Transitional Change Done Right

Those who expect moments of change to be comfortable and free of conflict have not learned their history.
–Joan Wallach Scott


Based on the tracking metrics of visitors to LeadingSpace, the most popular topic is transactional, transitional, and transformational change. I first wrote about this view of change two years ago through the lens of human spaceflight policy at the national level. At that time (this was late 2009), rumors were circulating that there would be changes to the flagship human spaceflight program of the future – the Constellation Program – resulting from the just concluded activities of the Augustine committee chartered by the current White House administration.  Little did I know at that time, nor did most people in the human spaceflight community, the depth of the changes to come:  the outright cancellation of the program, which lead to the shaking of the foundation of policy and purpose of human spaceflight.  As I’ve written several times since, the technical and political leadership took some missteps in the execution of a change of that magnitude, the consequences of which are still with us today. I still believe that.  However, today I’d like to shift to a positive focus, and to a different level within human spaceflight, to cite some examples from an organization that is managing transitional change successfully, and why.

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Transitional Change Done Right