The formula for transformation - and its elements

 When it comes to discussing transformation, usually a bunch of questions and doubts arise rather quickly:

  • "Is transformation really possible?" ("I don't think so", "There are no case studies", "There are only so few case studies", "The case studies don't seem to apply to our organization")
  • "Isn´t transformation actually too difficult for most organizations? Shouldn´t they just continue optimizing?" ("Especially for small-size companies", "Especially for large corporations", "Especially for Germany-based organizations", "Especially for Brazilian-based organizations", "Especially for production companies", "Especially for me/my organization"
  • "I don't believe that our organization requires a change towards the BetaCodex"
  • "I don´t believe our people are prepared for this", "I don´t think our management is prepared for this", "This is great - but I don´t think my colleagues would get it!"
  • "This might be too expensive for us", "This might take us too long and isn´t this quite an effort? We have work to do, you know?"

And so it goes on and on.

So what are the forces that have an organization and its members leave these comfort zones, and confront change? Or, in other words:


Is there a formula?

First of all, let us say here that we don´t believe in "change formulas". There is no such thing as a simple formula for a complex thing like transformational, or systemic change.There cannot be a formula to this!

But on the other hand, "formulas" or "thought concepts" can help us to understand the main challenges to transformation, and to grasp the main success factors, or hurdles that matter.

One of the earliest members of the BetaCodex movement (then: the Beyond Budgeting movement) was Steve Morlidge, then project manager at Unilever Group (he is now an independent management consultant). Steve Morlidge suggested a "formula for transformational change" that would sum up several elemental forces that drive, or stop change. His formula looks like this:

D x V x S > R

or: The product of "D", mutliplied by "V", multiplied by "S" must be bigger than "R".
This does, of course, look rather simple at first sight, but the underlying concepts are quite tricky. Because:

  • "D" stands for dissatisfaction
  • "V" stands for Vision
  • "S" stands for Strategy and first Steps
  • and "R" stands for Resistance

Putting the pieces together: In Steve Morlidge´s view, the BetaCodex thus can only made real, if neither Dissactisfaction, nor Vision, nor transformation Strategy is zero, and if the product of these three "change forces" is bigger than the force of resistance.

The point being: Many organizations today lack one, or more of the three elements of this formula for significant, or transformational change. The result is complacency and incapability to change. This should come as no surprise: In an Alpha organization, Dissatisfaction with the status quo, vision, and the ability to understand complex change are consciously or unconsciously cannibalized by the organizational model and are thus not easily being accessed. A methodology for transformation will therefore have to unleash these powers, in order to get the process going.


Is transformation possible?

The good news: This methodology capable to unleash the "D", the "V" and the "S" of change does in fact exist!

Steve Mordlidge´s formula helps us to understand the essence of questions, such as: "Is transformation possible?" Because, when you relate that question to the formula, it becomes evident that it points to a missing Vision, or Strategy for change - to a lack of "V" and "S". The question "Is transformation for the most organizations too difficult?" indicates a missing change Strategy and/or a lack of Dissatisfaction, within the organization. The statement "I don't believe that our organization requires moving towards the BetaCodex" indicates a lack of personal Dissatisfaction and/or Vision.

Not such a bad formula, after all, right?



In many tayloristic-orientated organizations the dissatisfaction with the status quo is note explicitly made clear. Instead more and more tayloristic management practices are implemented and celebrated (which actually are not worth celebrating at all). These include e.g. too optimistic views of the inner and outer presentation, bureaucracy, hierarchy, lacking transparency.

John Kotter describes in his landmark book "a sense or urgency" best practices to create the required sense of urgency within the organizations. Other examples can be found within the BBTN Case Studies on pioneering organizations and transforming organizations or within the works of John Kotter or Peter Senge.

Most of all the techniques e.g. described by John Kotter all aim to bring a picture of the reality of the outside world into the organization.

Dissatisfaction states "why" organization should change their management model.


Most organization do not only lack dissatisfaction but also a clear vision or imagination of their future organization. Mission statements, guidelines etc. are more like placebos.
The Beyond-Budgeting-Model offers here an unique alternative because it allows a clear and articulated vision of a better organization in contrast with the current tayloristic management model.
The Beyond-Budgeting-Model and the 12 Beyond-Budgeting-Principles describe already the new vision for the organization as also the BBTN's case studies on pioneering and transforming organizations.

Also the forthcoming BBTN diagnostic will allow your organization the describe the vision of the alternative mindset of Beyond Budgeting.

Further specific BBTN Associates will be pleased to share their contacts to organizations that already live the alternative mindset of Beyond Budgeting.

With the BBTN's 3D models organizations are also able to show the "old" and the "new" model. BBTN resources can further be used.

Vision is linket to the "what" of the organizational transformation.

Strategy & Steps

Strategy and first steps are required so that members of the organization can imagine how to begin the transformation. The strategy for change gives hold. Which are the steps to be done? Which is the correct order? What is essential? Who will do what?

Strategy is related to the "how" of the transformation initiative.


So this change "formula" may help you to understand major challenges within a transformation process. But how does transformation, then, actually work? Fortunately, the BetaCodex movement came across a couple of tried and tested change methods that paved the way towards a transformation framework that is, in itself, coherent with the new Codex.