In a world filled with change, it is often not the practical changes we find difficult but rather the emotional and psychological letting go of the way the world used to be and the shifting to a new identity. These psychological processes are called transitions and they come in three stages.
The first stage is to let go or Separate from the way the world used to be.
The second is to step into the uncertainty of the Threshold phase: to have the confidence to become the chrysalis that will become the butterfly.
And the third and final stage is called Consolidation.
Consolidation is where we bring the various parts of our vision together into a coherent whole.
For example, we all understand now how Amazon, Airbnb, and Uber work. But all three were once radical new business models. “Buying books online? They’ll steal your money!” “Staying in a stranger’s house? That won’t be safe!”
To make these businesses succeed, the founders first had to inspire people to Separate from the ways they previously bought books, hotel rooms, and taxis. Then they needed to convince them to stick with the company through the uncertainty of the Threshold growth phase. And finally they needed to Consolidate and align the different parts of their emerging enterprises to create the coherent, evolving brands we know today.
Airbnb and Amazon have managed this well. But Uber struggled so much with the Consolidation stage that its founder, Travis Kalanick, was forced to resign.
At the end of the Consolidation phase you will have converted a vision that was once just an idea in your head into something that is real in the world.
Then — just like Amazon and Airbnb — you will need to decide what to do next.
And then the cycle of Inner Leadership will begin again as you centre and ground, make clear sense of the situation, find the new opportunities, choose the best, turn that into an inspiring vision, and then manage the transitions as you work to make that new vision a reality.
Doing this has led Amazon into web services, entertainment, and space rockets. Where might it lead you?
Which phase are you currently in? Do you need to Separate from the way the world used to be and accept that it has gone? Have you stepped into the uncertainty of the Threshold phase? Or are you now working to Consolidate the parts of your vision into a coherent whole?
Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.
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