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Transformation Management vs. Change Management
04/04/2016
Samuel Townsel's picture
Author:
Samuel Townsel

Change management is a term that has been used in the industry to describe an organizational or individual change to achieve a required business outcome. Recently, a new buzzword has started to make its way into the arena by the name of transformation management. People have and will continue to use the two terms to be one in the same, but they really do mean different things. So what are the differences?

Let’s start with the word “change”. The definition of change is to “alter, modify or substitute something”. So when you look at it from an organizational or individual perspective, someone has identified a particular problem and the answer is to isolate and change that behavior to eliminate that particular problem that normally does not cut across the entire organization. Now let’s look at the word “transformation”. The definition of transformation is to “make a dramatic change with the intent of creating something new or improved”. It focuses on a broad range of initiatives that will affect the entire organization. Based on the definitions alone, the clear difference is the scale of the problem within the organization. 

Again, looking at it from an organizational perspective, change can be complex or relatively simple.  Either way, the approach is the same. Change is all about having outside influences force an organization to modify particular actions to achieve a desired result. Transformation on the other hand is about changing the entire culture of how the organization operates to achieve natural actions for a desired result. For most organizations, change management is deployed because a business is being reactionary to a pain point they are experiencing. “Something has to change, because we are tired of putting out these fires!” So a process is changed and communications are sent to explain how we are going to stop putting out this particular fire. Organizations who deploy transformation management are engaged in a proactive approach to a pain point they are experiencing. “We are going to change our culture so that we can keep anyone from even starting fires!”

The next time you are contemplating about a change management effort, think about this. Will the change you seek through your new processes achieve the intended result? Does the change align with your organization’s culture? I’ll leave you with this illustration. Think about change management like a snake what sheds its skin only to shed it skin again as the snake grows in size. In the end, you still dealing with a snake. Transformation management is like a caterpillar that changes into a butterfly.

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Comments

Great points here. It's so

Great points here. It's so important that we understand the differences in these management styles and how they can affect businesses nowadays. Thanks for sharing your insight!

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