What Is Missing From Gleicher's Formula for Change - Blog Post


What Is Missing From Gleicher’s Formula for Change

Young plant growing in the morning light and green bokeh background  , new life growth ecology concept

As leaders, we seem to have a special relationship to the reality of change. Most of us want to make changes, and most of us need to learn how to tolerate it better.

We see the necessity of it in terms of innovation and creativity, but at the same time we abhor the moment when realize we must do things differently.

Several weeks ago on my podcast, we discussed an equation I’ve been obsessed with for sometime now. (I.e. my assistant has it memorized.)

It is a formula that explains what is required for change to occur.

Popularized by Dannemiller, the formula is originally known as Gleicher’s formula for change. It essentially says that our discomfort with the status quo, multiplied by our vision for a better future, and added to our first steps, is what is needed to overcome resistance (or what I like to call ambivalence). All of this will equal change.

Expressed as the equation we have: (D x V) + FS > Resistance = Change.

However, the more I’ve sat with this formula, the more it seems that one thing is missing. Commitment. I would raise the first steps by the power of C for Commitment.

The first steps, or first action, of any change begins the process.

Yet, how often have we promised ourselves that we will get more sleep, only to get to bed early the first two nights and on the third night find ourselves staying up late trying to get in one last email now that the kids are asleep?

We fall off the wagon of change and then tell ourselves that the reason was because of forces unseen.

What is truer though, and often overlooked, is that lasting change requires the greatest of commitments.

Even the desire to read a book about how to change requires a commitment. (My favorite book on the topic is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.)

Commitment means that we organize ourselves to move in a chosen direction.

Like a plane flying to another city, we will likely never progress in a perfectly straight line. We drift off the path and must re-commit to come back into alignment with where we desire to go. Every once in a while, we even encounter turbulence, but as long as we continue to recommit, lasting change is possible.

Maybe I should add an R to the formula for re-commitment instead of a C for commitment? But that’s too much; change is best made one step at a time.  🙂

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