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How Do You Measure Change?

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June 5, 2019

Change = (D x V x P) > C

Don’t freak out. (As you manage flashbacks of failing Algebra II).


This is not an attempt to trigger unresolved PTSD from high school calculus. According to organizational business expert, Joel Brockner, it’s the equation for effectively implementing organizational change.  

Ironically, it’s been over 2500 years since Heraclitus introduced the concept that: the only constant is change, and it still holds true today. 

This week we’re wondering, how do we effectuate meaningful change?  Yes, it’s a tall order.  But, perhaps the best place to start is by deconstructing Brockner’s equation.

D = Dissatisfaction: the act of identifying the gap between now and where we should be, or ought to be.  Put another way, what’s the burning platform that drives action?  Even if things are going well, our complacency about the status quo has a tendency to stifle progress.  A little discomfort goes a long way, particularly if it’s a critical step in mapping out areas ripe for improvement.

V = Vision: moving forward is always a good idea, but having a sense of direction is essential.  It’s hard to quantify the value of change for the sake of change. Yet, establishing a clear picture of what the optimal operation of an organization or given community looks like is the key to sharing a  future vision that attracts buy-in by the folks who matter.

P = Process: if joy is found in the journey and not the destination, then perhaps the most important component of change-making is how we get from Point A to Point B.  While there are many factors to consider, underestimating the importance of including diverse opinions and inclusive perspectives necessarily undermines the effectiveness of the transitory nature pf the change-process.

C = Cost: It’s not just about hard money.  Typically, it’s the intangible and human costs that create resistance to change.  Meaningful change often comes at a price.  Behind every strategic directive is a real person, with a compelling story to share. It’s up to us change-makers to skillfully evaluate the trade-offs and minimize the adverse impact of our decision making on individuals. 

Innovators are the ultimate change-agents; we so often find ourselves at the crossroads of convention and evolving ideas. We recognize that change is inevitable. So, next time we’re faced with ushering a new wave of change, let’s put our math skills to work.


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