If you have been following our blog series on change, you are familiar with the DRIVE change framework. D-Dissonance; R- Reach; I- Immediate Steps; V- Validation; and E- Environment. DRIVE, as we have stated (take a look at previous blogs, if you would like to know more), is not a change model, but a framework that serves as a checklist for ensuring change is successful.
Validation (the “V” in DRIVE) is an element of the change framework that is often left out or misunderstood. To understand the “V,” it’s important that we grasp the origins of the word. “Validation” takes its meaning from the Latin root valere, which means to strengthen, add worth, or prove.
In the case of change, Validation takes on two forms:
- Determining whether the end goal (the “Reach” or “R” in the DRIVE framework) has worth, and
- Measuring our progress toward that goal.
First of all, it’s important that we continually assess whether or not what we are doing has worth. For example, if I choose to run that marathon I’ve been obsessing about for the past 5 years, this is the point where I assess whether meeting the 26.2 mile goal is worth the effort I will need to undertake in order to prepare for it.
I may see the Dissonance (D), which says I feel I should get in shape before I have a heart attack. I have a clear Reach (R) ahead of me—it’s a stretch for me, but I have a clearly defined end goal I am reaching for. I know the Immediate Steps (I)—I will run 5 miles today, 7 on Tuesday, etc. However, when I hit the Validation (V) component, I realize that, quite frankly, the effort it takes to get out of bed at 5:00 am each morning squelches my desire to hit the marathon target. In this case, the end result was not worth the effort it would take to get there.
A neighborhood friend recently learned the importance of the measurement component of Validation when he lined up at the starting line of his first marathon. Unfortunately, his training regimen had not included a disciplined approach to preparation. Unlike most marathon training programs, he failed to run the recommended shorter legs in preparation. Where most would focus on the Immediate Steps, which involves running a series of well-planned shorter distances, he scrapped that concept in favor of randomly running unmeasured distances. What he thought was 13 miles actually turned out to be 10 miles, and this mistake was perpetuated up until the time of the marathon. At no time in training did he run more than 16 miles and, consequently, he failed to complete his first marathon.
Applying these principles to organizations, time and time again we see organizations that have clearly identified the “why” behind the change (Dissonance). They had clearly outlined the end goal (Reach). Short-term goals (Immediate Steps) were clearly outlined. Yet the change effort flops at the 16-mile mark of the marathon. Why? Because the organization failed to: 1) Show the proposed change had value (employees see it is worth it), and 2) Measure progress at each milestone to determine whether or not they were on the right path.
Previous Posts on DRIVE:
DRIVE: Why Your Change Effort is Likely to Fail, and What You Can do About It
When Faced with Dissonance, Are You a Changer or an Ego-Protector?
Think Small When Tackling a Large Change Effort
Why Environment Is Key to Organizational and Individual Change