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The Change Formula

How do you get yourself and others to change?

This is such a vexing issue in the workplace and in every other area of life.  Research has proven that resistance to change is unbelievably high. In one study despite the diagnosis of heart disease and the exceptionally high risk of heart attack, 95% of the patients made none of the recommended changes in their lifestyle.


In the past week, I have encountered two very productive employees in different companies who will soon be fired because of behavior they would not change.


D (distress) x V (vision) + FS (first steps) > R (Resistance)


The Change Formula recognizes that resistance to change is high and only when the motivation for change is higher will change occur.  So, what can motivate change?

Two things that motivate change:

D (distress).  When pain gets bad enough, we will change.  We all know this to be true.  People stay in bad marriages until they become intolerable.  People work for bosses they can’t stand until a crisis occurs.   It is unfortunate that this is the more popular lever for change.  We too easily put up with bad habits, bad behavior, bad attitudes and all manner of dysfunction until we reach a threshold.


V (vision).  The much better lever to create change is vision.  If vision is big enough to be compelling, we will change. I am impressed by Olympic athletes who have dreamed of winning a gold medal since they were children.  When you hear them speak, many tell of having a poster on their ceiling of a previous gold medal winner hanging on their ceiling above their bed.  Every night they dreamed of being that person.  It was that vision that gave them the discipline to work out each day, to sacrifice their social life and to give themselves with such devotion to their sport.


People need vision.  The bigger the better.  But, even vision is not enough.


FS (first step).  Without action, vision remains only a dream. We must take one step in the direction of change to overcome resistance.


Consider something you want to change; some attitude or behavior that, when changed, will make you even more effective.

  • What distress is this situation creating for you?  Is it big enough to move you to change?
  • What is your vision of life beyond this situation?  Can you make your vision compelling and inspiring?
  • What first step will you take?


I invite you to share your change with me.


About Jack Skeen

Jack Skeen
Jack Skeen, founder of Skeen Leadership, has been coaching bright and successful leaders for close to two decades, spending thousands of hours addressing every imaginable leadership, business and life issue with wisdom and professionalism.

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