Cutting the cord and Gleicher’s Formula

We all do it from time to time.  We waffle back and forth on a decision and when we finally decide to follow through and do it, the only question we end up asking ourselves is, “Why did I wait so long to do that?”   Why is it so hard to change?


This past month I finally “cut the cord” in our home.   It was something I had been contemplating on and off for several years.  Everyone in our house was ready to go, but every time I thought I was ready to pull the trigger I would get cold feet for one reason or another and put the handcuffs from my cable provider back on, after all it was the “bundle deal”.   But now that the cord has officially been cut and the only question I am asking myself is why I waited so long!


This same process plays out in business every day.  It’s the employee that isn’t a good fit, but you don’t terminate them.  The new software that will streamline processes, but you don’t make the upgrade.   The needed expansions for additional space, but you keep working in your cramped environment.  The bank that really is a good fit for your business, but the thought of changing banks exhausts you.  Or any other number of things you put off because the resistance to do it is greater than the forces required to make you change.


Gleicher’s Formula was first developed David Gleicher in the 1960’s.  It was born out of the desire to quantify the forces necessary for change to happen.  The most common version of the formula you see today is….


D x F > R


It’s a simple formula and the meaning of each letter is easy to understand once you know what they stand for.

D = Dissatisfaction with how things are now

V = Vision of what’s possible

F = First steps that can be taken towards achieving the vision

R = Resistance to the change

Put simply, if you’re going to make a change, you need to be dissatisfied, have a clear idea of what you want to change to, and know the specific first steps that you’d have to take to make the change.  If any of those are missing or weak, then it’s unlikely that you’ll make the change.


Change management has been a hot topic in business the last several years.  You hear it tossed around when businesses are trying to be more agile and fluid in a rapidly changing business climate.  If you’re trying to seize a new market opportunity or quickly address bottle necks, the likelihood of your success is going to be in a direct correlation to how well you can manage the change that it is going to require.  Gliecher’s formula is a tool that helps predict the likely success of implementing that proposed change.


But, human nature is to resist change.   Change is still the unknown, the unproven, and the unfamiliar.  You have to push the combined value of Dissatisfaction, Vision, & First Steps to a level that exceeds the Resistance before change will take place.   Case in point… that combination kept me from cutting the cord for a number of years!


As I have been sharing this new found freedom, people are asking why I finally “cut the cord” and looking back it’s easy to reference Gleicher’s formula and explain the Dissatisfaction, Vision, and First Steps that overpowered the Resistance.  But specifically why it took so long is I think I was trying to coach myself through the change.  I had received a ton of great advice on how to do it, which I am very thankful for, but additionally I should have forced a good coaching conversation with someone to help me arrive at the solution on my own.  That is a little embarrassing to admit, considering at Aspire we have those conversations daily with our clients.


None the less, it is finally done.  If you’re curious about the feeling you experience the day you drop off the 20 lb box of outdated electronics you were renting on the perpetuity plan… it feels awesome!  Plus we kept our home phone which now has 21st century features, we have more TV viewing options (including local channels) than ever before, and as an added bonus we reduced our bill by over 60%, even with the streaming subscription we chose.


What about you?  Are there things in your business that you are putting off that you should be doing?  Is the resistance to change holding you back?  Are you trying to coach yourself through the change or have a coaching conversation with someone?    If you have cut the cord, how has your experience been?  I know I’m late to the cord cutting party, but it’s good to be here!


As always, we value your comments in the space below.


Chris Steinlage Kansas City Business Coach