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Knowing what needs to be changed in an organization is the first step toward success. Knowing how to change it is the second step. Over many years of consulting I have found answering these two questions at the beginning of an organizational change is critical to its overall success. Once they are answered there are four primary types of change to choose from. Selecting the best type you’re going to implement very much depends on what it is you are trying to accomplish and what your timeline is for accomplishing it.

The first type of change is a “Tweak.”

We call it that because it’s a combination of small adjustments that are made to the current people and/or financial resources while retaining the business’s current vision, people, and organizational structure. An example of a tweak might be adding a specific program or adjusting a series of events.

The second type of change is a “Transition.”

Our research shows that 70% of all leaders and first-line directors are not meeting the contribution expectations for their role. A transition uses the current people and/or financial resources of the organization but often changes their roles and responsibilities as well as their accountabilities and authority. In a transition, more major changes are made to people and resources than in a tweak. But again, they are made while using the current vision, people, resources, and organizational structure at hand. An example of this might be moving a department from one area to another, changing a leader’s role within the business, or shifting how resources are allocated.

The third type of change is a “Transformation.”

A transformation rethinks what everyone and everything is doing in order to move a business to its next stage of growth. This includes the people, resources, vision, and the organizational structure of the business. All of these aspects must be understood and possibly changed in order for the business to continue its growth curve and develop a greater capacity to meet the needs of its customers.

The fourth type of change is a “Turnaround.”

 This is required when there is a highly critical problem or crisis that is causing issues across the entire business. A turnaround might happen to a business in crisis because of a loss of vision or because of an instance of fraud. Whatever the problem, businesses in this situation require immediate action to prevent the problem from growing completely out of control.

Organizations that determine what type of change is required before they begin are able to more successfully navigate a meaningful and effective change. Using a type of change that does not truly meet the stated goals can produce negative results.