Formula For Making A Change That Sticks

What’s Holding You Back From Making a Change?

At a workshop, I attended recently I was reminded how crucial vision is not only to your bottom line but to getting there smoothly.  Documenting and communicating your vision to your team is critical in helping you stay on course and in helping you and make corrections when needed.

Is the time to make the correction worth the time, effort and cost? The issue is that most people at any level of the organization have a natural resistance to Change.  Staying within the established comfort zone is easier.  If you find there is dissatisfaction with processes or results then it is time to consider a Change.

At the visioning workshop, led by Lois of True North, I was reminded of a tool that I use with my clients; the Formula for Change, originally developed by David Gleicher, as a way to calculate if making a Change is worth doing.

 “The formula describes the conditions, that when met, will move an individual, group, or whole system in a direction of their choosing.”


A Formula for Lasting Change

Interesting to note that Kathleen Dannemiller reworked the original formula in 1992 making it easier to understand and use.


The Current Change Formula is:

C=(D X V X F) > R


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 3 factors is greater than


R = Resistence


Change = (Dissatisfaction x Vision x First Step) > Resistance to Change


In order for someone to change their Dissatisfaction with their current situation multiplied times their vision of what is possible multiplied times, specific first steps towards that vision must be greater than the effort necessary to outweigh any Resistance.  Only then can one implement effective Change.

You can measure your level of Dissatisfaction by getting feedback from customers as well as your team.  This is one of those situations when listening to your gut instinct should be telling you about your level of dissatisfaction.  Look inside your organization for any issues that may have developed that are adding to the frustration.

Dissatisfaction with your current situation alone is not enough to consider a Change in operations. You may be that often dreaded arena of “comfortable”.  This is where Vision enters the equation.  You need a solid and attainable endpoint that everyone agrees on, so use your common goal to guide your Change.


Using the Change Formula In Your Business

As the leader, you should identify your team members individual strengths to help formulate your First Step.  Your First Step could be discovering what your true vision is.  Remember, simply feeling a level of dissatisfaction will never be enough to force through any resistance that could be in your way.  The Vision process for discovering what is possible can be both thrilling and scary.  This is one of the reasons resistance can win out; peoples comfort zones kick in.

When working with your team to create change remember people tend to resist Change, so you want it to be as painless as possible.  Communication and buy-in coupled together will keep them committed and positive, which is necessary for them to execute the First, and subsequent, Steps of your Change.

Taking the time to understand the Formula for Change when you or your team are experiencing Dissatisfaction, will prevent knee-jerk reactions that could cost time and money.  Use your Vision as the rudder that steers you to success.  Smooth sailing!


Cady, S.H., Jacobs, J., Koller, R., & Spalding, J. (2014). The change formula: Myth, legend, or lore. OD Practitioner, 46(3), 32–3

Thom Torode

Thom Torode

Thom Torode is a NJ based Professional Executive & Business Coach Fix This Next Advisor & EOS Implementer. Additionally, Thom is a Certified John Maxwell Coach, Trainer & Speaker and Certified DISC Consultant. Having owned and operated over 5 different businesses he is currently the Managing Director for Sunrise Business Advisors. Thom’s expertise includes working with those business owners who have plateaued getting them unstuck and back in growth mode. Additionally, Thom works with both franchisees and franchisors in helping them develop their leadership. Thom is also Director Consultant with BNI. When not helping business owners and their teams create the business and lives they want and need, he can be found following his kids activities.

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