The Formula to Manage Complex Change

The formula to change is like baking good bread.

You need the right ingredients, the right recipe and the right conditions for the bread or yourself to grow.

Likewise in life, a formula to manage complex change can help us successfully grow in our personal and even professional life.

Managing Complex Change Model

Based on “The Managing Complex Change model” by Lippitt, M. (1987).

The formula to manage complex change contains 6 different elements.

– A Vision & Inspiration to lead yourself towards change?
– An Urgency & Drive to achieve change?
– A Plan of Action to successfully execute change?
– The Skills & Competencies to fulfil change?
– The Tools & Resources to implement change?
– the Unity & Harmony to sustain change
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The more we ensure that all the required ingredients are present, the easier it becomes to change and to stay that way. However, if we miss an element we might experience frustration, sabotage, fear, chaos, resistance or confusion. That’s why we need a solid recipe for change that can help us shift towards a new dimension.

Vision & Inspiration

“It’s all invented. Everything in life is an invention. The way we see things and measure things, how we compete and judge ourselves. And if it’s all invented, then you might as well invent a way of viewing life that benefits you. You might as well invent a frame of possibility.

– Benjamin Zander & Rosamund Stone Zander
A vision can help to create change in life

In the book The Art of Possibility, the authors Benjamin and Rosamund Zander pose that a vision is supposed to be a framework that brings possibility to the situation. In other words, the vision creates the big picture and gives you a sense of where you want to go.

But instead of having a vision that can be measured (I want to be the number good in … / I want to have … / I want to achieve … ), focus on translating your vision into a possibility:

I want to have the possibility to …

– Feel my best when ..
– Inspire other people to …
– Share happiness and laughter about ..
– Experience present moments such as …
– Feel competent and effective in doing …
– Cooperate and contribute to …

A vision is a starting point to make a possibility a reality

Why is this important? Because a vision that is stated in possibility is one that releases your from the weight of measuring yourself in terms of progress. See the possibility as a means to express yourself and to create ideas and events that are in line with how you wish to lead and experience your personal life.

“In the measurement world, you set a goal and strive for it. In the universe of possibility, you set the context and let life unfold.”

Instead of treating goals as markers, the emphasis of possibility is on playing rather than winning. It is an open invitation to yourself to explore a new attitude towards life. To focus on manifesting rather than achieving.

By treating the vision as a starting point of possibility, you are exploring yourself to think about new ideas beyond your current limits. So ignore the evidence at hand or the measurements you set for yourself. Because a true vision is actually about your participation in a larger world:

“You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
And as we let our own light shine
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same”

– Nelson Mandela

Urgency & Drive

A vision of possibility should be supported by a sense of Urgency or a Drive to make that possibility a reality. Without this force behind the vision, resistance won’t be overcome, because there won’t be enough reason to move away from old habits or ways of thinking.

create change in life with drive

Put differently, the Urgency and Drive behind a vision is about the incentive of the change. Why are you trying to achieve the change? Why is it an opportunity? What new things will I feel when I create change in life? What is the change actually about? Not in measurements, but in terms of experiences?

Plan of Action

Plan of action to create change in life

Change can be a treadmill. That’s why we need a Plan of Action to create change in life. But most people view a Plan of Action as the means to reach a goal. But even though that is true, a Plan of Action is also what allows you to express your vitality and life force towards a certain initiative.

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”

In this sense, following a Plan of Action should primarily be seen as a process than a direct goal, because by keeping the channel of expression open you allow new possibilities to unfold. And even though following a Plan of Action won’t ensure that you achieve a goal, it does ensure that you invest effort in the expression of your own unique energy.

Skills & Competencies

It is a fact that learning new skills and competencies is something you can do every day in order to master a new aspect of your life. But most of us only maintain the current skillset we have. Only doing the things we are good at and avoiding the feeling of incompetence because it makes us feel insecure.

But it is actually through development of our skills and competencies that we can attract a new identity. It’s an inherent part of effectuating change, because the acquisition of new skills and competencies allows us to stray from who we are now towards a new identity with a new skillset.

skills

So what actually happens when you stretch your self-conception? You are automatically ‘changing’ into a new person. It’s something we have all experienced: something that was scary and gave you fear of anxiety in the past has now become a part of your normal life.

Maybe in the early days you were afraid to speak in public places. Or you had jitters when you first had to drive a car. This feelings of inadequacy or ‘not being good enough’ is something we can overcome. Although it’s easy to look back to things you couldn’t do at the time, can you also look forward, step over your anxiety and see how you can master a new ability and change the person who you are?

Tools & Resources

To create change in life we need Tools and Resources. Tools are useful to carry out a particular function. For example, when we want to change our lifestyle, we need to be able to have the tools that can support this initiative. We cannot change our lifestyle by ignoring our diet. We need a protocol and a tool to measure our caloric intake in order to prevent overeating. Because without those tools we would become frustrated and quit.

tools

Besides the right tools, we also need the right resources. Without enough time as a resource to make healthy foods or go to the gym, we won’t be able to actually implement the change we seek. That’s why it is important to take a look at your priorities in life. We only have a limited amount of time or energy to invest. So are you investing it in the right thins or the wrong things? There is always a limiting factor in terms of resources. So you need to be the one to critically evaluate the use of your tools and resources in relation to the change you wish to implement.

Unity & Harmony

Without Unity and Harmony between different activities in your life, you will sabotage the initiative for change. For example, you might train really hard and really long to lose weight, but if you still binge at McDonalds afterwards the desired result will not be achieved.

unity in change

This point therefore ties into all the other elements. We need to create congruence and consistency in our approach when we create change in life – because without it we would be running into different directions and going nowhere. So are you going all over the place with your results? Or are you bringing focused attention to the possibility you wish to manifest – aligning the activities in your daily life to reach for that star change?

With the right recipe…

When you create a recipe for change, critically ask yourself if all the right ingredients are present. In other words, do I have the right recipe that will help me create the life I want?

create change in life and become happier

It’s certain that when you have the right recipe, good bread and a good life will follow. Because true happiness comes from the expansion of possibilities when you create change in your life.

When you expand your possibilities, you will encounter new thoughts and feelings about yourself. You will experience a sense of gratitude and satisfaction that you can actually become more than what you were.

So start baking that bread. See your life as a composition of certain ingredients. Evaluate what the right recipe and right conditions are for the bread to grow, and for yourself to grow. Then set out to achieve this possibility, to create change in life, and to make it as good as your favourite bread.

Boris is a Dutch consultant, Lifestyle Coach and Sports fanatic. He enjoys helping others with personal development by creating a change in attitude and behaviour.

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