Connect and mobilize change agents to scale your transformation
Change is hard. Even for an individual building new behaviors and reframing your thinking can be a major challenge. So what happens when you try to apply change at scale across a large enterprise. Fuhgetaboutit.
But we can’t just forget about it — if we want to remain competitive we must change or die.
How do we get from here to there? When everything in an organization is designed to keep things standard and steady. When change feels so disruptive and requires a degree of effort that is more than most people are willing to contribute. How do we light the fire of change in our organization? I believe it has to start with people and be driven by culture.
“The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts.” — Malcolm Gladwell, “ The Tipping Point”
So where do we begin? We begin by identify these people in our organization — the ones with passionate belief, influence, and perseverance. We nurture, support and enable these change agents in a way that allows them to take action, connect to each other, and adapt to the context needed to inspire others.
Another concept that Gladwell discusses in his book is the rule of 150. The Rule of 150 was coined by British Anthropologist, Robin Dunbar, and is defined as the “suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships.” If we think about having one person who is working to inspire a shift in the mind-sets of those around them, influencing more than 150 can be daunting for a large organization. Now, imagine 10 people working to inspire change, with a potential influence radius of 1500, and we begin to see the power of scale. And if you can manage to connect those individuals around a common shared purpose, like a network, a chain-reaction start to happen across your organization.
But is it enough to enact that change only once? As we’ve seen from companies like Uber, AirBnB and Netflix disruption is a key competitive advantage in today’s market. Change or die, and then do it again, becomes the mantra. The only choice is to build an organization that thrives on change and scales a mind-set that embraces transformation as it’s lifeblood. As you are nurturing your network of change agents, perhaps the first shift to consider is the one that empowers your change-agents to scale their own openness to change.