When Does Change Happen? Here’s The Formula

formulaI came across an interesting equation fora management recently, and it clarifies why some change management programmes fail and others succeed.

It was developed by Dave Gleicher and enhanced by Dick Beckhard and others. Simply put, it states…

C= (DVF) >R

In this formula, Change is possible when the level of dissatisfaction with the status quo, the clarity of Vision and the grasp of the First steps to be taken can combine to be greater than the existing Resistance to change.

So, firstly, there has to be some pain associated with what’s happening at the moment. It’s only when this dissatisfaction level is acknowledged at the conscious level (called ‘threshold’) that the first momentum to change occurs.

Then there has to be some vision, or forward-future-focus, that will take the person or organisation forward out of the ‘pain’ and towards something that is seen as rewarding or wanted.

Without a plan of action, the first steps can’t be taken. As the Chinese proverb states ‘A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step’. Without knowing what that first step will be, there is no action and no momentum.

All of these have to be big enough to counter the resistance to change, or there will not be any progress.

How do you sell change within your business to the staff who will have to drive it? Take each step of this formula and identify how you can build commitment to the change by highlighting the results of remaining in the same position. Then create a vision of what will happen if change is embraced. Determine the first few steps that need to be taken. With the motivation of forward-future-focus, it should overcome any resistance you may be facing, and you can drive it in the direction you wish you go.

Looking for more help with change management? Try these articles:

Thanks again


Sean McPheat

Managing Director


(Image by arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.Net)

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Mark-WilliamsMark Williams

Mark Williams is a learning and development professional, using business psychology and multiple intelligences to create fascinating and quickly-identifiable learning initiatives in the real-world business setting. Mark’s role at MTD is to ensure that our training is leading edge, and works closely with our trainers to develop the best learning experiences for all people on learning programmes. Mark designs and delivers training programmes for businesses both small and large and strives to ensure that MTD’s clients are receiving the very best training, support and services that will really make a difference to their business.