Condition 1: Dissatisfaction with the status quo

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Introduction | 1. Dissatisfaction with the status quo | 2. Knowledge and skills exist | 3. Availability of resources |
4. Availability of time | 5. Rewards and/or incentives exist | 6. Participation | 7. Commitment | 8. Leadership

The first facilitative condition described as a “belief on the part of the end user that things could be better or that others seem to be moving ahead while we are standing still” (Ely, 1999), is the cornerstone of a change journey. It can be summarized with a simple phrase – “there has to be a better way” (Ellsworth, 2000).

Change is uncomfortable (Ellsworth, 2000). Recent advances in brain analysis technology have allowed a closer look at how change affects people. An onset of change stimulates prefrontal cortex, overwhelming it with complex and unfamiliar concepts, which manifests in anxiety, fear, depression, sadness, fatigue or anger (Goman, 2011). People generally avoid change. A perception of the status quo being more uncomfortable than the change process must be conveyed to embrace change. In addition, to be successful, change ultimately requires each individual impacted by the change to feel a degree of dissatisfaction with the status quo (Prosci, 2015).

(Prosci, 2015)

Before attempting to a change, it is important to assess the level of dissatisfaction with the status quo and determine who is affected, how much, and what level of resistance to change is likely to arise.

Practical steps for eliciting dissatisfaction with the status quo:

  • Engage change agents to advocate for change
  • Communicate awareness of the need for change (Prosci, 2015) with these statements
    • What is the nature of change?
    • Why is the change happening? Why now?
    • What is the risk of not changing?
  • Provide product demonstrations with newer or better products, disseminate “best practices” or research findings, leverage personal testimonials (Ely, 1999)


Ellsworth, J. B. (2000). Surviving Change: A Survey of Educational Change Models. Retrieved from

Ely, D. P. (1999). Conditions that facilitate the implementation of educational technology innovations. Journal of Research on Computing in Education.

Goman, C. (2011). Why We Resist Change, and What Leaders Can Do About It. Retrieved September 7, 2017 from

Prosci (2015). Demystifying Change Management. Retrieved on September 7, 2017 from


3 thoughts on “Condition 1: Dissatisfaction with the status quo

  1. I’m glad you included the final bullet point about product demonstrations, best practices, and research findings. When the status quo isn’t working, it’s easy to take up residence in “vent ville,” but dissatisfaction with the status quo is just as much about being solution-minded as it is about acknowledging what’s not working. In the same way that it’s necessary to help “slow adopters” see how the status quo is negatively impacting them, it’s also important to assist these same individuals with seeing how the innovation could have a direct positive impact.

    1. Absolutely, showing slow adopters how much better an innovation is will have a more positive impact than just telling them that the way they are currently doing something is bad. For this reason, I find that addressing the risk of not changing might also be more challenging, as it can lead to negative feelings.

      1. Peer “pressure” is a great influence tool! Regarding the point about communicating risks of not changing, indeed, it shouldn’t be used as a scare tactic. It probably is more suitable in situations when change is mandated, e.g. safety improvements, legal compliance, etc.

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