Something is “wrong” when it isn’t accurate or reflective of “reality” (for practical purposes, reflective of how life works). 1+1=3 is wrong.
In much the same way, the reputation of “transformation”, “personal transformation”, “organizational transformation” is also wrong. In part, the inaccuracy is that it is held in the wrong grammar — it isn’t a thing, a permanent state, an end state, or even necessarily a stable state. And in part, the inaccuracy about “transformation” comes from a hoped for permanent resolution. Ultimately, held in these ways, “transformation” becomes its own mode of being stuck — with a better story, a better “self-identity”, and a better gloss on the situation.
What the term “transformation” hides is its worst enemy. It hides that a “transformation of the kind of self a human being is” is called for many times in life. It hides that no one of them is a permanently fitting answer to life and living. Also hidden is that a “transformation” in the kind of self one considers oneself to be calls for an appropriate investment in ongoing development to mine the territory made available by the “transformation” and to move from unaware, to aware to competent to masterful of its powers. The conversation regarding “transformation” also hides that it has its limits, and that at some point it will call for its own transcendence –– another transformation — that resolves the crystallized limitations of the last one.
I find that it works best to flip the categories and to consider a “transformation” as an occasionally appropriate element inside an ongoing and consistent discipline of “development.” Development is always called for. There is a next level of adaptation and freedom with life that is always available. Occasionally, the next level of adaptation and freedom and power with life also calls for a new constellation of one’s self. You can call this “transformation” required, or you can call it a “transition point” in life.
Either way, it will be followed by the discipline of development to mine the territory opened. Also either way, over time, another transition point, another transformation, will be called for to bring one’s age and stage, one’s life project, a company’s culture, timely accomplishments that fit an altered culture or historical time, to a new and more fitting connection with others and life.
I have seen people reach for a next transformation, a next boot in the seat of the pants, when what was really missing was making good on the available powers of the last one. Without developing the powers appropriate to each transformation, there is lacking a solid base on which to build the next one. Instead of a solid pyramid built on reliable development throughout a life time, one gets a tall and thin pole of transformations that are brittle by nature and lack a wide degree of freedom.
Bet on ongoing development with integrity and you get transformations built on a solid base. Bet on transformation as the answer, and in all likelihood, large areas of needed development will be missing.
I say transformation is a subset of development. One in which the very “self” is altered. This happens in every well met transition in life.