‘Change’ vs ‘Transformation’ – Is There a Difference?

“Change” and “Transformation”. I often see these words used interchangeably in my conversations with clients, as well as written in articles, books and web posts; yet, this Harvard Business Review article, “We Still Don’t Know the Difference Between Change and Transformation” suggests that these two words are, in fact, very different from one another.

In Appreciative Inquiry, words create worlds; so if the clients we work with see these two words as one in the same, will this have an impact on your consultancy, their learning, the outcomes generated from an inquiry and/or workshop, or the sustainability of said outcomes? If so, how?

What do you think? Are “change” and “transformation” (dis)similar? How do you, personally, define these two words? Are these words completely independent of one another? Or does one need to happen first for the second to occur?

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