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

Many cultural change efforts fail out of a mathematical mistake

Originally published a few months ago, I wanted to resend this as an opportunity to re-read and reflect. I hope you enjoy!

Many cultural change efforts fail out of a mathematical mistake. They focus on ‘people in the room’ (conference, off site, training course, cascading workshops) when what matters is how people not in the room are engaged.

To get 200 leaders in the room, or 200 ‘champions’ of some sort, or 200 ambassadors representative from the organization, is great. If you get 200 of them indoctrinated, motivated, engaged, committed and educated, even greater. If you repeat with another 200, well, great and great. But if the company has 4000 employees, tell me how they are going to be impacted by 200 well educated and committed people (usually senior).  Tip, it’s not cascaded down PowerPoint deck ‘change is good for you, this is how’.

Cultural change is cultural infection, or it isn’t. Without infection, it may be cultural education, but not change. The maths of change is the maths of multiplication, not of addition. No multiplication, no culture shaping (which is to say no social movement, or collective action)

The trick is how those 200 could engage 20 each, for example, who could in turn engage 10 each. Pick a formula. It’s at least layer 3 of connectivity and influence that will create the critical mass needed.

Most cultural change approaches fail to understand multiplication and get very excited by the number of people participating in change workshops, generally a fraction of the workforce.

The Viral Change Mobilizing Platform [1] deals with scale up change (behavioural, culture). The scale up, multiplication, ever growing critical mass of people moving in the right direction, should be an obvious objective of ‘change’. Why is it that in many organizations, scale is measured by number of workshops (activities) instead of number of  people reached?

P.s. we have 10 free copies of the book “Homo Imitans” available to the first 10 people to email laura-proctor@thechalfontproject.com [2]. Good Luck!