Radical Vs. Accumulative Change

Optimizing is something we usually do to either the process, flow or even existing products that we have created. Optimizing means that we are changing it for a better result. But how do we implement the changes? Is it by radically changing it or by doing accumulative changes?

Toyota becoming #1 in vehicle manufacturing by constantly doing small changes to their manufacturing processes. The changes that they implement could be accumulated to 1 million changes in a year. Doing a lot of small changes will need a lot of work and time but accumulative changes could give us a huge impact on what we are doing whilst reducing the risk making a false change altogether. The time it needed for the changes to show its result may took longer than expected. Nevertheless, accumulative change sometimes is a waste of effort if not defined properly. The thousands of changes that is implemented might not show any result whatsoever and is a waste of time and resources.

Now let’s talk about implementing radical change. Implementing radical change will show us how effective the changes are but we also need to consider a lot of factor by doing this. The time it needed will be much less compared to accumulative changes but the risk of implementing radical changes is really high. I have read in seen in several cases that when doing this they are having a risk in shutting down altogether. Instead of having a better result for the change, they are having big trouble with the changes they implement. The damage that they cause could be tangible damage (assets, loss, etc) and even intangible damage (reputation, trust, etc). Sometimes, radical change will give an excellent result compared to accumulative change, this can be shown by how IBM changes. The changes that they made enables them keep sustaining and growing.

Here are the advantages of these two types of changes:

Radical Change Accumulative Change
The time that is needed to be able to see the changes is shorter Lowers the risk in having a complete meltdown or shutdown
Having a mega blueprint for the changes can actually be done Minimizes the effort needed in each stage of the changes

The disadvantages of these two types of changes :

Radical Change Accumulative Change
Have a high risk of completely meltdown or shutdown Took a long time and effort to implement
After the changes has been done, additional cost and effort for utilizing the changes needed to be done (such as training etc) A lot of changes procedures needed to be managed

Having these two types of changes, what do you think is the best one?

The answer is none. These types of changes both have their own merits and can be useful according to the circumstances, resources and time span. Defining the right moment and the right situation for implementing the changes is really important for maximizing the result received.

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