What type of change are you trying to make?

Broadly speaking, change falls into 2 categories: Incremental change and transformative change.

Incremental change keeps the lights on

As the world continues to change and become more complex, our systems and approaches slowly become outdated. Incremental change helps those systems stay relevant and fit for purpose.

Also known as continuous improvement or iterative change, incremental change covers those improvements and adjustments that we make to maintain our organisation.

Incremental change is the most common type of change we encounter. It shows up as small process tweaks like updating a form, and larger efforts like introducing a new platform that allows us to do the same work but flexibly from home.

Transformational change evolves our thinking

Transformational change fundamentally shifts the state of what we do, and our understanding of why we do it. It’s not just changing our behaviours, but also our culture and mindset.

We we experience transformational change, we experience a shift the way we understand ourselves, the world, and our role in it. We are creating a new perspective that will replace our old ways of knowing.

Different types have different needs

Knowing what type of change you are leading matters. These different types are best supported by different approaches, have different purposes, and have different degrees of impact on your people.

This isn’t an either/or choice. We need to keep the lights on and evolve the way we understand our work and why we do it if we want to endure.