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The Little-by-Little Principle

Here we see that God indicates the process will take some time because other problems could arise otherwise. We also see that increase - or their readiness - was a key element in the process.

As a consultant in the field of organizational change, I understand the importance of readiness. Projects often fail due to lack of readiness within the organization.

Without readiness, people are simply not prepared to "occupy" the future state. It will be too easy to go back to "business as usual" - to lose what has been gained - because the important foundation is missing (and the foundation for the "old way" is still well established). Little by little is the approach for building that foundation - a foundation that helps sustain the needed changes over time.

Applying little by little in business means that we need to understand that people may not be fully ready even though the vision and the accompanying structures, systems and processes are ready. Little by little, people need to change their thinking and their actions. In fact, the Bible supports the notion of mindset shift when it comes to transformation. Romans 12:2 says, "?be transformed by the renewing of your mind?" (NKJV).

Anything that requires new mindsets, by its very nature, will naturally follow the little-by-little principle because a change in thinking is progressive. If we understand that, we will cooperate with the process. But if we do not understand it, we may be inappropriately impatient with the process and with the people who are going through it.

Business leaders who understand the little-by-little principle during transformational change are more likely to constructively handle the natural ups and downs that accompany it. In fact, in my experience, it is often best to have some issues in the beginning. Simply the process of analyzing the problems and making the needed adjustments can lead to an understanding of what the organization is facing, and clarify some of the needed mindset shifts themselves. Easy victories are not as cherished as those that were difficult and won through hard work. People who tell the stories of these hard-won victories (easy ones don't make for good stories!) are supporting the needed changes in thinking. They are, in essence, supporting the little-by-little principle in action.

July01, 2008 at 2:04 PM

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