Terminological inexactitude No.1 – Change Management

An occasional series on phrases we use that imply the opposite of what we intend

Change is disruptive, unruly, unpredictable, uncomfortable, uncontrollable. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, that’s just the way it is. It’s part of life. The idea of managing it is ridiculous, but it gives us a sense of control and deceive ourselves that we have mastery over events. However, by focusing on control it is emphasising the negative side of change. Change is not just necessary, it is inevitable and it is how we develop as people, as businesses and as society. So why do we imply it is negative every time we refer to it in business?

I remember doing geography at school, which I loved (I still bore my family by pointing out geographical features and getting all emotional over truncated spurs), and we spent some time studying rivers. When there is a change in the angle of fall in a river due, for example, to local ground movement or a fall in sea level, it is called a ‘rejuvenation’. The river increases in rate of flow, becomes much more dynamic and powerful, and begins to affect the geography around it rather than the other way around.

I wonder how more successful ‘change management programmes’ would be if we called them ‘rejuvenation programmes’.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s