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Are You A Transitional Leader?

June 15, 2022 4:34 PM | Dena A Culpepper (Administrator)

Time is fleeting… I was recently reminded about this at the Texas SHRM spring meeting in El Paso, when speaker Lisa Rueth shared the date 1997 and asked do you remember when, then how about 10 years later in 2007, then 10 years later in 2017 as she showed the difference in technology flip phones to touch screen. The session was about transitioning during change. We are all in transition – in fact, she shared the term “transition leaders” which I found really interesting. There is one thing we can all agree on about change, it never changes. There is always something changing ahead. How are we embracing it? How can we become a “Transitional” leader?

She then mentioned some of the ways to develop as a transition leader…

  • Build community,
  • Keep calm and get real,
  • Talk about the elephant in the room,
  • Work from presence,
  • Have a growth mindset.

But, what really got my attention was the “transition cycle” she shared that we all experience during change.

Catalyst > Builder > Maintainer > Disrupter > Catalyst > Builder > Maintainer > Disrupter > Catalyst > Builder > Maintainer > Disrupter > Catalyst > Builder > Maintainer > Disrupter > Catalyst > Builder > Maintainer > Disrupter >

It’s a continuous loop of change… When we face change, we need to find our lane or the cycle we are in and work through the transition during change. I really get getting energized in the “catalyst” stage sharing ideas with others and dreaming of the possibilities and then find myself enjoying the builder stage. I thrive in this area and always look for ways to build something that will make impact… I often get stuck in the maintainer stage even thought its comfortable, I know disruption is just ahead, which can cause a lot of pain… Rick Robinson, our LeadHRs program facilitator likes to say “there is no gain without pain”. So, it’s a good thing - right? As we go through the cycle, let’s remember that when we get to changing stages in the cycle, that change is ahead. And when we are in a good place in the cycle, change is ahead. Here are a few questions I thought about that might help us move through the cycle.

  • 1.     Catalyst Stage – This is a great time to ask “what are my goals”? “What am I currently doing to move toward my goals”? “Who are some of the people that have inspired me and what can I take away”?
  • 2.     Builder Stage – “What do I need to do to get started”? “Who are some people that can help me create, develop, and put into action”? “How can I get feedback”?
  • 3.     Maintainer Stage – “When do I know when I am in this stage”? “Is it serving me or others to be in this stage”? What are some of the things I need to think about for improvement.”? “What can change if I stay in this stage”?
  • 4.     Disrupt Stage – “Am I prepared to give up to go up? “What will this look like in the short term, and what are the opportunities in the long term? Is the big pain better in the short term, or continue with the small pain for long term”?

In our company, we have recently implemented some new technology which is putting us in the builder stage – but it is also in the “disrupter” cycle for me. I will need to learn something new and it’s going to take some work to get there. I know there will be short term pain, but there will be a long-term gain. I remember in 2020 when I moved over to use our virtual survey technology for us to practice safe distance moving services. It was super painful to learn the technology early, but the long-term gain has been fruitful because it elevated the experience for everyone involved – most importantly our customers.

Recently, I have been thinking about my health and exercise routine and how I might be in the maintainer stage and how I might need to disrupt the cycle to make more progress. It’s painful to change – but when we embrace change, it makes us all better. What about our Texas SHRM local chapter board meetings? How about our education and event planning? Are we focused on the member experience? What stage are we in today? Change is coming – are you ready to be a transitional leader?

Quote of the Day: “Transition is when the old way is no longer working, but the new way is not yet known.” Lisa Rueth

Call to Action:  What stage are you in? Share with your team members and some of the challenges you are experiencing. It might help to calm or accelerate the change ahead!

Want to learn more about Texas SHRM? Visit our website here – and come join us!

written by Bruce Waller, Texas SHRM, Director of Leadership Development


This blog is sponsored by Eleserv.