When Does Change Happen? Here’s The Formula

formulaI came across an interesting equation 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

Don’t worry if this looks too confusing. It isn’t. Let me break it down so you can understand it and then use it.

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

MTD Training   | Image courtesy by arztsamui of FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

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Updated on: 16 October, 2011

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