Formula for Change

Formula for Change

Very few things conjure up feelings of stress and panic like change.  I was having a conversation with a friend about some changes he encountered this week, it was for the most part just a typical week.  Except for perhaps one major event in his life; Apple introduced their newest, most advanced operating system yet; “The world’s most advanced mobile OS. In its most advanced form.”


Wow then our conversation took off, he at first fought the change, then decided to go for it and then the panic crept in.  He mentioned how he was a little dissatisfied with how things were currently, perhaps in comparison to some of the “other” devices on the market.  Apple did an amazing job painting a picture of a vision of what the new OS could mean, but as my friend flip flopped on the decision, back and forth.  Should he or not.  Finally, after debating with himself for hours, calling me at least 3-4 times, as well as probably another 2-3 people, he wore through his resistance and made the first step to start the download.  He found the upgrade setting on his phone, found out he needed to delete some items from his memory in order to upgrade (more resistance) finally started it and in a mere 15 -20 minutes was joyfully playing with the phone.   Ahhh stress relieved and life moves on.

The Formula:

Let’s dissect what my friend went through according to the Formula for Change, originally introduced in 1969 by Richard Beckhard and David Gleicher and made popular by Kathie Dannemiller.

D x V x F > R

Essentially 3 things or factors must be present for any substantial and meaningful change to take place:

D = Dissatisfaction with how things are now;
V = Vision of what is possible;
F = First, concrete steps that can be taken towards the vision;

If the product of these three factors is greater than
R = Resistancechange-formula

Part of why I think my friend flip flopped on the decision was he wasn’t completely dissatisfied with the status quo.  What probably transferred him the most was the how if he doesn’t like being behind from a technology standpoint.

Having a better understanding regarding the how and why of resistance impacts the decisions we make, which in turn will have a major impact on the stress in your organization.

When you’re ready to create change within your organization: anticipate the need, paint a clear picture for your intended future, and review concrete steps which must be taken to move to your intended future.

Think about the Formula for Change in your organization or company and how it’s helped bring about meaningful change.  What are some of the steps anTime for changed factors you went through?


Stress Less Communication at Work – Success in 5.5 Steps!

What would your work day be like if you had Stress Less Communication at work? 

Think about this scenario:

You’re in the break room with a colleague, when he looks over and asks, “Do you always butter your bread that way?”

Ha, ha, you laugh. But inside, your story is going like this: Who does he think he is, Mr. Manners? What’s wrong with the way I butter my bread? Jerk. He’s always so critical.

learn to be stress-less

Freeze frame.

If something as minor as buttering bread can provoke such feelings of defensiveness, imagine what can happen with more important issues at work.

What happens, says Sharon Ellison, M.S., is essentially war. Ellison, founder of Powerful Non-Defensive Communication, teaches that the way we communicate with each other uses the same principles and tactics we would use in physical combat, based on the belief that we must protect ourselves by being defensive. As soon as we feel any threat, either of not getting what we want or of being harmed or put down in some way, we choose from among the three basic defensive war maneuvers: surrender, withdrawal or counterattack.

Stress Less communicaiton at work

The myth, says Ellison, is that defensiveness will protect us, that to be open is to be vulnerable and weak. On the contrary, it is being defensive that weakens us. If the people you work with can’t rely upon your keen assessment of your role in a given situation they won’t trust you as much.

In a corporate setting, defensiveness can result in power struggles and unnecessary, destructive conflicts. And if you are defensive with customers and clients, you are more likely to lose them.

While you’re busy defending yourself, there’s also not much room for meaningful contact with others. Nor can you learn from their feedback or from your own mistakes. Your defensiveness hurts you the most.

Despite clear advantages to non-defensiveness, the opposite is pervasive. Ellison estimates that we use 95% of our communications energy being defensive. She describes the six most common defensive reactions as follows:

Surrender-Betray. We give in but defend the person’s mistreatment of us, taking the blame ourselves.

Surrender-Sabotage. We cooperate outwardly but undermine the person in some way. Passive-aggressive behavior falls into this category.

Withdrawal-Escape. We avoid talking to someone by not answering, leaving the room or changing the subject.

Withdrawal-Entrap. We refuse to give information as a way to trap the other person into doing something inappropriate or making a mistake.

Counterattack-Justify. We let someone know she is wrong to be upset with us, explaining our own behavior and making excuses.

Counterattack-Blame. We attack or judge the other to defend ourselves.

To curb your own defensive reactions, consider these 5.5 steps to Stress Less Communication.

  1. If you feel criticized, rather than reacting or retreating, take a deep breath, tell yourself that it’s only feedback and just listen. You can correct the record later, if necessary.
  2. Consider if there is a kernel of truth in the criticism. If there is, acknowledge it and work to improve in that area. Your willingness to acknowledge when you’re wrong inspires colleagues, clients and management to feel confident in you.
  3. Realize that sometimes people’s criticisms are all about the “story” they have made up around a situation. Try not to take it personally or as your responsibility.
  4. When someone uses the words “always” and “never,” ignore those words and focus instead on the rest of the message.
  5. Listen for the (usually) hidden need expressed in a person’s complaint or anger, acknowledge the need, and then see whether there is something you can do to meet it. For instance, when a customer is complaining about your “defective” product, what he may need is to feel stable and secure, in this instance, to be able to rely upon your product. Address that need in a clear and compassionate manner and you regain not only his confidence, but his loyalty as well.

5.5 Call us for your leadership communication assessment for Stress Less Communication at work, NOW!

Changing how we communicate as individuals—learning that we can protect ourselves and have greater influence without using defensiveness—can not only dramatically shift our professional and personal relationships, but can also improve the bottom line.

Stress Less Communication at Work

Thom Torode is a professionally certified business and executive coach, he has also earned his MBA and has been the owner of over 5 business.  He is currently the managing director for Sunrise Capital Group, LLC and Inspirance, LLC.  We specialize in helping organization have stress-less communication. Additionally, Thom and his partner Jeff are co-principals for Actuate Performance a licensee for Elevate Your Leaders.  They are currently interviewing high performance managers for their next 12 month program. 

Call them at 862-219-6890 for an interview.

Author’s content used under license, © 2011 Claire Communications