If change is so obviously important and necessary, then why is change so hard? In thinking about this, I’m reminded of a joke I’ve heard many times: Question: How many country western singers does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: Four – One to change it and three to sing about how much they miss the old one. We get comfortable with what we know. We naturally resist change because our basic need for security is met when we feel certainty about what we’re doing.
So how do we overcome that natural resistance to change? Somehow we have to become Dissatisfied enough with the current situation that we’re moved to action. That Dissatisfaction could be a negative feeling about current problems: decreasing sales, decreasing profits, losing quality people, etc. Even better would be if the Dissatisfaction was a positive feeling about what could be in the future: the idea that we have a lot of potential, we have something to offer, we can create a great culture, etc. Either way, Dissatisfaction is the first factor in the change formula, which looks like this:
C = D x V x P, where C = Change, D = Dissatisfaction, V = Vision and P = Plan.
Simply stated, your chance of achieving real change is directly related to the amount of Dissatisfaction with the current circumstances, the clarity of your Vision for the future and the extent to which it is shared, and the Plan that you have developed to bring about the change.
So whether you take the positive or negative viewpoint, somehow you have to raise that Dissatisfaction. How can you do that? I’d suggest that perhaps the most effective way is to work on another part of that formula – the Vision.
Do you have a Vision for the future of your business? What does it look like? Who are your customers? What products and/or services do you provide to them? What kind of culture exists within your business? When setting out your Vision, be as specific as you can. See if you can draw it. If you can’t, then it’s probably not going to be as effective as it could be. If people can’t picture it, how will you convince them to share in that Vision (and thereby increase their Dissatisfaction)?
So what is your Vision for the future? Can you draw it? Is it specific? If you were to relate that Vision to your employees, is it something they could get behind? Would it raise their Dissatisfaction?