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6 Types of Change Strategy

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A change strategy is an approach to change. This may be applied to an organization as a whole or to a particular strategy, program or project. The following are common types of change strategy.

Innovation vs Improvement

Innovation is a program of bold experimentation that seeks to challenge the status quo. Improvement is a more incremental process of changing things, measuring and changing again. Each of these change strategies has its place. For example, an innovative new company that invents a new business model that threatens much larger firms in an industry may need to quickly improve in areas such as marketing and operations in order to build market share before others enter the market with the same business model.

Planned vs Emergent

Planned change is planned up front, often by developing requirements and designs. Emergent change happens incrementally. For example, a software development project may spend months planning hundreds of features up front and then develop the project over nine months such that a single release takes about a year. Alternatively, a software development project may plan as it goes and implement a few features every three weeks. This allows working code to be launched quickly to get real world feedback.

Top Down vs Bottom Up

Change can be planned from the top or can incorporate ideas from all stakeholders. For example, a city might plan improvements using "experts" in areas such as urban planning, urban sociology and smart city technologies. Alternatively, communities may play a role such that each neighborhood tries different approaches. This may give each neighborhood a unique character and lead to more satisfaction with spending amongst tax payers. Things that work well might be scaled out across the city.

Competitive Parity vs Competitive Advantage

Change can be designed to catch-up to your competitors by emulating their products, services and processes. Alternatively, you may lead the way by establishing unique and valuable advantages over the competition.

Proactive vs Last Responsible Moment vs Reactive vs No-Change

Proactive change is driven by your predictions of the future. Last responsible moment is change that is only done when it is sure to add significant value. This can be based on near-certain predictions of the future. Reactive change is pushed by the current state of things. No-change is the strategic choice to do nothing. For example, if you are certain a competitor is going to fail with a new strategy, you need not change to challenge the strategy in the market. Doing nothing is a type of strategy as it conserves your resources and may be a strategic advantage.

Change Management

Change management is a set of strategies for change leadership. Too often, sponsors of a project issue a command that a project be done without leading it properly. Change management is the practice of selling change, motivating teams, sidelining resistance to change, enabling and rewarding change agents, managing issues and adapting change to real world conditions.
Overview: Change Strategy
An approach to change.
Related Concepts

Change Management

This is the complete list of articles we have written about change management.
Agents Of Change
Anticipating Objections
Bias For Action
Big Bang Adoption
Business Change
Business Stakeholders
Business Transformation
Change Agent
Change Analysis
Change Characteristics
Change Drivers
Change Fatigue
Change Impact
Change Management
Change Plan
Change Planning
Change Principles
Change Process
Change Readiness
Change Resistance
Change Risk
Change Strategy
Choice Architecture
Communication Mgmt
Contingency Planning
Emergent Change
Goal Setting
Impact Analysis
Initial Excitement
Lessons Learned
Message Framing
Nudge Theory
Organizing Principle
Resistance To Change
Revenue Impact
Scope Creep
Status Quo
Turnaround Management
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Change Management

A list of change management first principles.

Status Quo

The definition of status quo with examples.


The common types of change.


The definition of incrementalism with examples.

Organizational Culture Change

An overview of common approaches to organizational culture change with examples.

Change Management Plan

Examples of change management plans that can be used as a template or sample.

Turnaround Management

The definition of turnaround management with examples.

Change Resistance

The common types of resistance to change.

Organizational Change Management

The definition of organizational change management with examples.

Change Agent

A definition of change agent with examples.

Change Drivers

The definition of change driver with examples.

Resistance To Change

The definition of resistance to change with examples.

Continuous Change

The definition of continuous change with examples.

Global Change

An overview of global change with examples.

Culture Change

An overview of culture change with examples.

Organizational Change Communication

An overview of organizational change communication with examples.

Organizational Change

The four types of organizational change with examples of each.
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