Last year, when I was looking for a job and had to think about my strengths and weaknesses, I started wondering whether I like/embrace change. After struggling for a few weeks, I decided that “I embrace change initiated by me, and I am averse to change initiated by others”. Averse is too strong of a work. Basically I do I adopt change willingly, but I do not jump into it as soon as it is announced.
Recently, I came across with a very interesting concept, that change and transformation are different things, which seem to explain my conclusion about my own posture on change.
Change can be planned or not, and not always requires active participation of the affected people. It has a low to moderate risk and most importantly, it has clear boundaries and is contained within one individual “process”/individual/initiative/topic. After change is accomplished, the new normal is very similar to the past. Hence, change is simple and conservative,
On the other hand, transformation is always planned and intentional, as it requires active adoption and participation by all people involved. It has a high degree of risk and is not defined in time or scope. Transformation works as a vision for the future that can be achieved by an iterative process of trial and error. After a transformation, the new normal does not resemble the past, making transformation profound and radical.
In the past, when asked to participate in transformation, I have assumed that 1) I am asked to participate in a (small) change, that has a clear plan that is not fully communicated, or 2) the people have no clue of what they are doing. It seems that the option number two not only is often the most common, it is also how it is supposed to be. In transformation, the magnitude of change is so high that often there is only a guideline of what is supposed to be achieved. Nevertheless, this is no excuse for not having proper communication throughout and help all the involved people understanding and dealing with what is asked from them.