“Mr. Lovejoy, what are New Year resolutions?” Jackie, my nine year old daughter’s best friend, recently asked me that question. While surprised by her question, I realized that many people no longer commit to New Year resolutions, perhaps reflecting their past failures in enacting long term change. Want evidence? Go to your local workout center in January and wait in line to use the equipment, but by March the crowds are gone.
Why is getting change to stick so difficult? Have you wanted to enact changes in your inner self, but found that over time you reverted back to your old habits? Have you had difficulty getting team members to consistently adhere to changes? Or, have you wondered why some prospects don’t buy your product, though it’s exactly what’s needed.
What can we do to make change sticker for ourselves, our teams and our prospective clients? By understanding the components of change, we gain insights into what it takes to make lasting changes.
(D x V) + F > R
This “Change Formula” helps explain what’s necessary for change to stick – Dissatisfaction (D) times Vision (V) plus the first steps required to make the change (F) must exceed Resistance (R). If either dissatisfaction and / or vision are low then the chance of overcoming Resistance is low and long-term change won’t occur.
In our example of the diminished workout crowds in March, their absence can be explained by the fact that either their dissatisfaction with their current aerobic/strength condition isn’t driving their continued participation; and / or they didn’t have a strong vision of themselves achieving their desired strength/aerobic goals. So, how do we use this formula to make our workout resolution succeed over the long term?
Let’s look at how this applies to running your business.
Having a better understanding of the forces that impact long-term change will help you succeed in enacting the desired changes.
Increasing your dissatisfaction (D) or correlating the proposed changes to a clear vision (V) for your life and your business will increase the likelihood of change over the long term. Another option is to reduce resistance (R) to the contemplated change. How do you lower resistance? Step one: build a plan to manage the roll-out of the change. This plan should consider possible points of resistance and identify steps/strategies to alleviate that resistance. Step 2: establish accountability – someone who won’t let you deviate from that plan or backslide on your commitment to the change. As a business coach, I help clients develop 10, 5, 3 and 1 year goals and 90-day plans, and on a weekly basis I hold them accountable for completing the planned tasks assigned for the respective time period.