The equation that drives change is simple:
Dissatisfaction times Vision times First Steps must be greater than the Resistance to the impact of all three combined or else change efforts falter.
There are plenty of dissatisfied people in your workplace, your work group, or even just your organization.
There are people who insist that providing negative feedback is the only way to encourage organizational growth and they provide it liberally.
There are people who have been dissatisfied for years in your organization; who have made brief, or even faltering, attempts at change, but have been stymied and have now surrendered.
There are people inside your organization who claim they are dissatisfied, but who are mimicking the sounds of dissatisfaction as a political power move to angle for a better position at the organizational table.
There are people with vision in your workplace, your work group, and your organization. But this vision is hazy, or they are easily distracted by the next “hot” leadership initiatives, or their vision can be compromised with just a little more money or promotion.
There are people who take first steps and attend training, workshops, and seminars.
They read books and articles, combing the internet for advice and guidance about how to overcome the organizational ennui that holds back change.
There are people who take the same first steps, but their enthusiasm doesn’t go anywhere.
They stop at memorizing the “how-to” listicle and when trying to apply the emotional jujitsu against the resistance in their organizations, they experience limited success.
But these elements, dissatisfaction, vision, and first steps, must be greater than the sum of the organizational resistance to them. Or else, the changes that you are seeking inside of your organization, your work group, or even the team that is inside your sphere of influence, won’t happen.
The resistance to change is pernicious, persistent, and it never gives up. The resistance to change is sneaky and sly and sometimes comes in the form of well-meaning people and situations that appear as though they are helping your cause of change when in reality they are hurting it.
No great change happens without conflict. And no great conflict can happen without the resistance being overcome.
And if you think that it can, then you are bound to wind up stuck in the same place of dissatisfaction where you initially began your change journey.