21st April 2016

The Formula for Change

There is a formula for change. I have known it for years and I have to be honest I thought it was something that someone had made up until I put it into a search engine and there it was, the formula for change! I am in the business of change, either helping people and organisations to change or helping people and organisations to adapt to change. I don’t know which is the more difficult but whichever way you look at it change is hard and yet our ability to change and adapt to change is and always has been one of the most important qualities.

Darwin is reputed to have said “It is not the strongest of the species, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”Knowing how and why Adult Behavioural Change (ABC) happens or doesn’t happen would then be a useful piece of knowledge to have. There will always be people who believe that they want to change and yet consistently fail to change in the way that they would like to.Often when I am running a seminar I will ask the audience to cross their arms. Once they have, I will ask them to notice which arm is on top and then swap the arms over. A seemingly simple task and yet every audience will struggle with the task to varying degrees. I once had someone try for 10 minutes to swap their arms over without success.

Those that do manage it are amazed at how awkward it feels. Why? Well most of what we do, including how we think, are in fact habits. Folding our arms is simply a habit. I will wager that every morning when you put your jeans on you will put the same leg in first. It is a habit and breaking habits is hard. Change is hard. The person above who really struggled was 63 years old. He had had a lot of time to get locked into that particular habit.So we come back to the formula for change; sometimes also known as Gleicher’s Formula. Which is DxVxF>R.  Where R equals the resistance to change.D equals the dissatisfaction with the status quo.V equals the vision of a positive, preferred future, and F equals the first steps

According to simple mathematics if either D or V or F is equal to 0 then the whole left hand side of the formula will equal 0 and we will be unable to overcome any resistance to change. If, however, DxVxR is sufficient it can overcome significant resistance to change.

Personally I have found this, a very useful formula to bear in mind when trying to execute personal change.How big is your resistance to change? How dissatisfied are you with where you are right now? How enthused are you about your future vision? And do you know the first steps to get where you want to be? Who is there to guide you? Who is there to help you get where you want to be? If the resistance to change is too big, what can you do to increase either D or V or F?

Many initiatives to change stall and remain forever an initiative which never gets executed. Where are you stuck and will the formula for change help you to get unstuck?