Channel Marketer Report


Channel Check-Up: The Key to Being Nimble Through Transition – Understand, Ask, Communicate

Theresa Caragol, Founder and CEO, AchieveUnite

By Theresa Caragol, Founder and CEO, AchieveUnite

The outbreak of the CoronaVirus has thrust us  into the midst of transition. Feelings of anxiety and resistance are being addressed – and sometimes heightened —   by seeking creative and innovative solutions.. The good news – we are all in it together. So  how do we navigate and remain nimble throughout this transition?

A recent discussion with 15 Channel Leaders conducted by AchieveUnite uncovered new insights and reaffirmed  old beliefs on managing teams, business success, and partner relationships in an entirely virtual world. The leaders found that we must understand the three phases of change, remain transparent with one another through consistent communication, and support each other by asking questions about individual and team well-being.

Understand – The Three Phases of Change

The William Bridges Transition model provides a simple visual to help you best manage transition by identifying the three stages of change – the Ending, the Transition Zone, and New Beginnings – and the common emotions present in each stage.

As the impact of the CoronaVirus became more apparent, we all started in the first stage – the ending – where most of us experienced frustration and confusion as we were forced to reconcile with working and communicating entirely virtually. For the past few weeks, we have been in the second stage known as the ‘Transition Zone’. We have accepted the virtual world as our new reality, but we are still working to figure out the best management practices of a virtual team and the tools and processes we need to successfully work and grow. As we successfully learn to manage change, we will soon find ourselves in the ‘New Beginnings’ stage – a place of understanding, energy, and commitment.

Whether you feel lost and wandering with little direction or are struggling to pinpoint your emotion, the William Bridges Transition model is an important tool for you and your team to reference to help bring greater understanding and meaning to the current situation.

Communicate – Ensure Everyone Is Involved

Navigating Transition Management requires frequent and intentional communication. As a leader, this is your time to amplify connection within your team and partners. It is important your team and partners are included in the big conversations—that they understand the reasons and necessity for change, the plan, and the ultimate goal.

Check out this communication guide from Channel Leader Experts to help maximize both your internal and external communication processes during this time:

1. Communicate the ‘why’ for any change you need to make. Motivations and whys help people understand.

2. Ask questions and collect information on impact. This gains their investment in the outcome.

3. Audit your own organization’s transition readiness. Check in with your partners on their readiness for change as well. And help them audit their own change readiness.

4. Educate leaders and Partner Teams on how change affects individuals so they can help manage through this. Help your partners’ leaders navigate the change.

5. Monitor key individuals as they go through the transition stages. Identify the key individuals within partners who you will focus with

6. Give people ways to help positively contribute to the change and the importance of their role. How can you help partners’ businesses? How can you help partners’ people?

Ask – Support Each Other

All of us are experiencing an influx of emotion and information. This is the time to support each other as we process the world around us. We are finding that people are more compassionate and patient than ever before so don’t be afraid to voice your questions or concerns. Be real and open during this time.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself and your team:

  • What is the general mood/moral of your teams?
  • As a leader, what is most challenging for you?
  • What is being lost that needs to be identified, articulated and acknowledged?
  • What can you do to accept and support your team through the Neutral Zone?
  • How will you know when people are ready to begin to talk about new roles in a new environment?

Through understanding, communication, and asking, we will gain a knowledge of the people and environment around us that will help us respond to transition and the change involved in a nimble way. Together, we will reach ‘New Beginnings’ with flexibility, collaboration, and patience.

AchieveUnite is a consulting and education company helping companies of all sizes generate maximum results from their channel and strategic alliance partner organizations. Through AchieveUnite University, channel leaders, CAMs and sellers benefit from online training in the areas of leadership, leading virtual teams, and channel skills for success. Our Channel Program Assessment programs deliver powerful analysis and actionable intelligence on how to increase success, even in these volatile times. Learn more at