Does this ever happen to you? A new season arrives, say, summer, and while we love it and long for the warmth and clear skies — we keep the mentality of the past. Especially if that last season was particularly full! It can be difficult to move forward.

Did you have a really busy spring? Then thinking about how to enjoy summer might feel overwhelming. There’s no time to plan the camping trip. You keep forgetting that the kids will be out of school, that you have Fridays off, or that the sun is likely to be out more than normal — oh yeah! Sunscreen. And before you know it, summer is half over and you wonder where it went.

The same can happen in any shift in season, whether it’s the weather or the seasons of our life. Did you just get a promotion? How often do you find yourself operating with the mentality of your last position? I can assure you, it happens A LOT!

And this is an all-too-common problem for organizations. They may have a list of tasks for one to perform at their next job level, but they often haven’t defined the job in a meaningful way. 

I am working more and more with public safety and police agencies. When promoted from, say, Sergeant to Lieutenant, there often isn’t a clear understanding of what it means to BE a Lt.

How does leadership differ?
How do you manage leading Sgts who, a moment ago, were your peers?
What’s confidential now?
What are the guidelines for conflict management and problem solving?
How does your “1st Team” differ?

The same can be asked of management in a corporation. Too often we think, “Well, they did their last job well, they’ll do this one well, too.”  So instead of being fully present in the new role, we often end up with Lieutenants who act and think like Sergeants with a bigger title because they don’t fully understand what the transition into the new truly means. 

Adjusting to change can be tough.

We have a tendency for our emotions, habits, or thought processes to have a lag time; to be a step behind. That which is in motion, stays in motion, said Newton (or something to that effect). We usually will keep doing what we’re used to doing, which borders on the definition of insanity. But we need to get our head in the new game — or perhaps it’s better stated as the present tense.

That’s why in “ordinary” life we often have rituals to celebrate big changes like this: a wedding, a graduation and/or grad party, bar/t mitzvahs, going away parties (to name a few). But we don’t often have have such a transition when we promote people. Yesterday they were in one office and today they are on a different floor, but the residual of yesterday and all they know stays present. How you commemorate any change will help your head, your heart, and your whole self move more seamlessly into the new space. How can you help your team mark transitions and step more boldly and confidently into new roles and opportunities?

What transitions are coming up for you? And how will you mark them? 

Photo by Hadija Saidi on Unsplash