Everyone knows what transformation is. Or do they? The term has been over-used to the point of absurdity. That’s the problem. The word transformation has been so trivialized that it’s lost its true meaning. It’s now on a par with awesome.
So, what exactly is transformation? It is re-invention. It’s life changing. It is a radical departure from what was yesterday to what will be tomorrow. It will impact everything it touches.
Amazon went from selling books online to selling almost everything there is to sell. They have become an indispensable resource for hundreds of millions of us. They transformed the way our society buys stuff and retailers sell stuff.
The first iPhone was transformational. Subsequent model changes are improvements. They’re good. They are not transformational.
You install a new ERP system. People learn new skills. They execute. It works. You improve operating results. You’re doing the same things you’ve done before, but differently and more effectively. It’s admirable. But it’s not transformational.
It is important to know the difference. Because if you praise operational changes as being transformational, you will have defined good as being exceptional.
Celebrating the ordinary as extraordinary lowers the performance bar in people’s minds. If you do that, you will create a culture in which good enough becomes the gold standard and true excellence is beyond comprehension.
By all means, praise positive changes. Just don’t call everything transformational.
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