Changing the Definition of Change Management

September 29, 2009
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The current definitions of change management are hopelessly ’soft’ and poorly defined. Let’s look at how Wikipedia reports on the definition of change management.

Change management is a structured approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired future state. The current definition of Change Management includes both organizational change management processes and individual change management models, which together are used to manage the people side of change.(Wikipedia)

Various definitions include similar components, such as:

  • A structured approach
  • Including a set of tools and processes
  • To manage the people side of change

I find this definition too soft. Can you imagine trying to talk to a group of high tech engineers or scientists by leading with this definition? They would dismiss you faster than a professor that wants to get back to their research. As a result, I’m putting forth a new definition of change management.

Change Management is the art and science of  knowing how to get things done in an organization.

The discipline of change management requires emotional awareness, 



The current definitions of change management are hopelessly ’soft’ and poorly defined. Let’s look at how Wikipedia reports on the definition of change management.

Change management is a structured approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired future state. The current definition of Change Management includes both organizational change management processes and individual change management models, which together are used to manage the people side of change.(Wikipedia)

Various definitions include similar components, such as:

  • A structured approach
  • Including a set of tools and processes
  • To manage the people side of change

I find this definition too soft. Can you imagine trying to talk to a group of high tech engineers or scientists by leading with this definition? They would dismiss you faster than a professor that wants to get back to their research. As a result, I’m putting forth a new definition of change management.

Change Management is the art and science of  knowing how to get things done in an organization.

The discipline of change management requires emotional awareness, organizational saviness, and the understanding of the science of change. 

Check out the article, “Change Management – Understanding the Science of Change” by Christopher Koch. As the study and discipline of change management evolves, we must look to the research of our neuroscience friends. They have found and are continuing to find how the brain responds to change and it’s absolutely fascinating!