Part 2 of 2 from yesterday’s ‘The (re)volution will be postponed. Once more’ 
Margaret Mead (anthropologist, 1901-1978) ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has’.
Margaret Meed forgot a word: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, organised committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has’.
Margaret Meed 21st C version, corporate world: ‘Never doubt that a small group of, maybe very small, maybe just two or three, maybe one, thoughtful, bite-the-bullet, committed leaders can change the organization; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has’. (Viral Change™ certified statement)
In my experience of 18 years of Viral Change™, all successful programmes were sponsored/led/induced/advocated/pushed forward by one or two senior leaders, sometimes in isolation, sometimes convincing their CEO/COO, who had the guts, the sense of duty and the will to stop waiting for the right ‘readiness’.
A few good men and women.
These people do exist in most organizations, and, when we find them, I salute them. They are my best clients. My team would do anything for them.
In 18 years, I’ve seen many saying to their top bosses ‘let me do this’. In 18 years, I’ve seen many bosses replying ‘ you don’t need my permission’. I’ve seen perplexed people. I’ve seen courageous ones. I’ve seen perennially hesitant heads of functions jumping in once one of those above shouted: I am going for this, I am leading it, I have enough of waiting, are you coming with me, or are you commissioning another benchmarking project?
PS1: I’ve learnt something beautiful from our current Values in Action programme with the Irish Health Care Service (HSE). A Viral Change™ champion in the Midwest of the country summarised the entire philosophy, the full ‘why’ and ‘how’, and the leadership model, in one spontaneous, out of the blue, light-bulb moment: ‘It’s by us, and for us’. Punto. She did not mention permission, hierarchy, alignment, or stakeholder cosiness.
A few good men with vision + power to provide the resources + social movement structure (Margaret, you forgot the word ‘organised’, too bad you did not know about Viral Change™) + ‘By-Us-For-Us-People’ = we will shape that world. Small w, big W, don’t know. But big time. Up to you.
PS2: In the same part of the country, The Chief Officer of a vast Community Health Organization, summarised it to his peers, top level public health servants: ‘I could not stop it if I wanted’.