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The Formula for Change

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I was at the Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario (AFHTO) Conference last week listening to Deputy Minister Bob Bell talk about system integration and building a care community.

What became clear is this:  We know what to do, and we know why we want to do it, but we are stuck at how.

As Globe And Mail columnist Andre Picard observed, in his closing plenary at the conference, “Our structure has not kept up with our science, people are in fact providing excellent care despite the system but it is the system that requires fixing.”  To address the question of ‘how’ to create the change that we know is needed, he presented a mathematical formula for change ( Gleicher, Beckhard, Harris):

D x V x FS > R

Change = Dissatisfaction x Vision x First steps, which is greater than the force of Resistance.

In our work with leaders who are attempting to transform the system, we have learned a lot about the resistance to change. This is where neuroscience is particularly helpful. For example, research by Rock (2009) that suggests that uncertainty itself will create a threat response.

How can you as a leader help others overcome this wired-in resistance to change?

As the formula suggests, vision is a key element in the equation.  Research has shown that a shared vision can activate neural networks that arouse endocrine systems and allow a person to consider the possibilities of a better future (Jack, Boyatzis, Leckie, Passarelli & Khawaja, 2013). Further research by Boyatzis (2015) suggests that emotionally inspiring visions move people to a sense of purpose that leads to action. These positive emotional attractors, as he calls them, help overcome the resistance to change and inspire people to take first steps in line with the vision. It’s not good enough to merely have a pat vision statement. Without the connection to your personal sense of purpose as a leader, without your ‘Why’, a vision will lack the fuel needed to overcome the resistance to change.

At Instincts At Work, our vision is to help transform leaders to transform health care. We do this by helping you connect to your vision, and inspiring your team to take first steps to overcome resistance to change. We are experts in the ‘HOW’ of change and our role is to provide you with the tools grounded in brain science; to manage dissatisfaction, create an inspiring vision, and enable others to take first steps to overcome the resistance to doing what we know is the right thing to do.

We would like to invite you to our Community of Practice of leaders, where we will be sharing tools, insights, and discussing research to support you in developing evidence informed change strategies.

Sign up below to join our Community of Practice with free webinars, leaderly insights, and a community of other leaders to share thoughts, insights and tips to make you more effective.

AUTHOR

Penny Paucha

All stories by: Penny Paucha