At the beginning of our Viral Change™ programmes, moons ago, we were worried about a few things. One in particular was always present. Once the champions (advocates, activists, agents, connectors) had been identified and called to arms, what would they say to their other colleagues. Surely, other colleagues would ask, ‘why not me?’ or ‘why you?’, or ‘what of special (perhaps secret….) role you have?’
Management was worried, we were worried, and we rushed to craft a series of FAQs: if they ask X, Y is the answer.
But we soon discovered that most of the Frequently Asked Questions were very infrequently asked. And if they weren’t, the answers were ready in front of us.
Indeed, soon after, I figured out that the best way to ‘prepare’ was to worry less about ‘our answers’ and ask the community of change champions themselves how they would reply. Ten out of ten of cases, the community had answers that we had not anticipated or collected in our FAQ. Most times the reactions were of the type ‘that’s not a problem for me, I would say X’, perhaps followed by a champion colleague comment ‘that wont work for me, I would say Y’.
Since then, I started a ‘The answer is in the room’ policy, with great success. We did not have to have an FAQ ready because our well chosen Viral Change champions knew exactly what to do.
It was a humble lesson and a pragmatic one. I have stopped worried about having all the answers, and practicing the hypothesis that, most to the time, the answer to a good question is in the room full of colleagues, clients, followers or attendees to a speech.
I am right on this one most of the time.