I am getting ready to conduct a series of parent orientation sessions in conjunction with our freshmen registration program.  One of the items on the agenda is talking about transitions — and how they are not always easy.

To help illustrate this concept, I use a metaphor from author Peter Senge.  He takes a rubber band and holds one end of the band on his thumb, and then pulls the band up with his other thumb to stretch the rubber.  One end represents “current reality” and the top end signifies “future vision.”  The further the vision is away from the reality, the more tension in (the middle of) the band.

As freshmen come to campus, their vision is much loftier than reality, and much tension ensues.  As things progress, reality and dreams become more aligned — either the future view is modified to be more realistic or the current state of affairs changes as students grow.

I help parents understand that tension is a natural part of the transition process, and reaffirm that they really are not paying us to send their student home without having been changed.  With this exercise, we are reframing the situation that tension is to be expected and that it means something is right, not wrong.

Think about this simple analogy as you enter into a change effort or transition process.  It helps everyone when additional energy is not wasted fighting tension that naturally occurs.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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