Make Change Happen – Pushing Through Resistance

Change,Organistaional change, organisational transformation,resistance to change

Whether you have tried to make some changes in your own life or in your organisation, you will probably have heard of some, if not all, of these reasons/statistics about change:

  • You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink
  • Two-thirds of all organsiational change programmes fail
  • 95% of all personal development initiatives have no enduring effect after 3 months

Why? The reasons about failure and resistance to change are many and include:

  • Fear of failure, the unknown, personal cost, loss of control……etc etc
  • Habits can be hard to break
  • That doesn’t make sense to ME
  • Unwillingness to learn and adapt
  • Lack of trust
  • It’s our future as well and nobody asked us our opinion
  • The failures and successes of history

Here’s a way that I learnt some years ago about implementing change in both a business and personal context that works and can really help identify where the obstacles to real and sustainable change lie.

The formula for change (see below) was created by Bleckhard and Gleicher (and simplified by Dannemiller), all organisational development giants in their field. It is typically used when a business is faced with changing circumstances and needs to identify the need for change, the future goal and how change is to be implemented. This is equally useful when applied to individual employees, leaders or personal circumstances when planning a personal development change.

D x V x F >R

In the model:

  • The D represents Dissatisfaction – the need to identify clearly why staying where we are is not acceptable.
  • The V represents the Vision of the change – the compelling vision (business or personal) that you are looking to achieve. In developing your vision, it may be helpful to think about via the 5P’s (Purpose: why do we have to do this; Picture: what will it look like when we arrive; Plan: what’s our step by step plan of how we will get there; Performance: how will we keep score so we know if we are winning; and Part: if there is more than one person involved, what is my role and role others need to play in order to move the process forward).
  • The F represents the First Steps needed in order to get the change moving – like in so many things it is the first steps of the plan that are the most important as they are the ones that break with the old inertia and generate the momentum that is needed to make the planned change sustainable.
  • The R represents Resistance to Change – this could one of or all of the reasons that were mentioned above

The key thing about this model are the relations between the D, the V and the F, where they are multiplied together and together they need to be greater than R for change to happen. The interesting thing here is the mathematical truth in the model: If D or V or F are zero then the left side of the relation will be zero and, therefore, there will be no change.

Can you apply this model to manage or implement change you see in your business or personal life? If you have tried to change something in the past, does this model help you identify where you might have gone wrong or what you may have missed in your change process?

4 comments On Make Change Happen – Pushing Through Resistance

  • I like this model Adrian. It’s simple and to the point yet encompassess all you need for implementing long lasting change.

    I think the Vision step is very important. Lots of people in life and in business want to change something that they have become dissatisfied with but have no idea what kind of end result they want to produce
    .-= Ben´s last blog ..This week’s Personal Development Homework =-.

    • I agree Ben. The beauty of this model is that the Vision bit doesn’t need to be huge to get started as it could be all heavily weighted to the dissatisfaction and detailed first steps. It just has to have some clarity and direction about it.

      I find it, as a model, incredibly powerful for unpicking what’s holding me, people I work with or whole companies back.

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