The Formula for Succeeding with Change
Many years ago I was introduced to the basic change equation of Q x E = C where the Change is a product of the Quality of the decision (could be a technology, a system, policy, organisational structure) multiplied by the Engagement and ownership you can create around that specific decision or solution.
All successful change projects have both a high Q and a high E.
What is perhaps more surprising is that most unsuccessful change projects actually had a high Q! The system or decision was actually good, but the Engagement and the buy-in in the organization lacked.
Illustrating the point:
Let’s say the Quality of the decision was quite good, e.g. 85 %, but that the Engagement was ‘only’ 55 % we get the following:
We are not even half way there!
It is fair to say that a lot of energy and effort should be invested in building up a strong E!
Building on that and introducing a new formula: E = f(V x U x B x A) > C
The E: Engagement in a change setting is a product of several important elements and trade-offs.
First a function of four:
V Vision. A co-created compelling picture of what success looks like. People do not “buy in” to a picture of what success look like – they create it
U Unsatisfaction with current state. It is very difficult to change something that actually works fine and people are very satisfied with.
B Belief. Belief that we can do it. This is also a belief in that management is convinced this should be done.
A An Action plan that is realistic and believable, and importantly: concrete first actionable steps
The product of these 4 creates a drive to change. If one of these four is zero, the product is zero. Here comes a trade-off though: this product has to be bigger than the C = Cost of the change.