Change, Don’t Let it Happen to You, Be Change

Change, Don’t Let it Happen to You, Be Change

Be Change

“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished” — Benjamin Franklin

Change is all around us and it is never going away. All of our lives we have experienced change and as long as we continue to draw a breath, we will experience change.

This past year we have all experienced and continue to experience change. Change in the ways we conduct business, changes in our organization structure, perhaps changes in our position, reporting relationships, personal relationships and circumstances. Certainly we are surrounded by change and a lot of it.

There are really only two ways to react to change. We either embrace it or we reject it. If we embrace the change, then we find ourselves looking forward, developing new relationships, trying to understand how our new environment works, establishing our individual perspective on how we fit into the new world and ultimately, how to thrive in this new set of circumstances.

Alternatively, if we choose to reject the change, we create a never ending anxiety about how we choose not to fit in the new world and watch our new reality spin ever further away from the way it used to be. Not embracing our new reality does not stop the world from changing around us. It just creates a greater distance from where we are to where we need to be.

Consider if we were able to reverse the change, even then things would never be the same. We have new experiences and new ways of thinking that would not allow the past to ever resurface as a new today.

By doing so we are no longer the victim of the change but a living part of the change, looking forward and reestablishing our prior level of comfort. Our choice is to either not let change happen to us or to be part of the change.

Personally, I choose to be part of the change. How about you?  What are your thoughts on this?


Skip Gilbert

A Simple Formula for Change

The Change Formula

Change Formula

Did you know there is a simple formula for change that we can use to plan and manage our change efforts? The formula is very straight forward, easy to understand and has been tested over many years of use. It can be useful in both our professional and personal lives and used everyday.

We are surrounded by change. Even if we try to stand still and resist the change, it keeps moving forward. Everything about our work and personal lives is in a continual state of change. The way we communicate is changing, every year there are technology changes, the weather changes, there are new breakthroughs in medicine and treatments, the way we work is changing, everything continues to change. “Resistance is futile”, to quote a popular science fiction series.

Sometimes we want to create or manage change as we envision a better way of doing something or in response to changes in our circumstances. There are other times when we are involved in a change of some type that needs a boost or adjustment in direction or energy. These are times we can apply the Change Formula to help to move the change along.

The Change Formula has been through several evolutions since its inception in the 1960s by David Gleicher. It was initially popularized by Richard Beckhard in his widely read book Organizational Transitions and re-popularized in the 1990s by Kathleen Dannemiller who simplified it [1].

(for those of you not mathematically inclined, just humor me on this, I will explain it in the following material)

The formula is this:

C = (ABD) > X
A = Level of dissatisfaction with the status quo (dissatisfied with present state)
B = Desirability of the proposed change or end state (eager to achieve the end state)
C = Change
D = Practicality of the change (minimal risk and disruption)
X = ’Cost’ of changing (perceived cost)

In other terms, it means that the power of the motivation for change is the combination of:
A) not being happy with the way things are,
B) the strength of the vision of the future and,
D) having practical first steps.

These things combined need to be more powerful than the resistance to the change.

So let’s look at these in more details so that we can understand how to apply it in our everyday lives.

Level of Dissatisfaction (A)
The first element is not being happy with the current situation also known as dissatisfaction with the status quo. This represents a measure of the current state of things. Are people unhappy with the way things are? Is there a general sense of dissatisfaction with the current situation?

Vision (B)
Is there a strong vision of the future state? Is there a clear picture of how good things will be when we get to the new place? If not, then this can be a real limiting factor for progress. A strong vision helps people focus on where we are going and the benefits of getting there. Also, if there is not a sufficient level of dissatisfaction with the current state, this can help elevate that component by comparing and contrasting the present with the future.

Practical First Steps (D)
Has anyone identified a few next steps to get us on our way? Without a practical plan we just have high frustration because we are unhappy with the present, see a great future but cannot get started on our journey there.

All of these elements need to be present and represent a lever to help move the change forward. If any of these are missing, the change will not take place. If any of these are weak, they represent an opportunity to add more energy to the process.

Let’s look at a practical example: