Gradual Change is Better

Posted: March 27, 2012 in Readiness & Strategy
Tags: , , , , , ,

Whenever we want to make changes, we’re usually tempted to go full out and try to change everything at once.

There are two main reasons why this isn’t a good idea. The first is that a major, 180-degree change usually fails, because there are so many behaviours and skill changes that are required, that they can’t possibly all be mastered quickly enough to make the change a success. When we don’t change as quickly as we had anticipated, we lose heart and often give up.

The second reason is that making a major change entails significant risks, both in terms of quantity and of quality. The more risks there are, the more the chances of something going wrong. If you can’t control and manage all these risks, then the probability of failure goes up markedly.

This is why I advocate gradual, controlled change. Someone may argue that radical change is sometimes required. True. But if it is required, then there is something that has gone seriously amiss to make this a requirement. Furthermore, there are often warning signs that something needs to be done to bring a situation back on track. If you wait too long, you end up in a situation where you have no choice, and have to make radical changes.

In our personal lives, this could be a weight problem, or something else related to our health and wealth-being. It could also be a relationship, personal or professional. In business, companies sometimes have to make drastic changes, but the situation calling for the massive change didn’t just materialize overnight. In some cases, it can take years or even decades for a situation to deteriorate to the point where drastic change is called for.

In the next post, I’ll look at some of the ways that we can manage change in a more gradual manner than an abrupt 90- or 180-degree turn.

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