This has been a year of great change. Change that has been forced upon us by necessity, rather than motivation. Most people “can’t wait for things to return to normal”. And after the year we’ve had, I get that. But in a year of turmoil, where things are already upside down and back to front, it’s also a really good time to implement change, so that next year’s normal is a better version of last year’s normal.
The Beckhard-Harris Formula for Change, which I often use in my business and executive coaching sessions, also highlights why now is a good time to effect change in your business and your personal life…
D x V x F > R
According to the formula: D x V x F > R change is only achievable when (D) dissatisfaction with the present, combined with a powerful (V) vision for the future and realistic (F) first steps is greater than the (R) resistance to change.
D is for Dissatisfaction
In order to effect change, the status quo and present situation needs to be uncomfortable, unacceptable, unproductive and unappealing. If you apply this formula to 2020, it is fair to say that our “dissatisfaction” levels are probably at an all-time high. I am speaking to very few people who are thriving in the current circumstances. The present situation gives us a compelling reason to motivate change. Those that are accepting of untenable circumstances, play victim or live in denial are unlikely to ever change. That’s why it is so important to constantly look at yourself, your business and your team to uncover areas that you are not satisfied with.
Perhaps it’s team members who are not pulling their weight, perhaps your business is struggling to break even every month. It might be that you are working yourself to the bone with nothing to show for it. A good way to increase your levels of dissatisfaction with the present is to ask yourself, “If we don’t do something about the situation, what will happen?” If you never achieve more than break even, you may as well close your doors. If you keep working long hours, you’ll reach burnout and family relationships will suffer. When you realise the path you are currently on is a collision course, you are more likely to make a significant detour and change.
V is for Vision
Your vision is a powerful motivator in effecting change. It articulates what you want, where you want to be, how you want to feel. There’s no doubt that we are all dreaming about the future right now. A time when we can shake hands and not wear masks, when disposable income increases, when the economy picks up, when we can create jobs and have fun again. Change is more likely when we have big dreams and a clear picture of our goals and our destination. The vision needs to be positive, specific, clear, achievable and realistic and it needs to excite and inspire you. Is it expanding your business into other countries? Is it about empowering women or creating jobs? Is it a personal vision to retire early and travel?
The bigger and clearer your vision, the more capacity you have for change. As the leader or business owner, painting an inspired vision that everyone can subscribe to is the most important role you have to play.
F is for First Steps
No matter how dissatisfied you are with the present, and no matter how big your dreams are, you will never change if you don’t or can’t take those first steps and take action. Start small and build up to bigger changes. Sometimes change never takes place because you don’t know what the first step is. Alternatively, it might be that you know what the first step is, but you don’t know how to do it. Or you might fear that first step, because it takes you out of your comfort zone. Our coaching programmes often focus on getting our clients to take that first step. One step leads to another, success breeds success, and that’s how you gain traction and momentum.
Importantly, the formula is a multiplication equation for good reason. If any of the above factors score a fat zero (you are not dissatisfied, you have no vision at all, and the first steps are not apparent or achievable) then the capacity for change is also a big fat zero. All these factors, need to be greater than the resistance to change.
R is for Resistance
No one really likes change. It makes us uncomfortable, and that is a state we try to avoid. There are therefore many factors working against us when change is needed. Resistance to change could be a personality trait or a negative belief system. It could be a physical, financial or emotional obstacle. What force do you need to overcome in order for change to be successful? Employee resistance is one of the greatest barriers to change.
However if this year has taught us anything, it is that we are capable of dealing with change. We are already doing things differently anyway, so make good use of this uncomfortable state and make positive, sustainable changes that will move you and your business forward.