Did you ever think you would use algebra in change leadership work? One of my favorite ways to incorporate math into organization development is through the use of the DVF>R framework. This model originated with Dick Beckhard, I believe, and was further refined by Dannemiller Tyson Associates. I like it because it is simple and intuitive to use and explain:
D x V x F > R
D= Dissatisfaction or drivers for change
V = Vision or Preferred Future
F = First Steps – what the organization does initially to move towards a different reality
R = Resistance
D. Dissatisfaction or Driver. Change practitioners often talk about “building the business case” for change. This is important, but insufficient. Building the case also means tapping into the emotions and passions of the people within an organization who will create and implement the change. There needs to be an overwhelming dissatisfaction, overwhelming desire for an alternate future, or some type of significant driver to make the change. Enough people have to feel the pain caused by doing business “the same old way” and they have to be motivated to do things differently to overcome the inertia of legacy processes and practices.
Another take on this concept is John Kotter’s work on change. In his book, The Heart of Change, he focuses on how to get not only logical but emotional reactions from people to ignite change efforts. One of the stories I will never forget from that book is about a purchasing agent who was trying to get senior leadership’s attention about the waste and inefficiency of their system. The hard numbers showed the waste, but alone it wasn’t enough to incite action. So the purchasing agent ordered one of every product from the same product family, labeled each with the cost and the distributor, and piled the products in a conference room. Then he invited the senior managers into the room to actually SEE the waste before their eyes. It created an emotional reaction in the leadership team, and doing nothing all the sudden was no longer an option. I love this story and use it often with clients to help them think of creative ways to wake up their organizations.
Vision. However, being dis-satisfied with the status quo is not enough to propel people to change. Naturally, the question is “change to what?” One of my favorite leadership quotes is from Soichiro Honda, founder of Honda Motor Company.
Action without Philosophy is a lethal weapon; Philosophy without action is worthless. – Soichiro Honda
In Honda Philosophy, the company’s writings, teaching, and values on how it operates, this phrase is very well-known. People understand his use of the word “philosophy” as referring to what the organization values and where it is headed. In other words, what is the preferred future or alternative to the status quo? Preferred futures need to be exciting, engaging, inspirational, and something enough people want to help make happen. It takes time and collective effort to create a strong vision, but the work is well worth the effort and serves to unite organizational members in moving in the same direction.
First Steps. Just as Mr. Honda says, philosophy without action is worthless. The organization must commit to taking steps to realize the new preferred future and vision. Whole scale change practitioners specialize in getting the right mix of people within the organization to come together and co-create their future.
If these characteristics are in place, in the right quantities and combinations, DVF will help an organization overcome the inherent Resistance and inertia of the status quo.
Think about any project, initiative, or new program you have led or are managing in your organizations. The DVF>R model will help you consider all the elements that are vital for achieving a successful outcome.