Do bigger effects come from smaller changes?

By now all but the most diligent among us have given up on or simply forgotten our New Year’s resolutions-our plans for making changes in our lives prove remarkably difficult to stick with.

Since this is the case for each of us as individuals, it shouldn’t be surprising how often plans for affecting changes in groups of people-whether teams, departments or whole organizations-fall by the wayside. There can be a vast distance between the way things are and the way we want them to be, and the temptation is to make big changes all at once. Do major overhauls. Out with the old, in with the new. Sometimes this works.

Yet most of us resist change, and we are often better able to deal with it and more likely to stick with it when it happens incrementally. Here’s a great post by Peter Bergman on the Harvard Business Review blog reflecting on the very significant effects that can flow from smaller changes. He offers both personal and professional examples to illustrate his point.

What’s your experience with small changes? Have you ever made a big change by making small adjustments?