Hudson model - transition

Hudson model - transition

To better understand what we experience in transitions and changes


  • Understand the cycles of change and know where to place yourself, your teams and your organisations.
  • Knowing oneself, one's values, what makes sense in order to be able to orientate one's choices, act on one's objectives and direct one's actions according to one's life projects, in order to make the best use of one's intellectual, emotional and material investment.
  • To overcome losses, to seize opportunities by developing creativity and proactivity, whether it is a question of personal or professional changes and transitions.


The Hudson model was developed by Frederic HUDSON (1934), coach and professor at Columbia University. It is represented by a wheel that describes the phases of continuous change within and around us (Change: the path from a given, often problematic situation to a more desirable situation with new solutions).

The Hudson wheel is crossed by 2 axes:

  • Vertical axis: our amount of available energy (high or low)
  • Horizontal axis: the quality of this energy (positive or negative).

... composed of 2 main parts

  • The upper part of the wheel is called the "CHAPTER". Its characteristics: Turned towards the outside. High energy. It is a dynamic and conquering part.
  • The lower part of the wheel is called the "TRANSITION". Its characteristics: Inward-looking. Low energy. It is a part that is oriented towards taking a step back, distancing oneself, questioning the "after", and which will be the basis for the subsequent construction.

... hence 4 dials = 4 phases of life: launch, slump, cocooning, renewal.

They follow one another with possible back and forth between them.



  • The wheel is not linear: there may be some back and forth between phases.
  • Mini-transitions: these are shortcuts that avoid the big transition thanks to adjustments (arrows that go from phase 1 to 2).

E.g.: Keeping the same job, the same mission by modifying the working time, the roadmap, the scope of responsibility...

  • For each phase, there are plateau phases.


There are 2 types of change.

  • Type 1 changes :
    • concern the upper part of the Hudson wheel (the chapter).
    • are changes in environment, behaviour, capabilities. - They require taking stock, making adjustments and reinventing oneself a little.
  • Type 2 changes :
    • concern the lower part of the Hudson Wheel (level of being).
    • They correspond to fundamental changes in the beliefs and values, the mission of the person who is undergoing a profound identity change. - The most difficult stage is that of mourning: it is a question of accepting the definitive loss of the past situation, in order to rebuild oneself.

The types of change can colour the passage through the phases.

Phase 1 - Launch (alignment) : High and positive energy.

3 steps :

1. Dream and plan: defining the project

2. Launching: implementing the project

3. Plateau phase: implementation and profitability

  • In action with the launch of a project, activity or new job: construction dynamics.
  • In pleasure because our actions have meaning because we are aligned with our values and goals. Positive experience. Enthusiasm, joy, passion, impatience, state of grace. - Striving to achieve sustainable levels of success and well-being.
  • Need to regularly reintroduce challenge and novelty or risk falling into phase 2.

Phase 2 - Marasmus (desynchronisation): High and negative energy.

2 steps :

4. Slump/ Breakdown

5. Ranking things

  • Dissatisfaction and doubts. Feelings of having come full circle.
  • Emotions of the anger family: annoyance, frustration, disappointment, anxiety.
  • We grumble and complain without really acting.
  • Need to hear this alarm, identify what is no longer appropriate, and make the necessary adjustments or changes to move back to Phase 1 (Type 1 Change).
  • When this is not possible, a milestone is passed and we enter phase 3.

Phase 3 - Cocooning (disengagement) : Low and negative energy.

2 steps :

6. End / Farewell: Mourning

7. Cocooning: maturing

  • Unpopular phase that many try to avoid or shorten.
  • Dejection, discouragement, melancholy, depression, resignation. No desire.
  • Reduction of activities and contacts. Withdrawal from the world. Loneliness.
  • Need to understand that this is a great transition, a profound and structuring change, a non-return (Type 2 change), a moment of pause that allows us to reflect on what no longer suits us, to find out what is really needed to start again.
  • It is a time to find meaning, to redefine one's professional project before living it with desire and vitality.
  • A breath of fresh air and more positive emotions arrive: this is phase 4.

Phase 4 - Renewal (reintegration) : Low and positive energy

3 steps :

8. Restructuring: unblocking

9. Self-renewal

10. Experimentation: exploring and reinventing the future

  • Rediscovery of what makes sense in our lives: values, personal goals. Peace, serenity.
  • Renewal of self with newfound confidence, desire to learn, new lightness.
  • Reconnecting with others and getting closer to people who fit this new chapter.
  • Time to reflect, to explore new avenues, to experiment.
  • Need to enter the new phase 1, and a new beginning.


  • The unlearning phase is past-oriented: loss of bearings (stagnation) and the need to turn inwards (cocooning).
  • The learning phase looks to the future: the desire to take control of one's life, to formulate new projects (renewal) and to commit oneself (launching).


1. Diagnosis

  • Identify the phase you are in, and accept it. This will allow you to move forward.
  • Be aware of changes in the company, in the department, and identify where your collaborators are.
  • Accept your rhythm and welcome the different emotions. They are legitimate and important to experience, as they are for every human being.

2. Build your own change by giving it meaning. What do you or your colleagues need to live through this phase or move on to the next?

  • Phase 1: If you are in the plateau phase, what new challenges and innovations will you put in place to avoid entering phase 2 of the slump?
  • Phase 2: What will you leave behind or let go of when you feel disenchanted? What do you want to change in your environment? What new skills do you want to develop?
  • Phase 3: If you are in phase 3 where no accommodation is possible, take time to reflect. What got you there? What do you really need to change in order to move on? What is the meaning of your work? What are your core values? What is your identity? How do you want to redefine your professional project?
  • Phase 4: What avenues do you want to explore, experiment with, test? With whom do you want to work, collaborate and share?