Micro change is the next big thing
Micro change is the next big thing

Micro change is the next big thing

I have been thinking a great deal over the past few weeks about change. Big changes, small changes, planned changes, enforced changes, when I stumbled upon commentary from Signe Bruskin, author of Micro Changes.

She informs us, change is all too often unsuccessful. However, where the changes exerts a tangible influence on an individual’s day-to-day work life, a factor pivotal to their well-being and engagement in the workplace, it succeeds. What is more, micro changes, wield a profound impact on employees. For example, the resignation of a top manager. I knew of the importance of a BFF at work, however, this appears to extend further still.

Categorising Micro Changes

She classifies micro changes can be classified into five distinct categories:

  1. Everyday changes: Changes to our daily work routines, such as the removal of the coffee machine.
  2. Routine changes: Shifts in work processes, like the implementation of a new IT system.
  3. Physical changes: Modifications to physical spaces, such as relocating to a new office (and having experienced numerous moves and meetings about proposed moves, this is rarely micro).
  4. Relational changes: Transformations in work relationships, like the one above.
  5. Identity changes: Adjustments to professional identity, a new role for example.

While each micro change may fall into one or more of these categories, their impact is subjective. It is the inherent subjectivity that complicates the management of micro changes, as opposed to a conventional understanding of organisational changes, where consensus is reached on the significance of a change.

Leveraging Micro Actions:

How to make the most of these micro changes, or micro moments, that can also serve as catalysts for strategic transformations.

These micro change seize the attention of staff and hence, there exists a potential to proactively use them to navigate or initiate positive micro actions. Translating strategies into tangible micro changes, that directly impact individuals, can pave the way for strategic success.

Interesting… when small is actually big.

What is our role as change agents or HR or leaders?

Navigating the paradox of action versus doubt is pivotal in leading change. Though the aim may not always be stability, nor is it instability. So what actions might move us forward? Bruskin offers: “balance action with listening.”


Micro matters. It matters unevenly.

Do not underestimating the importance of micro changes. What may appear trivial from an organisational standpoint can be significant for individual staff member’s standpoint. Their subjective influence makes the impact unpredictable. Therefore, embrace a listening ear, coupled with proactive action.

To your advantage, break down strategic transformations into tangible micro changes, build organisational resilience and agility in an ever-evolving landscape. Bruskin is essentially encouraging change agents to pay attention to the subtle shifts within an organisation and leveraging them strategically to drive positive outcomes for both staff and the organisation.

Refreshingly honest, refreshingly complex.

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