C = (D x V x F) > R

Recently, I was introduced to The Change Formula:  C = (D x V x F) > R. This business principle affirms that  Change equals Dissatisfaction x Vision x First Steps that is greater than the Resistance. Without being able to envision a new reality, being dissatisfied with status quo and armed with a knowledge of how to get started, change will never happen. But these three must all be present and their combined force must be greater than the resistance that is present.

When I first heard this I thought, “Oh, well, that is interesting.” But a couple of weeks later I found myself referring to the formula. What I began to notice is that failed attempts to produce real change lack at least one of the three being present in sufficient quantities. Most change agents appear to assume that presenting a new vision is enough to produce change. Often, when they find that to be inadequate, they will attack the status quo in an attempt to produce dissatisfaction. But it is possible that people will become dissatisfied with the pressure being placed on them to produce change and the net result is the resistance is actually increased.

But the piece of the equation that has really grabbed my attention is the call for “First Steps.” When I first encountered the vision of Church Planting Movements, I lacked clear First Steps to model, coach and mentor others to take who caught the vision and felt the dissatisfaction. Without being able to suggest first steps, I could not catalyze change.


  1. I think you’re right. We tell people why flying is good, the need to fly, and then assume they’ll be able to flap their arms and take off! It’s seen in “Witness is good!” “Witness!” and _____________.

    My problem seems to be arriving at First Steps that are too difficult. Perhaps doable for a few but not for most. E.g.

    “Bible Study Good” “You must study the Bible” “Here’s how to read Greek”… (at least that’s the implication when preachers say “The Greek says….”.

    I suppose the maxim I need to learn and re-learn is that while I’m stimulated by theological finepoints and Big Ideas, on average I won’t go wrong by simplifying things as far as possible while still achieving an acceptable behavioral outcome…


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