Monday, December 16, 2013

Transformation vs. Change

Transformation requires a mind shift. 

The terms "transformation" and "change" truly overlap in the literal definition; people tend, though, to carry their own associations with each. Transformation is definitely the more ambitious sounding term -- and thus, we attempt to characterize the differences, and bridge the gaps.

Change may be mechanical, but the transformation is radical: "Change" can be a somewhat mechanical implementation of new or different ways to doing something while the transformation is more likely to be a sweeping approach to altering a culture, or parts of it, possibly even to parts of its value system, to embrace such as change and help it become self-perpetuating. That said, it is referring to modification and internalization of new values, behaviors, and culture. When the need for significant change is identified, it's generally naive to think it will succeed without transformation as well.

Transformation requires mind shift: In addition to the set point changing, transformation requires first shifting mindsets, then building new skills and reinforcing and embedding new practices/reflexes. Skills and situations have become more subtle, more multi-layered and, therefore, complex, what's needed every now and then to any individual, team, organization, society, and on up to the entire planet's population, is a little or a lot of energy to re-focus, kick-start or 'game-changer.' With evolutionary digital technologies, the scientific breakthroughs connected to human communication dynamics regarding for instance mirror neurons, the social brain, the nature of consciousness are all wonderful, useful and interesting in driving transformation.

Interpersonal transformation is prerequisite for intrapersonal transformation at the individual level: Organizational culture transformation is prerequisite for business transformation.... inside-outside... without experiencing the own inner space one won’t be able to extend awareness, neither to other individuals nor to that intrapersonal space, which is not tied to a person, but adherence to corporate culture.. People tend to need interpersonal transformation, then intrapersonal transformation to achieve organizational transformation. So the transformational leaders need to:      
1) Keeping people awake
2) Keeping people engaged
3) Keeping people informed, in that order

Change Management is an overarching concept while the transformation is a business leapfrogging: A crucial lesson to know is that simply rolling out changes and expecting success is wildly naive and generally doomed to failure. "Change management" is the overarching umbrella that encompasses extensive planning, outreach, communications, discovery of concerns / objections / potential points of failure, addressing fears and resistance, developing a shared vision, communicating valid and compelling reasons for cooperation, recognizing sacrifice and incremental success, measuring outcomes in a shared and mutually understood and agreed upon fashion, being able to declare an end-point and successful conclusion -- at least of a major phase -- without being disingenuous, examining what went well and what could be done better next time, etc. Change can flow on the surface whereas transformation needs to permeate into business vision strategy, culture, communication, processes, etc.

Change can be mandatory sometimes while the transformation is nature and evolutionary: Change is "un" - natural activity, you need to focus and make an effort to maintain sometimes. Simple "Change" may involve dictated behavioral modification that is not natural or does not fit with the person's normal mode of behavior, values, and beliefs. Being "unnatural" in this sense, it will be necessary to maintain a constant effort and vigilance to be confident that one is behaving properly and in accordance with the new rules. Mistakes and resistance may be major risks here. 

Transformation is a natural process and rather effortless to maintain. Transformation" goes a step further, and involves internalization of the new values and conceptual model, so that the newly required behaviors don't require the same kind of effort and vigilance. Instead, the newly established behaviors will be in harmony with the internalized values, the transformed person or organization as a whole, and will be natural to the person of whom they are expected or business of which is envisioned. Thus, transformation can more deeply touch people’s heart and mind. and we all have resistance to change but not against transformation. Transformation is a journey, with well-set milestones to overcome barriers and accelerate changes. 


Pearl - an intriguing article and one worthy of debate........ I agree with you that change and transformation massively overlap.

However, I would argue that evolution is a natural process whereas transformation by its nature is upsetting the status quo and therefore unnatural, much like change.

For change to be successful it needs to be ambitious (in order to motivate the people), an ambitious change starts to look and sound much like a transformation..........


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