Change is Up to Us

Many of us may be facing hard, relatively large, and potentially life-changing career decisions. Will we decide to stay in our current position or company even though we are not totally happy or fulfilled? Will we take that promotion which may bring greater span of control, power, and money though it may not be what we really want to do? Given the condition of the job market, will we decide to stay put despite being somewhat disenchanted?

Of course, there are no pat answers to these questions; and as a leadership coach and consultant, I encourage much self-reflection when weighing the alternatives to reveal our “true north.” I also encourage working with mentors, coaches and an active support system as we consider all our alternatives and possible directions. However, as it pertains to change, I want to offer one simple dose of reality:

D x V x F > R

This is one of the simplest, yet most powerful change models I have ever used. (This is Beckhard’s Change Equation, attributed to change/leadership guru Richard Beckhard). It is simply this:

Change will only happen when our (D) Dissatisfaction with the status quo coupled with our (V) Vision of what is possible (and this must be more than just the absence of pain in the current situation) coupled with our (F) First Steps in the direction of that Vision is GREATER THAN (R) our Resistance to Change, and the inertia to stay where we are. In other words, when things get bad enough and we have identified at least an overall direction of where we want to go and take that first step, we are on your way to change. If any of these are missing, not clear, or compelling, then we will stay where we are – stuck!

We have to make the decision to change. This may be simply altering the nature of our current situation through attitude, approach, and simply changing the frame of how we view our current role. Or this may be making the hard call that where we are is not where we want to be and we make the decision to change jobs, companies, and even industries.

Bottom line: change is up to us any way you slice it.