Established, since 1997, leading UK based training provider.

What is the Difference Between Change Management and Continuous Improvement

What is the difference between change management and continuous improvement

The difference between change management and continuous improvement

Some people get two similar concepts confused.

And to be in a state of confusion is not good.

It is important to define your major concepts.

Let us therefore clarify the meaning and the differences between.

  1. Change management and
  2. Continuous improvement

1. Change management

Change management is the broader term

Since "Change" is a universal phenomenon that occurs all the time, to everything, then change management is "the process of coping with the effects of altered circumstances".

These changes (altered circumstances) may be caused by three sets of causes:

  • Nature. (A hurricane may wreck your house).
  • Other people. (The government might bomb your house).
  • Yourself. (You might leave the gas on and blow up your own house).

But change can be both negative and positive change; things can get better or worse, as a result of the change.

Change management is the process by which one manages variations in circumstances initiated by nature, other people or yourself, either for good or for ill: meaning:

  • How one manages the impact of a disaster.
  • How one manages the impact of an alteration in the law.
  • How one manages the impact of a new technology.

Change management is a description of how one modifies ones actions to accommodate the ever changing environment; for the good or for the ill.

Contrast that to continuous improvement.

2. Continuous improvement is a sub-category of change management

Continuous improvement is driven only by yourself.

It is not imposed by others.

Nature will not make you improve yourself.

Continuous improvement is pre-emptive action designed to improve upon the current situation, by means of self-generated and self-organised planned action.
Continuous improvement implies only positive, self-generated change.

Continuous improvement comes in two types: evolutionary and revolutionary.

  • Evolutionary modifications of the existing design.
  • Revolutionary introduction of a new design (and the discarding of the old design).

Evolutionary continuous improvement is by definition:

  • Small modifications.
  • Numerous modifications.
  • Over long periods of time.
  • Continuous and easy to do.

Revolutionary continuous improvement is:

  • Large changes
  • In one decisive movement
  • Over a short period of time.
  • Periodic and not easy to do.

Continuous improvement is self-initiated planned and pre-emptive action designed to improve the current situation by means of evolutionary or revolutionary change.

Summary

  1. Change management is the broader term. It covers both progressive and regressive change.
  2. Continuous improvement is the narrower term. It covers only progressive change. And the progressive change is subdivided into evolutionary and revolutionary progressive change.

I hope that clarifies the two concepts for you.

FREE Training Needs Analysis Free Training Needs Analysis Logo

FREE Training Needs Analysis!

In order to get the best from your training, you need to discover your relative strengths and weaknesses. Take our FREE training needs analysis questionnaire now and get a report in less than five minutes!

Blogs by Email

Do you want to receive an email whenever we post a new blog? The blogs contain article 5-10 minutes long - ideal for reading during your coffee break!

Your Comments

Further Reading in Change Management

  • Measure the Feedback
    Once you have set your goal, don't forget to measure your progress and act on feedback. Feedback tells you how well you are doing, and whether you need to make any adjustments to achieving that goal.
    Read Article >
  • Change - If it ain't broke, don't fix it
    Change management training - If it ain't broke, don't fix it is incorrect Many people fight change. The reason for that is that change implies uncertainty. And the human mind does not like being uncertain. Hence, many will put up with circumstances they DO NOT like, for fear of making a...
    Read Article >
  • Change management - Change is inevitable
    Change management - Change is inevitable "You can't step into the same river twice". Means that change is always with us. Yet many people are troubled by change. Why is that? The reason is, that we are always running habitual "mental routines": habits; Habit patterns of thought and action. You have...
    Read Article >
  • Managing Negative Attitudes To Change
    Companies need to evolve, which involves change. Often, employees will complain about change and want things to remain as they are. As a manager you must be able to read the mood of your staff and manage their emotions and attitudes towards change.
    Read Article >
  • Change Should be an Evolution, Not a Revolution
    People find it hard to accept change. But for organisations and ourselves to adapt and improve, change is necessary. Change doesn't have to be revolutionary, it can in fact evolutionary. Well organised and well paced.
    Read Article >