Anytime a business needs to implement change it does so under the premise that the change will bring better results. Change is disruptive, so once we realize that change is necessary we need to be sure that change execution is effective. Otherwise, we diminish or eliminate the benefits expected.
In order to ensure that your planned change is effective you need to follow a simple proven formula. The original change management formula is known as Gliecher’s Formula, developed by David Gleicher in the 1960’s. Gliecher’s formula was refined by Kathie Dannemiller in the 1980’s. While both formulas are accurate, it’s the Kathie Dannemiller version that is utilized the most often. So, that is where we will focus. Dannemiller’s formula for change is as follows:
Change = D x V x Fs > R
In the formula, D = Dissatisfaction for how things are now, V = the Vision of what is possible, Fs = concrete First Steps to be taken towards the Vision, and R = the level of Resistance to change.
Therefore, in order for change to occur those affected must be dissatisfied with the current situation or results. If they’re not, there’s minimal motivation to put forth the effort to change.
Additionally, they must clearly understand how things will be better once change is implemented. They need to see and desire the vision of what will be achieved. If they understand the level of dissatisfaction and can clearly see the opportunity for improvement, then they need to know the first steps required to effect the change.
When the level of these three components is greater than the level of Resistance, change will occur. This is where management can affect the degree to which change actually happens. Management’s ability to affect these three components is dependent upon the company culture and effective communication. If the culture of the organization harbors distrust of management it won’t matter what they say, no one will believe them, and the effectiveness of change will be negatively impacted.
If the culture supports and values input from management then effective change can be achieved through intentional communication on the level of Dissatisfaction (the way things are now and why that needs to change), the Vision of what needs to be achieved and why, and concrete First Steps needed to get the change process moving. The better the communication and understanding, the more effective the change.
As with any process, once implemented course corrections are likely necessary to ensure success in the effort. In change management there are clear indicators to identify the need for course correction. Whenever any of the three formula components are insufficient, or non-existent, the impact will be observable, and subsequently manageable.
1. If the change is off to a slow start it’s likely due to the fact that those involved don’t understand or appreciate the level of dissatisfaction. In this case, go back and engage the team in further discussion to foster a more complete understanding of the need for change.
2. If as the change process gets underway it becomes evident that there is a lack of cooperation, collaboration, or coordination amongst the team(s) then it is likely that they are unclear on the vision or goals of the change effort. Management should revisit this with the team to ensure clarity on the benefits of a successful change.
3. If the First Steps are not well defined or understood the team will likely show signs of frustration or a lack of progress on definable actions. To be successful with the First Steps component of the formula the team must be capable of making the changes and clear on what first steps need to be taken. If either, or both, of these are absent frustration and/or a lack of progress will be evident. Management must make sure that the First Steps are clear and that the team has the ability to make the change.
Now you know the formula for effective change management and how to spot when it needs further guidance. Apply this to any plans involving change in your organization. You’ll experience improved results in business growth and profitability.