We all have been involved in changes. A simple move from one house to a new one count as a real experience. What did you most (dis)like about the move; the radical change on the day that you delivered the key and entered the new place, or the long gradual adaptation period afterwards?
Each change comprises a time frame, which depends on the scope of the change. The larger the scope of the change, the more difficult to manage the change in a gradual way.
The first situation, that of a gradual change focuses on the process. You can manage this change as part of operational business. This is possible when there are central directives that apply for the whole organization and each department is free to manage these.
The radical transformation on the other hand, depends on integrated expertise; for example a team of experts that is to blue-print a new ‘architecture.’
Moving from one place (house, city or even country) to another (house, city or even country) serves as an example to describe the differences of both choices.
There is no gradual change possible. You can plan the move, you can get acquainted in the new environment before you move there but the real impact is radical; in one day you leave behind your old home and you are to restart your life in the new place. The change has been radical and could be planned, the overall impact is bigger because it also comprises the adaptation period after the move.
A fusion between two companies is another example of a radical change. It can be prepared, but at one moment in time you need to ‘move’ from one situation to another.
The advantage of a gradual change is that you can focus on the “unfreeze” (a concept that was introduced by Kurt Lewin) aspect of change where you need to let go old habits. It is easier to manage, but takes more time.
The advantage of the radical change is that you win (time) at first, but you might loose this when you need to solve the issues you are dealing with once going “life.”
The energy that is spent on a radical change is the most visible and therefore thought of as the part with the highest impact. Less visible is the energy that you need for the gradual modification (afterwards). This is less visible but (therefore) more difficult to manage. And often underestimated
© 2006 Hans Bool