Change Leadership — Secret # 62
Calculate the Formula for Change
Some men see things as they are and say why.
I dream things that never were and say why not? —George Bernard Shaw
What I Need to Know
“The Formula for Change,” developed by Richard Beckhard and David Gleicher, is a useful tool for assessing the situation and determining next steps in your sales cycle. The fundamental premise of the formula is that driving forces must exceed resisting forces:
D = Dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction with the current situation.
V = Vision. A clear vision of the positive outcome that a change could bring.
F = First steps. A clear understanding of the first steps that can be taken toward executing the change.
E = Economic. Economic costs including labor, materials, and so on.
P = Psychological. Emotional and other psychological costs such as stress, culture change, and so on.
Notice that the driving factors are multiplicative, meaning all of the driving factors must be present in order for the change to happen. The resisting factors are additive because the presence of either will hinder change.
What I Need to Do
The Formula for Change provides straightforward, prescriptive guidance:
- Reinforce dissatisfaction with the status quo.
- Clarify and reinforce the benefits of the change.
- Identify and clarify the specific, concrete steps that will be taken to initiate the change.
- Minimize the effort, cost, and risk of making the change.
- Minimize psychological and emotional factors that hinder change.
Using the formula to calculate the relative magnitude of driving and resisting forces is much trickier. For example, how do you measure the magnitude of dissatisfaction relative to the economic costs? You basically have two options: (1) describe all the factors in economic terms (e.g., opportunity costs become a proxy for dissatisfaction) or (2) measure all of the factors on a weighted scale. You have probably already developed an economic justification for the change, so the formula is useful as a guide for leading it.