Moving through transitions with skill and grace

What emotions come up for you as you hear the word “transition”? Is it anxiety and uncertainty, curiosity and hope? Or is it all of the above? Whatever emotion it brings out in you, we’ve probably experienced that even the best-laid plans cannot fully prepare you for a transition — whether it's the departure of an amazing colleague, a sudden loss of funding, or a period of organizational growth. 

Regardless of the nature of the transition, they signify an end and a beginning; sometimes with joy and freedom, other times with confusion, pain, and a deep sense of loss. Change forces us, as leaders and organizations, to stop and consider the situation and the next steps. 

In our July Leap of leadership meetup, we talked about what transitions mean to us as leaders and to our institutions, and how we can navigate changes if and when they do come. Listen to the 25-minute audio summary and try the practice below to discover  what  you can do to move through transitions with skill and grace.


Put it into practice

The moments when we feel big shifts taking place are exactly the moments when we can benefit from pausing and making space for reflection. What would it look like if we regularly created space for ourselves and for our teams to acknowledge transition? Approaching these shifts with more intentionality can support us to feel more grounded and gain the clarity we need to recalibrate and try something different.

One tool that can help us to get more intentional is a framework called Orienting Quadrants. This is a framework that enables us to see things more fully from four different realities and perspectives: inner meaning, relationships, actions and structures. Listen to Archana’s description of this framework in the above recording at 06:40. Then think of a recent transition you went through and continue to follow along in the recording as Archana asks the below questions about that transition you experienced.

After you reflect on these questions, ask yourself:

  • What questions were easiest for you to answer? Which ones were most challenging?
  • Is there a particular quadrant you’d like to focus more on?
  • Based on this exercise, is there anything you want to try to do differently the next time you’re in a transition? 

Taking the time to reflect and consider these different perspectives will help you be more open to exploring the different possibilities and opportunities that come with transitions, and  respond in resourceful ways, both individually and collectively. 


Recommended Resources


Leap of Leadership is Spring’s monthly online meetup for social justice changemakers around the world. Each month, we tackle cutting-edge topics through new tools, concrete practices and exchanges with peers. Learn more or sign up to join our monthly drop-in sessions and receive our monthly emails.

Post by Spring
August 4, 2023