You are on page 1of 2


The formula, D x V x F > R illustrates that if an organization wants to bring about system-wide change, they will need to work with a critical mass of the organization to uncover and combine their Dissatisfaction (D) with things as they are. The next step will be to uncover and combine the yearnings for the organization they truly want to be, their combined Vision of the future (V). If real change is going to happen, the third design element needs to be first steps (F), a combined picture of things people can do differently that all of them believe are the right ones to achieve their vision.

Dissatisfactions D= V= F= R=






Resistance to Change

First Steps >

Dissatisfaction with the current situation Vision describes our combined yearnings, must be ennobling, empowering and worthy, and more than the absence of pain of the present situation First steps in the direction of the vision Resistance to change

MISSING ELEMENTS - CHARACTERISTICS • If you have only Dissatisfactions, and lack Vision and First Steps, the result is usually complaining and moaning. Positive change will not happen. If you have Vision and Dissatisfactions, and lack First Steps, the result is usually a lot of thinking or talking ending in apathy and being "stuck in a rut." Positive change will not happen. If you have First Steps and Dissatisfactions, and lack a clear Vision, the results often include frenzied activity such as voluminous reports, frequent and/or urgent meetings (lacking clear a purpose), even training sessions. This has been termed "Flavor of the Month," a result of choosing whatever is the latest breaking idea, or trend. Eventually there will be a lot of frustration since using the latest trend or the classiest looking strategy is not enough to overcome resistance to change without the other elements. Positive change will not happen.

If you lack definition or clarity of Dissatisfactions or Resistance to Change, the results may resemble "Flavor of the Month" listed above, perhaps at a slower pace. Eventually there will be an emergence of apathy and perhaps frustration. Positive change will not happen.

Change will occur and sustain itself when there is a common database of D, V, and F in an individual and/or the microcosm of the system. The formula is multiplicative, therefore if any element is missing or poorly defined (D, V, F, or R), Resistance to Change will be greater and change will fail to occur. It is appropriate for members of an organization to resist when they can’t see the larger picture. Resistance is a resource to be understood and can help clarify D, V, and F. Resistance to change has also been described as inertia or stasis.
Sources: Dick Beckhard and Reuben Harris popularized the formula (originally written as C+ABD>X by David Gleicher) in their book, Organizational Transitions. The terms were renamed by Kathleen Dannemiller, making them more accessible and understandable to the general public as featured in “WholeScale change: Unleashing the Magic in Organizations” by Dannemiller Tyson Associates: Berrett-Koehler 2000. The DVF graphic is by Christine Valenza.