to say, we now find ourselves in Bridges’ Beginning phase. We are able to identify this because we’re now bought in to the changes & are hopeful about the future. Let me share what this looks like for us in hopes that you can apply our lessons…


1.  Commit to a clear purpose.

We’ve created a new identity – not just a name. The point of our change was not just to have a snazzy new name, but also to better communicate who we are as a company.

A unifying purpose stabilizes companies during the ups and downs of a change event. When viewed through the lens of that purpose, decisions can be made quickly as it’s easy to discern what is important and what can be ignored


2.  Hang in there, even when it’s hard.

This change forced us to re-evaluate pretty much everything. That was challenging and required a lot of effort, but we took our time to get it right. Were we tempted to take the easy route and just “get it done”? Sure we were! But staying committed to doing it right paid off.

As a result, Kairos is extremely clear on what falls into its sphere of services & why. This saves us a lot of time and prevents second-guessing. As consultants, each of us have unique strengths, and we can effectively leverage those with both current clients and new opportunities that appear.


3.  Allow multiple voices.

Because all of us were actively involved in the rebrand process, our individual fingerprints can be seen everywhere. We took the time (painful as it may have been), to make sure each of us had a voice in everything from web copy to color schemes. The result? We’re all committed to this new reality. Each of us has ownership, pride and excitement about it. There’s no more looking back with longing to the past. We’re full speed ahead.


As you think about this next year and the changes impacting you, what will you take from our company’s change to ease yours?

6 Comments

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  1. Congratulations! You are living through what you lead others through. It’s always tough no matter how many change we experience. But, “Nothing really changes unless we get uncomfortable.” I wish you the best of every success!!!

    • Alyssa (Author)

      Thanks Bud! I whole heartedly agree. One of my favorite mantras is: “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable”. When we play it safe, life becomes stale.

  2. Thanks, Alyssa (and Team)! Your candid sharing is refreshing and encouraging, especially to the rest of us working through our own endings and beginnings! I personally love your focus on Purpose–knowing your WHY, both as individuals and as a company. Thanks for being willing to come alongside other teams dealing with these issues and bringing your insights and wisdom to each unique process! Happy New Year, Kairos!

    Wil Davis

    • Alyssa (Author)

      Thanks Wil! I’m a strong believer that it is in our vulnerability of candidness that we truly can learn from one another. Acting as if everything’s perfect all of the time, doesn’t allow space for true connection, support and growth. Best wishes to you in 2016..

  3. Alyssa, you trigger a thought for me about “hanging in there, even when it’s hard.”

    We’re in this stage (as the Kairos team) where it doesn’t feel as hard as it was, yet we *still* need to hang in there. I’ve seen teams take their foot off the gas when they feel like they’re through the Beginning phase, and they slide back down into the Neutral Zone, feeling uncertain and disoriented again.

    I think we’ll need to keep at our new behaviors until they become habitual. I guess that is also “hard,” but we can be lulled into declaring “Mission Accomplished” too early when it starts feeling a little more comfortable.

    Thanks for driving good dialog.

    • Alyssa (Author)

      I agree. We have to remember the phase is called “Beginning” for a reason. It’s still all new!

      When behaviors or processes are new, the danger is to slide back into old behavior without even realizing it. It takes a conscious effort to stay focused on the new in order to give them time and space to become the “way we do things”, rather than “the new way we do things”.