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Change Management Definition

The Cosmetic Approach!

If you’re looking for a straightforward change management definition, have a look at our series of change management articles. These contain traditional ways to define change management along with some more alternate ways of thinking.

For example, we suggest that a definition of change management should be more than just identifying processes and steps. It must also address the importance of the principles and values underpinning any organisation or change therein.

Here we consider a third approach to defining change. One with a twist! This article is another of our alternate ways to think about change management.

Changing your change management definition?

Conventional, well-structured change models abound. They offer plenty of advice and can be an important management tool. However, change can be a difficult thing to achieve in many organisations so sometimes it’s useful to encourage ourselves, or our people, to think more laterally.

Often, thinking differently about a situation can be just what’s needed to help get that change management ball rolling. This model helps define change by describing the features of an organisation reluctant to evolve.

These features are “adapted” from an everyday item that prompted some real lateral thinking…… a shampoo bottle! The model suggests that organisations reluctant to change can be characterised by:

Change management definition

  • Weakness – not building on strengths but focusing on whatever is easiest or cheapest.
  • Dullness – little enthusiasm and zest for work or change.
  • Dryness – brittle and fragile, rather than fluid and adaptable.
  • Lack of manageability – poorly structured, managed, administered, staffed.
  • Splits – different parts of the organisation pulling in different directions.
  • Loss of body – not building for sustainability, the organisation is not in the shape it needs to be in order to grow.

Ok, so we have slightly adapted the “six types of unhealthy hair” listed on one particular bottle of shampoo, but there is still much usefulness in this tongue in cheek approach. After all, it’s not just the back of beer mats that can be unlikely sources of bright ideas!

A cosmetic change management definition?

With some organisational interpretation on each of these features, maybe you could encourage some serious change with our “back of a shampoo bottle” change model!

This might appear to be a cosmetic change management definition in one sense, although there is little “cosmetic” about the 6 features described above. And who knows, trying a more light-hearted approach to a heavy subject may just prompt more open-minded participation in your organisation.

With apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein, maybe you can do more with shampoo than just “wash that man (woman) right out of your hair”. Maybe you can use it to encourage some positive, long-lasting change, for everybody’s benefit. You never know where you might find a different perspective on change!

If you want another change management definition, or want to read more about the theory of organisational change, see our articles: “Theory of Change Management” and “What is Change Management“.


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