Beckhard and Harris’ change equation is a change model that can effectively support actions towards powerful and successful change.
According to this model, dissatisfaction with the status quo, compelling vision and practical first steps must be greater than resistance for change to occur.
The Model uses the equation of C= DxVxF>R serves as the model equation. “C” refers to change, which is affected by several factors. “D” refers to the degree of dissatisfaction with the status quo or employees’ discontent with the situation. Employees satisfied with the current situation will not be as motivated to change.
“V” refers to the vision of change. This should be understandable, amiable, and attractive. All employees must share this honestly and in detail to encourage a positive attitude for a future state to move forward.
“F” describes the practice’s first steps or actions at the beginning phases of the change process to work towards the future state. The initial actions relate to fundamentals in the process of materializing the vision. Engaging employees in this phase can lead to more effective change.
“R” corresponds to resistance. Resistance can be the biggest limitation to creating successful change. If “D”, “V”, or “F” elements are equal to or near zero, the outcome will also be zero or near zero, meaning the probability for change to occur is notably reduced
The equation offers an analytical lens through which to view change. This is more about evaluating the relative forces affecting the adjustment’s effects than math.
According to Beckhard and Harris, effective change initiatives recognize that the transition to the desired future state necessitates special-purpose structures (e.g., task forces), processes (problem identification), and governance roles that will likely cease to exist once the objective has been attained.
Dissatisfaction With the Current State
This refers to the level of dissatisfaction an organization or individual feels with their present situation. If people do not feel dissatisfied with the status quo, then there will be no motivation to change.
This is the formula’s ‘Why,’ or motivating element. Change is something that few of us enjoy. We fear and detest change much more when it is forced upon us. In most situations, a high level of discontent is required to support significant reform attempts. People resist change unless they have a compelling cause to do so. On the other side, discontent and suffering are more frequent motivators.
Vision of Future State
This element refers to having clarity about what the future could look like. The clearer and more compelling this vision is communicated, the more likely it will inspire people to act.
The vision is the formula’s ‘What’ element — how you want to be in the future. It should reflect something you’d like to be a part of and help bring to fruition. The contrast between how things are here and how they may be with change can help to replace anxiety and unhappiness with exhilaration. People who are unsure of where they are headed will just be another resistant force that must be dealt with.
Resistance is anything that gets in the way of change, including people’s fears related to uncertainty, lack of confidence or poor communication. The goal of any change effort should be to minimize resistance by continuously focusing on D,V,F while seeking engagement and feedback from those impacted by it.
First Practical Steps
What specific actions may be made to achieve the vision? How do you go to the summit of Mount Everest? It’s as easy as taking the first step and then the next. The initial step is sometimes unclear, or we don’t know what it is. So, despite the high levels of dissatisfaction and vision, nothing will happen unless we figure out how to get started.
As a result, the “weight” of the (D x V) + FS must be higher than the “weight” of the resistance that holds us back for change to occur!
The Beckhard-Harris change model outlines the circumstances that must be met for change to take place when organizations and individuals evolve according to the model.
There is DISSATISFACTION(D) with the current state (of whatever the change is focused on), so there is a clear and common VISION(V) of the desired outcome. There is an acceptable FIRST STEPS(F) Blueprint for achieving its vision, and the product of DxVxF is greater than the existing RESISTANCE to change among those whose support is needed for proper implementation.