Handling Disruptive Discomfort

Aaron MGDR
1 min readMay 6, 2021

How to Move People through Turbulent Transitions and Uncertainty

The key to success is adaptability. Transitions, however, can be brutal. If something goes wrong this will be where. As they say in the monastery, “All practice is for the next phrase transition”.

A smooth transition requires shepherding. Here is how.

  1. Say what is going to happen.
  2. Layout the steps of the transition
  3. Let each person know exactly what their role in the transition will be.

4. If there is input needed be precise and honest about the bounds of what that input can affect.

5. If there are unknowns be upfront and have a deadline for when those will be known.

6. Follow up and reaffirm where we are as things are completed.

In the absence of such rails, the natural tendency for people experiencing disruptive uncertainty is to act with a basic survival strategy….. Productivity declines as energy is spent trying to get bearings as things that were once vital may not be any more. (Or maybe they still are?). The basis and daily patterns on which our habituated safety has relied are shifting. Some people will start acting as if the transition has already happened; Others anxiously wait for some starting order; Chaos ensues.

Layout a Road