The techniques of mobilizing people, at scale, for a purpose, are crucial for the success of social movements of any kind. From his work on large scale change in organizations, and having pioneered Viral Change™,  Dr Leandro Herrero does not distinguish between social movements in the societal arena or inside the company. For him, cultural change within the firm, for example, can only be understood and implemented through the social movement glasses.



In this masterclass of 28 chapters, Leandro Herrero takes us into the people mobilizing world with very practical insights that will be enlightening for anybody working on change, transformation or culture, whether you are a business leader, HR/OD/Communications professional, or with a remit on people engagement, and whether you work in a private firm, public institution, social campaigning, political platform, NGOs or other. It is precisely the commonalty of human mobilization principles that is at the core of this masterclass.

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What will you learn?

  1. Introduction & Why many ‘change programmes’ fail

Management of change’ does not have a good track record. The reasons may seem counterintuitive. Today we can do a better job and build change-ability in our organizations.  


  1. A tale of two worlds

The world of communications and the world of behavioural change have very different rules. Communication per se is not change. We need to get the expectations right.


  1. Have two kitchens

The success of large scale change depends on the synchronicity between the right set of behaviours, the right kind of social influence, the right storytelling and strong backstage leadership.


  1. Framing the narrative

Choose the mental frames, before they choose you. Clarity of purpose and right language go a long way to ensure success of large scale change, a social movement.  


  1. A host of motivations

Not everybody needs to have the same motivation to join in, but individual dreams and goals need to be compatible with the real purpose and legacy of the social movement.


  1. Crystal clear on non negotiables

Whilst motivations may be very varied, we need to agree on what is non-negotiable. Without this, people go in multiple directions and movements fail .


  1. Segment, segment, segment

People engaging in a movement, inside or outside organizations, are very heterogenous. Yet, unfortunately, particularly in the business organizations, everybody gets the same universal top-down messages.


  1. Communicate, but not too much

Communications play a key role but not the only role. Historically we have wrongly banked on good communications to expect great results.


  1. Scope the social movement well

A well crafted social movement needs clarity on its borders in order to ensure a shared understanding of all involved.


  1. Red herrings and distractions

There is a full mythology of what works in large scale change or social movements. A lot of assumptions are wrong. It’s time to be critical and accept some inconvenient truths.


  1. Highly connected people wanted

Lots of different people play different roles in a movement but those with greater trust and ‘pull power’ are special. We need to find them and engage with them.


  1. Roles and characters

Understanding the different characters and persona in a movement is key. People often interchange terms. This is very risky. Here are some players.  


  1. Online and offline activism

The digital world allows us to speed up and re-shape large scale mobilization of people. The combined digital-non digital efforts are powerful when well synchronized.


  1. Not all activists are equal

Not having realistic expectations of what people can or cannot do, leads to enormous frustrations. Many people may have different skills,  roles and levels of activism. This needs to be accounted for.


  1. Grassroots need organizing

The word grassroots makes some people think  “spontaneous” and “disorganised”. But only a well designed and cared for community of leaders and champions will ensure success.


  1. Leadership is a plural word

There are many forms of leadership, but three of them have a key role in sustaining a social movement, whether in the micro or macro social world.


  1. Track progress

The progression of large scale behavioural change can be tracked and needs to be tracked. There are ways to know where the journey is at any time. Culture evolution can be measured.


  1. Master Storytelling

Stories win wars when everything else fights battles. A well designed storytelling system needs to be in place to help people’s mobilization, and  for a social movement to succeed.


  1. ‘Designed Informality’

A social movement needs to tap into in the informal organization, but this needs to be well orchestrated. The more invisible the engine room of the movement, the better.


  1. All good things happen far away

Real peer-to-peer mobilization is localized. The peripheral or local social movement structures need to be healthy and cared for.


  1. Busy-ness is a trap

Being very busy and doing lots of possibly good things does not equate to a successful movement. In fact, many movements are trapped in their own  flurry of visible activities with questionable impact.


  1. Build capacity, welcome the unintended

A good social movement builds long term capacity. Often the unintended and extended consequences are very rich in their own merits.


  1. Connect with other initiatives

A good social movement understands the existence of other parallel initiatives and a need to decide its connections whilst resisting amalgamation into a single effort, which may weaken its own force. 


  1. Write the script

The ‘travel journey’ is a good way to provide ongoing reflection. Try to capture big days and small days. The journey is both collective and personal.


  1. Resist deviations from the model

A  mobilizing platform such as Viral Change™  needs to work in its integrity. Compromising on quality or integrity of the model of mobilization will lead to high frustration, at the very least. 


  1. The longevity rules

A social movement is not a short-lived initiative. Early understanding of the key success factors for its sustainability will solve many emergent issues and prevent massive problems.  


  1. Conclusion

The principles of large scale behavioural change and the logic of creating social  movements will be key for your success as a people mobilizer whether inside the firm or the macro-social world.


  1. Epilogue: How we put Viral Change in practice for clients.

How we work with clients to create large scale behavioural and cultural change in organizations, public and private.  


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