What is Change? – for Leaders

Change is quite simply defined as, “make or become different” or, “the act of process through which something becomes different”.

There are a thousand different models of change you can find, and many have substantial fan clubs behind them.

We prefer to think of change as a natural part of business and life. Living things (like people) change all the time. That’s part of how they survive. Businesses (which are really just lots of people together) are the same. They change all the time.

Without oversimplifying it, “change” in a business sense means, “making your business, or part of your business” different than it was, or than it is today.”

If you want your business to be comfortable with becoming different, it has to become part of the normal way you do business.

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mwah. making work absolutely human

If you want to think in a more sophisticated way, or in more sophisticated language, about change in business, you can consider this – “change,” often referred to as, “change management” is a way of transitioning a business from what it is today, to something different. That can mean transitioning individuals, teams, and whole components of a business to a new way of working, or to new work, or to a new market, or to a new customer need.

It usually involves using specific change management methodologies to ensure the greatest chance of success. In big businesses managing large-scale change, it usually includes a “readiness assessment,” a change management plan, and a scorecard measuring the impact of the change.

In many small businesses, change management methodologies are often not used as they’re seen as cumbersome and overly administrative for businesses that need to turn on a postage stamp and move in a different direction.

Whatever methodology being used, when businesses are undergoing change they’re re-directing the use of resources, business process, budget, or other modes of operation to different opportunities or challenges. The change can be significant or a small tweak.

Change is usually the result of one of two things happening:

  • It is a strategic idea

This is a proactive change. “We can be better if …, we can make new opportunities if…., we can grow if…., we can get more customers if…., we can reduce costs if…..”, or something similar. The goals are set in a strategy and the business “changes” to deliver it. In short, the business is significantly reshaped in ways that leadership believes will be more successful. This is a proactive change – put simply, we want to run the business differently.

  • It is a response to a competitor or change in the market

This is a reactive change. The change is made in response to someone else’s actions, or to an unexpected change in the market. Often, responsive change is negative and aimed at surviving a difficult or new context for which the current business is unprepared. That said, you can often turn that response to a change in the market into a positive if it opens up new opportunities for customers, employees or other business partners.

Whether the change is proactive or reactive, it is almost always initiated by the business owners or leaders in the best interest of the business.

© 2017 All rights reserved
mwah. making work absolutely human

Leader: Change, Change Management, and Change Methodologies – Further Reading

There is a lot of literature on change, change management and change methodologies. If you want to become an expert, we recommend you start with these articles –

10 Principles of Change Management

Kotter’s 10 steps to change management

Models of managing change


© 2017 All rights reserved
mwah. making work absolutely human

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