Gleicher's Formula provides a model to assess the relative strengths affecting the likely success of organizational change programs.
D x V x F > R
This formula for change suggests that a successful organizational change is possible only when the product of D, V and F, is greater than the resistance to change. Since the formula involves the multiplication of the three variables, if any variable is completely missing or is too low, the end result will also be low. This implies that falling short on any one of these variables will make it difficult to get past the resistance. The change plans can fall back if any of these factors are ignored during the change process.
To implement the change successfully, management needs to strategically work towards increasing the three variables. And for that, understanding these variables and making them to work for you are the two important caveats to get the most out of this change formula.
Three factors are required for a meaningful organizational change to take place.
D – Dissatisfaction With the Current Situation
If people are completely satisfied with the current situation, they will have no reason or motivation to change. So, management needs to explain why the current situation is unacceptable or what is undesirable about the way things are being done currently.
Take a real life example. Why would you change your refrigerator if you have no problems with it? When you’re comfortable in your current situation, you have no inclination to leave your comfort zone and embrace change. Change is welcomed only when there is a high degree of dissatisfaction.
To create that willingness for change, you need to explain why things cannot go on the way they currently are. When you’re trying to publicize dissatisfaction, you need to throw light on three different perspectives:
- Problems for the organization as a whole
- Problems for the consumers or clients
- Problems for the employees.
V – Vision of the Possibilities
If you’re not aware of the possibilities ahead, why would you take on a new path? We all need a concrete and tangible vision of the possibilities and the results, in order to accept and implement change.
Management has to make efforts to get everyone to buy into this vision of the future. The picture of what lies ahead has to be clear, because any ambiguity in what can be achieved will make everyone to go off-course.
When we talk about the vision of the future, every person involved will be keen to know what’s in store for him or her. Thus, when painting this picture of the future, you must explain how the organization will benefit from the change and what will be the employee’s new place or role after the change.
The clearer the vision, the more enthusiastic people will be to put in their efforts to realize it. Everyone wants a piece of that vision, so give it to them. Let them know how the change will benefit them, and they will all be your allies in achieving that change.
F – First Steps Towards Change
Being dissatisfied with the current and possessing only a beautifully painted picture of the future is not enough to motivate people to change. That’s where the third variable of Gliecher’s formula for change steps in.
Is there a planned path or a surefire way to achieve the vision? Unless everyone one knows how the vision will be achieved and what the process entails, they will not be open to change.
Your employees want to know if there is some clear-cut strategy to achieve the vision, so fill them up with details on what will be done and how it will be done. Management needs to educate the employees to the fact that they have a proper action plan in place, the vision is not a far-fetched dream, and whatever is being talked about is actually achievable.
Now that you know what areas to work on, if you want the change process to be successful, you can easily beat down the resistance to change.
If the product of these three factors is greater than R = Resistance, then change is possible. If any factor is absent or low, then the product will be low and therefore not capable of overcoming the resistance.
To ensure a successful change it is necessary to use influence and strategic thinking in order to create vision and identify those crucial, early steps towards it.
The Formula for Change was developed by Richard Beckhard and David Gleicher and is referred to as Gleicher's Formula.