The recent launch of the “Mobilize!” Masterclass has led to much discussion about Social Movements here at Daily Thoughts HQ. Here is one of our favourite recent posts talking about readiness to take collective action. Read on to find out why readiness to change is, in fact, a red herring…
For every community struggling to achieve something, and deciding to launch some form of collective action; for every minority that tries to survive or thrive by starting a campaign or a movement; for every organizational group that decides that enough is enough (of inertia and bureaucracy) and decides to ‘change the place’ without waiting for a formal ‘change-the-place-change-management-programme’, there are dozens, or hundreds, or thousands of people saying ‘are you having a laugh?’, ‘are you kidding?’, ’you can’t be serious’. Followed by one or more of these:
It’s not the right time, too early
It’s not the right time, too late
We don’t have the authority
We don’t have the resources
It won’t work
We are too small
We are too big
It’s not up to us
We need to wait until others join in
We are not ready
Combinations, permutations, edited alternative versions.
It’s not just a collective answer. We all have our inner voices inside our minds telling us: don’t bother, why expose yourself?, not the right time, it’s crazy, your reputation may suffer, are you sure?, come on, get real.
I want to picture Martin Luther King on August 27, 1963, saying to others ‘I have a dream, and I am going to tell everybody tomorrow’. And his people around saying ‘what? so you have a dream, eh? You serious Dr King? Are we into dreams now? The last thing we need is dreaming’.
Of course this did not happen. Amongst other things because the ‘I have a dream narrative’ was not in the script in the speech prepared the night before. He threw the prepared text out of the window at the last minute and spoke from his heart.
Any impossible becomes possible just a day after you start moving. Inner voices of ‘don’t take risks, don’t expose yourself, it won’t work’, start fading by the time you start walking. Don’t move and your risk averse inner voices become a choral symphony of un-readiness.
Of course I am not advocating for (managerial, personal, professional, political) suicide. Any social movement ( and any organizational cultural change is a social movement, or it isn’t) needs to plan for success, or it would fail the very people whom the movement tries to help. In my world, that plan is a Mobilizing Platform that ensures success, sustainability and legacy. That is what Viral Change™ does.
But planning is not Waiting for Readiness. It is 2018. It is not ‘get ready, then act’, it’s ‘act, you’ll see how ready you were’.