Jim Collins, an author and lecturer on company sustainability and growth, wrote about his research with CEOs of various Fortune 500 companies on why some companies are successful and others aren’t in his book, Good to Great. He noted that good is the enemy to great. When things are “good enough”, we don’t strive to be great.. we are content… we miss clues or changes that are seen by our competitors who see us from a different perspective. People in organizations must be sufficiently motivated to change when in their comfort zone.
After years of research, Dr. Gleicher’s formula suggests that there are three factors that need to be managed when combating resistance to change within an organization. The resistance could be from an individual, a small organization or a large team, but the formula still applies.
He created the formula for resistance to change:
Ds x Vs x Fs > C
Dissatisfaction x Vision x First Steps > The Resistance to Change
(Gleicher, 1962 & Dannemiller, 1992)
Level of Dissatisfaction (Ds)
Create an environment of increased dissatisfaction or discomfort to create the desire or need to change.
- Be clear about the impact of embracing the status quo
- Ensure that the team understands competitive threats
- Identify missed opportunities from the lack of transformational change
Clear vision (Vs)
A clear vision of the future state must be established and articulated.
- Create a clear image or vision of what it could look like for the individual or group when change happens… help the team to visualize the future state
- Describe the benefits of the change (which can be different for different people)
A PATH from the current state to the future state must be understood by all.
- Create the opportunity for quick wins
- Identify the core competencies required for change
- Obtain the buy-in from the key influencers and innovators within the organization (convince them first; they will help convince the rest)
If any of the factors are allowed to be minimized or go to zero, change is highly unlikely to occur. However, heightening any one of these three factors, or better yet all three, an organization can overcome the resistance to change… Positioning them to go from good to great!!
Don’t be afraid to take risks!