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Strategic transitions: Making smart moves

This is the time of year when just about everyone is thinking about making resolutions, setting goals and reflecting on the past year. This is the time we think about what went well and celebrate achievements as well as examining what didn’t go well or what didn’t get accomplished.

Whenever I pass out my business cards, people ask, “What is Strategic Transitions? What is a transition strategist exactly?” Trust me, there is a method to the madness! Let’s define each word carefully, because it is a process that we ought to employ regularly in our lives and in our organizations.


What does It mean to be strategic?

The movie “The Equalizer” starring Denzel Washington gave me a new revelation on what it means to be strategic. In it, he plays a retired black ops commando who thought he was going to live a quiet life but decides to help a young girl break free of Russian gangsters. Great films always have layers of meaning and messages but what stood out to me most is people in stealth operations like that quietly and secretly gather information and formulate a plan that they will execute in the best possible time to get the best results. Being strategic isn’t always about acting immediately, publicly or unadvisedly. It takes preparation and patience to be a strategist.

To me, that is what it means to be strategic. Having a strategy – identifying and achieving long term objectives – that will create an advantage for organizations to make the most of resources like people, money, and time in the execution of its vision and mission.


What are transitions?

A transition is the process or period of movement or change from one state to another. It is the state of transformation that happens during planned or unplanned change. Life is filled with transitions. Business is filled with transitions. Anything that is alive will change. What makes a change successful is how it is planned, managed and communicated.

“Every successful organization has to make the transition from a world defined primarily by repetition to one primarily defined by change. This is the biggest transformation in the structure of how humans work together since the Agricultural Revolution.” – Bill Drayton


What is a strategic transition?

What happens when we put it all together? In life and business we ought to make smart moves. In other words, there are times that we take calculated risks that may or may not yield the results we want. That’s perfectly OK. There are also times when we must be intentional and deliberate about the moves we want to make. That means we should have a strategy that helps us transition – a plan outlining what the change or transition is that needs to be made, how it will be made, who will be involved and what the outcome would look like.

The amazing thing about transitions is that they can occur at any time. Why wait until January 1, 2017 to start thinking about what you want to accomplish in the upcoming year? Take some time in the last remaining weeks of this year both alone and with your team to reflect on the past year and dream forward with a strategy that will help you make smart moves.

I facilitate a process that follows a model in positive psychology that is a different take on the SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats), called SOAR (strengths, opportunities, aspirations, results). It focuses on what you are good at and what you want to create and achieve without spending so much time highlighting what went wrong and who we should blame – which is what most SWOTs end up doing. Try facilitating a SOAR experience with your team this year – whether in a meeting or a retreat – and create the year you want to experience. We, at Strategic Transitions, would love to support you through that. Endings are necessary gateways to new beginnings. As this year comes to a close, look forward to making smart moves this coming year through meaningful reflection, effective planning, and inspired action.

“We come to beginnings only at the end.” – William Throsby Bridges


• Simmone L. Bowe, MSc, SPHRi, is a seasoned human resource and organization development consultant and trainer, speaker, author, coach and mentor who focuses on helping business owners, leaders and professionals diagnose their people and performance problems and implement strategic solutions. Do you want to be coached through your next transition for yourself or your company? Email [email protected].


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