- Leandro Herrero - https://leandroherrero.com -

Individual change does not precede social change.

By all means, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ (by the way, Gandhi never said that), but bring lots of your friends, and ask those friends to bring their friends. Individual change is not a precondition for social change. In fact, most of the time it is the other way around. There is social change, and then individuals change. But accepting this puts you on a collision course with decades of folk psychology. Very sorry if you don’t like this.
PS: believing in ‘individual change first’ provides a marvellous alibi for not starting the revolution today.

Individual change does not precede social change. It suits standard psychological views to think in sequence: mental state first, behaviour as a consequence. Courage first, action after. Readiness first, then you act. We have a machine-like approach of the mind, input this, output after. It’s hard to beat the conventional wisdom and, frankly, it may be a lost battle. However, the reality is that those ‘preconditions’ are fictional. They are a post-hoc explanation of actions. Regardless of the intellectual war about this (for which I declare myself on strike) the fact is that the constant invocation of the pre-condition has prevented millions of people to act today (waiting for the miraculous pre-condition) and change the bit of the world they were supposed to change.


To use a ‘fixing mode’ to change or to shape an organizational culture, is a bad idea.

To use a ‘fixing mode’ to change or to shape an organizational culture, is a bad idea. Fixing problems may be attractive to some but will always be limited in scope. Address culture as ‘building’. Building something new, or better, or future proof. That may include fixing and addressing deficiencies but will attract better minds and hearts. Fixing deficiencies has never built a solid culture.
Six Sigma never built one. I suspect Agile is the same.

To use a ‘fixing mode’ to change or to shape an organizational culture, is a bad idea. Not many people get up in the morning thinking ‘I am going to the office to fix the system’, or ‘to perform continuous improvement’, or ‘to rationalise processes for the innovation of the future’. Always be charitable with those who do, though. Building something new, better, stronger, future proofed, more advanced… That is much more attractive. Not done any ‘study’ here. If you are in culture change mode, abandon any fixing mental frame.

Extracts taken from my new book The Flipping Point. [1] A flipping point in the trend for adopting absurd management ideas needs to be reached. The Flipping Point [1] contains 200 short vignettes exploring what ’deprogramming management’ may look like.  Read a recent review [2].


Don’t miss our first, free webinar, The Myths of Change [3], this Thursday. Register Now! [4]

Traditional management and a great deal of academic thinking is responsible for the colossal failure of ‘change programmes’.

The first in our series of webinars will debunk uncontested assumptions in this area and uncover the alternatives, whilst considering why this debunking of myths is even more relevant today in the current exceptional environment.

To change to ‘the new normal’ we must think and act differently in the management of our organizations, particularly in the areas of change and transformation. We must abandon change as something imposed in favour of people becoming true agents. Organizations that have mastered this have been in ‘the new normal’ for a while!



Out Now! – The Flipping Point [1] – Deprogramming Management