The Change Equation

Everyday is a school day and last week I was reminded of such a day when I realised that what I had learnt has grown legs and started running.

Let me take you back to the beginning of 2016 when Nigel and I were challenged with supporting a sales transformation project for a multi national financial services firm. We worked with the customer’s management team to decide what needed to be done, how it could be delivered and supported and agreed upon a robust plan.

As the change was rolled out across the UK we recognised that it needed a little something extra. All the ingredients were added but there must have been a little spice missing from the list.

Then, during a workshop in London, as the clouds threatened snow, Nigel wrote on a flip chart……

D x V x F > R

We thanked him for his impression of Carol Vorderman and wondered why he was still standing at the flip chart with a smile on his face.

It turns out that Nigel had been reflecting on the missing ingredient and recalled this great Change Equation by Beckhard and Harris. He went on to enlighten us, in a Vorderman style that for any long lasting change to happen. The equation says:

Dissatisfaction x Vision x First Steps > Resistance

In other words an individual’s dissatisfaction of their current state and their vision of a future state and their knowledge of the first steps to take MUST outweigh any personal resistance they may have to retain the status quo.

It appeared that this spice was the one that was to give Nigel a Michelin Star!

The equation was grabbed by the learners and immediately applied, not only to the workshop and therefore the sales transformation, but to areas of their personal lives too.

What became quickly apparent from the group was how easily this equation can be understood and transferred to other areas in order to assist in any transformation, as well as being used individually.

Now we are in 2017 and the sales transformation is moving on to the next stage and we were reflecting on what impact the change equation made. Nigel then shared this model with me:

His thinking has clearly moved on and as you can see, the equation really has grown legs and started running, but the great thing is that the simplicity of the equation matched with Nigel’s practical use of it has made it something that literally does what it sets out to achieve.

A Change Equation that created change.

Although the equation can stand alone, like all equations, once you figure out the variables it becomes a very, very tangible thing.

Andy.