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Embracing Progress: Understanding the Difference Between Change and Transformation

Updated: Feb 8

An image of change
Change vs Transformation

In the realm of business, the terms 'change' and 'transformation' are often used interchangeably. However, I believe it's essential to distinguish between these two concepts, as they have different implications for an organisation's progress and success.

Defining Change

Change refers to the process of making something different from what it was. It's a shift from one state to another, often brought about by external factors.

In a business context, change can involve altering processes, updating systems, or introducing new policies. It's typically a reaction to a specific issue or challenge, with the aim of improving a particular aspect of the organisation.

Defining Transformation

Transformation, on the other hand, is a complete overhaul of an organisation's operations, culture, and identity. It's a fundamental shift in how the organisation functions and perceives itself.

Unlike change, transformation is proactive rather than reactive. It's driven by a desire to innovate and evolve rather than a need to solve immediate problems.

Change vs Transformation: A Comparative Analysis

While both change and transformation aim to improve an organisation, they differ in several key aspects.


Change usually involves tweaking specific areas of an organisation, while transformation entails a complete redesign of the organisation's way of doing things.


Change is a temporary shift, while transformation is a permanent shift. Once a transformation is complete, there's no going back to the old way of doing things.


Changes have a limited impact on an organisation's overall operations, while transformations have a profound and lasting impact.

The Importance of Understanding the Difference

Understanding the difference between change and transformation is crucial for business leaders. It helps them to formulate strategies that are appropriate for their organisation's needs and aspirations.

How to Implement Change and Transformation

Implementing change and transformation in an organisation requires careful planning and execution. Here are some steps I recommend:

1. Define the desired outcome: Before initiating change or transformation, it's important to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve.

2. Develop a strategy: This should outline the steps needed to achieve the desired outcome and include measures for tracking progress.

3. Communicate the plan: Ensure all stakeholders understand the plan and their role in it.

4. Implement the plan: This involves executing the steps outlined in the strategy.

5. Evaluate the results: After implementation, assess whether the desired outcome has been achieved.


While both change and transformation can lead to improvement, they entail different approaches and have different impacts on an organisation. By understanding the difference between these two concepts, business leaders can make more informed decisions about the future of their organisations.

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