The HUMAN SIDE of CHANGE
The Human Side of Improvement
“. . . THROUGH . . .”
IMPROVEMENT is about change. The word IMPROVEMENT denotes and connotes better. The word CHANGE
more often connotes worse. Most people perceive IMPROVEMENT efforts as CHANGE.
There are two kinds of change. Social scientists have dubbed the first kind – morphostasis, the ability to look
different yet remain the same. The look of an organization is altered but the core of the organization and its
output remains the same. A puppy becomes a dog, a duckling becomes a duck. The second kind of change has
been called morphgenesis. This type of change alters the genetics of an organization, and unalterably affects
and is reflected in every aspect of an organization’s being. A puppy becomes a panther, a duckling becomes a
horse. World-class organizations learn and master this second type of change and are continually reinventing
themselves to respond to their business environments.
Improvement is change. And change is CREATION. But every act of CREATION is an act of destruction. For
something to be created, the form and substance of what is must be dissolved. If you decide to cut down a tree,
saw it into boards and build a house; you can’t get the tree back. It’s that simple.
Improvement takes commitment. The greater the improvement envisioned, the greater the commitment. Step-
change improvements are rare because of the need for fundamental organizational ownership to let go of “the
way things have been”, to move out of an organization’s comfort zone.
In a competitive environment standing still is moving backward relative to competitors. Making a commitment to
improve is not without risk. But not making a commitment to improve is also a risk, often a greater risk
depending on the vigor of the present competitors and business environments, and more strategically, future
competition (e.g. Substitutes). Going “on hold” is not an option. Even so, it does not make choosing to move
forward, to improve faster than the competition, a “no-brainier” to implement.
When you are talking about the rate of improvement, keep in mind that most will understand you as talking
about the rate of change, and all will hear (at one point or another) the rate of destruction.
Oak Leaf Consulting, LLC