Change: Incremental Or Radical

Understanding the type of change is critical for determining how to execute the change. You can look at everything as a form of change. As I type this post, I’m changing the World Wide Web (albeit in a minor way), I’m possibly impacting the thinking of a reader (or at least I hope I am) and the reader may subsequently take actions that positively impact others. Is your new project going to change the world? Is your product going to put your competition out of business or is it going to create jobs for people. Since you can only control your actions but not their consequences, it is imperative to consider as many consequences as feasible before acting and making the change. The attributes of the change dictate the exact manner in which to carry out the change.

We want to go places (figuratively) but many of us do not consider how we should get from where we are currently to where we want to be. Let’s say your goal is to get a new job. Carrying out this change may involve networking, updating your resume, interviewing, and months of hard work or might be a simple conversation with an old colleague who hires you on the spot. If you want to stop a destructive, unhealthy relationship, the change should be as swift as possible while managing the impact on others affected (children, parents, etc.). At work you are asked to complete a project. Should you jump right in and start working on the deliverable, should you make radical steps, or should you plan your work and execute the plan in a methodical manner. Much thought should go into understanding the type of change including factors such as its impact and its value.

I have heard people say that in order to have radical impact, you must make radical steps (or for incremental impact, make incremental steps). The problem is that radical steps can and often do result in mediocre or incremental impact, while incremental small steps can result in radical impact (the Internet is an example). Consider the impact desired, the value to you and to the society, consider your role and responsibility, consider the steps and people involved and act in the most appropriate way. One final thought, do not be afraid to make the change if you believe it will have positive, useful and healthy consequences. Don’t just wish for the results. Don’t be afraid of the path to get to the results. Consider the change, its impact, and make it happen radically or one small step at a time.

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