Print This Post Print This Post

Get yourself a copy of the Edelman Trust Barometer. The Edelman company produces an excellent annual report on trust (organizations, industries, geographies…) and year after year, with some minor variations, the lowest source of internal organizational trust (for the purposes of ‘believing’ what’s going on with your company) is the CEO. Let’s be kind. It means the top hierarchy, not that absolutely charming and well-mannered CEO who is on TV from time to time. And of course , not your CEO. The highest source of trust however (with a glitch in favour of ‘academics’ last year) is ‘people like me’, that’s it, people like you and me, one of us, our horizontal tribe, the ones we talk to everyday and talk football or cricket or baseball, take the children to similar schools, more or less same age, ‘my mates’; you may be one rank above me or two, or below, but that does not really matter around the water cooler, or at the cafeteria, or in the car park. My peers.

Here is the trick. If my Super Vice-President comes to me and tells me that we have to go South, I will say OK, and perhaps I may even ask why, but, I’ll go South. He thinks South is good. The CEO thinks South is good. The Strategic Plan says that South is good.  I am not sure about the South. Actually, I think South is a lousy option. Why South for goodness sake!?

If you, my peer, mate, water cooler friend, car park talker, school run sharer, co-smoker, tribal member, colleague in the same division, free mutual psychotherapist and somebody ‘I know well’ comes to me and in the middle of a football game, or school run, or holiday, or dreadful journey says to me ‘By the way, we really must go South’, then my brain may be suddenly aroused by the unexpected and I may even have one or two questions such as ‘Are you on something?’ but the chances of me considering that, at the very least, South is now a very reasonable, maybe even extraordinary destination, are very very high indeed, a few hundred points above the same message coming from my Super Vice-President.  I expected him to support South but I did not expect you to let me know your belief in South with the same sincerity as shared in our twenty other conversations. Call it trust (Edelman does) or legitimization or for me, comfort, South is very credible.

If on top of this you say to me ‘we really must go South’ and that you are actually going South yourself, the chances of my doing the same are even higher. And most of this process may even be unconscious.

Nothing in our traditional view of the organization, let alone the supreme representation of the corporations’ plumbing system, the organization chart, says anything about the peer-to-peer (horizontal) mechanisms. In fact, they are ignored. The emphasis is vertical. You to your direct reports, your direct reports to their direct reports and so on.  Ditto in public sector, societal campaigns: doctors to patients, social workers to dysfunctional families, priests to immigrants, and community leaders to gang members. Viral Change™ activists work through informal networks of recovered patient to patient, ex-dysfunctional family to dysfunctional, settled to immigrant and ex-gang member to violent groups in the streets.

The power of peer-to-peer networks is formally called to arms in Viral Change™ programmes. One of the  sub-chapters of the book Homo Imitans reads ‘youth to youth, granny to granny’ to make the point of this transversal power.

(Good CEOs and top leaders react: fantastic! Now we know who has the power. )

Keep up with the Daily Thoughts

Twitter Email

Would you like to comment?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To search my website, please use the form below.

  Daily Thoughts

June 6th, 2023

Culture change is not long and difficult. But we make it so…

I suppose the question is how long is long and how difficult is difficult? In general, business and organizational consulting have […]

May 19th, 2023

Value is an overused term in business and, as such, it’s becoming meaningless

Value, as usually used, means transactional monetary value. Usually it doesn’t mean intrinsic value, or value per se. For example, […]

May 4th, 2023

The importance of ‘critical thinking.’ Your own critical thinking is more effective at making your workplace better than any generic employee survey.

Build your own Employee Engagement argument for free. You can’t go wrong. Here are three baskets full of concepts: Basket […]

April 21st, 2023

´Busy-Ness’ Is A Trap

I went to a big conference where I was introduced by the chairman like this: “Welcome everybody. Lovely to have […]

April 14th, 2023

Training and culture change. The love affair that ends in tears.

It seems to be very hard for people to get away from the idea that if we just put individuals […]

April 11th, 2023

Teamocracies and Networkracies have different citizens: in-Habitants in team-work, riders in net-work

The old view of the organization is something close to the old concept of a medieval city, where citizenship was […]

April 5th, 2023

3 Ways To Get Approval From Your CEO Or Your Leadership Team

Way number 1: My team has developed these three options, A, B and C. Which one do you want us […]

March 29th, 2023

A Cheat Sheet To Create A Social Movement Tip = to shape organizational culture since both are the same.

Mobilizing people. This is another of the Holy Grails (how many have I said we have?) in management. Whether you […]

March 16th, 2023

Critical Thinking Self-Test: A 10 Point Health Check For Your Organization And Yourself. If any of these are a good picture of your organization, you need to put ‘critical thinking’ in the water supply.

Test yourself, and your organization. Do any of these apply? Doing lots, too fast without thinking. High adrenaline, not sure […]

March 9th, 2023

A culture of safety or a culture of training in safety?

Cultures are created by behaviours becoming the norm. Safety is at the core of many industries. Significant budgets are allocated […]

March 2nd, 2023

Empowerment is an output. If you can visualize it, you can craft it.

The real question is, what do you want to see happening so that you can say ‘people are empowered’? Employee […]

February 24th, 2023

A simple question will jumpstart your organization into change. It will also save you from months of pain spent reorganizing your people and teams.

The following line will short-cut months of (building) ‘alignment’, integration, reorganization, team building, coalition building, and any situation in which Peter, […]

February 20th, 2023

Lead Via Peer-To-Peer Networks – If you don’t lead via peer-to-peer networks, you’re only driving your car in first gear.

Peer-to-peer work, transversal, spontaneous or not, collaboration, peer-to-peer influence, peer-to-peer activities of Viral Change™ champions or activists, all of this is the […]

February 7th, 2023

Write a script, not a strategic plan

If you care about the journey and the place, you need a story. If you have a good, compelling one, […]

January 26th, 2023

3 self-sabotaging mechanisms in organizations

Organizations, like organisms, have embedded mechanisms of survival, of growth and also of self-sabotage. These are 3 self-sabotage systems to […]

January 10th, 2023

Who should be involved in culture change? All inclusive versus going where the energy is.

Many times, in my consulting work, I find myself facing a dilemma: Do I involve many people on the client’s […]

December 23rd, 2022

Tell what won’t change – Introducing 1 of my 40 rules of change

In any change programme that any organization wants to start, they will start by thinking of the things that they […]

December 16th, 2022

Scale It – Introducing 1 of my 40 rules of change

When creating effective change in any organization, there are 40 rules that, in my experience, are the key between success […]

December 5th, 2022

Assets & Strengths Base – Introducing 1 of my 40 rules of change

For more than 30 years I have been involved in ‘change’ in organizations. Again and again, some fundamental principles, and often […]

November 25th, 2022

Campaign It… is 1 of my 40 rules of change

When you filter out the noise, when you try to extract the core, the fundamentals, those ‘universal rules’ of change […]

October 31st, 2022

Hybrid or not hybrid? That’s not the question…

Culture is the new workplace If you want to have a conversation about the future of work, the nature of […]

October 24th, 2022

‘Powered by Viral Change™’: A Social Transformation Platform for the organization of the 21st Century

When we started to work on Viral Change™, as a way to create large scale behavioural and cultural change, and […]

October 14th, 2022

Corporate tribes, intellectual ghettos and open window policies

We talk a lot about silos in organizations usually in the context of Business Units or divisions. But these are not […]

October 7th, 2022

Peer Networks are the strongest force of action inside the organization

Peer-to-peer works, transversal, spontaneous or not, collaboration, peer-to-peer influence, peer-to-peer activities of Viral Change™ champions or activists, all of this is […]

September 30th, 2022

Change that doesn’t deliver change-ability is a waste

The traditional model of change is the one I call ‘destination’ type, that is, how to go from A to […]

September 23rd, 2022

Company structures: aggregate and disaggregate

New organizations, and old ones in the business of transforming themselves, would be better off learning by heart these two […]

September 15th, 2022

3 Self-Sabotaging Mechanisms in Organizations

Organizations, like organisms, have embedded mechanisms of survival, of growth and also of self-sabotage. These are 3 self-sabotage systems to […]

September 2nd, 2022

The best organizational model is to have more than one under the same roof

Command and control management has fewer friends, and it’s quite terminally ill as well. The heirs are fighting for a piece […]

August 26th, 2022

Unprecedented Times? Sure. Let’s Move On Please.

Somewhere in the post-Covid peak, I promised myself that I wasn’t going to pay attention anymore to anything that starts with […]

August 19th, 2022

Engagement, Empowerment and Ownership Culture Meet at One Single Point. Obvious, Simple and Incredibly Forgotten

Employee engagement efforts, ownership values and empowerment behaviours must meet at one point. It’s simple, not terribly controversial, based upon […]