Five components necessary for successful change

When just one of these components is missing - confusion, anxiety, resistance, frustration or repetition occur – instead of change.

Have you ever wanted something to change? And you just can’t quite figure out why it doesn’t? Perhaps you’re feeling frustrated or maybe resistant to the ideas being presented? 

For most people, a view of the Complex Change Process helps them to better understand why change is not occurring, as well as identifying the feelings attached to the lack of change. It is an amazing model to help one discover what component has been neglected and needs to be addressed.

By examining the emotions we are experiencing about change, it may be easier to determine what should be done to move closer to a transformation. At Michigan State University Extension, we use this tool as a visual to help groups focus on the necessary components of strategic planning and the consequences when one of the components is missing.

The premise is that these five items - vision, skills, incentives, resources and an action plan – must be in place for successful change to occur. 


Take a moment to view the diagrams below. You will probably recognize some of these feelings as they relate to you or your organization. When you are feeling confused, it is probably because you do not have a well-defined direction in which to proceed. Is confusion something you or your organization is experiencing? If so, then it may be time to develop a clear vision statement, before the anticipated change can occur.

 See if you can identify with the emotion attributed to each of the following: 


Without a vision or direction, then there is confusion.


Without the skills necessary to create or implement change, then there is anxiety.


Without incentives or reasons to continue, then there is resistance.


Without resources – the capital or assistance to continue, then there is frustration.


Without an action plan it seems like one is repeating the same thing over and over again without results.

The Change Process model contends that if all things remained the same and the ‘x’ box was solved – change will occur. So, if you or your organization is experiencing any of the emotions noted above, identify it and determine if that change component can be adequately addressed. 

Look not at the change itself, but at the feelings attributed to the change. As Dr. Wayne Dyer says - Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.

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