In previous Daily Thoughts (here and here) I wrote about some simple maths of the organization when understood as a network. The key one to remember is the Power Law distribution of connectivity and influence: there is always a relatively small number of people highly connected and a large number poorly connected. No Bell distribution here.
These ‘small number of highly connected’ are by definition powerful. They influence many others at a scale. Positive or negative. The Power Law is morally blind.
Another piece of maths comes now. It’s called the Matthew Effect, from the Bible, Matthew 13:12: ‘whoever has, will be given more and they will have in abundance; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them’. Network translation: those highly connected people tend to grow even more in their connections. As nodes, they attract others all the time, whilst for the ones with poor connections it does not seem to get better with time. Of course perhaps, just perhaps, in another network, they will have a different position and Matthew would be kinder to them.
On the whole, there is s strong case for the identification of those highly connected people and a serious plan to engage them on a mission. There are many ways to find those colleagues but the most scientific and solid is the use of Social Network Analysis (SNA).
In Viral Change™, we work with those peer to peer networks to shape a large scale behavioural and cultural programme. We identify these colleagues and call them to arms. They are our activists in the payroll. They are the multipliers, the ones generating the maths of scale.
The identification of the highly connected is via peer nomination and the questions asked via SNA system are geared towards a specific pattern of attributes. These hyperconnected are also by definition one of the forms of distributed leadership that the organization has.
So here is the maths summary:
- World I (communications) works on addition (of brains, bodies, minds, delegates…)
- World II (behaviours) works on multiplication, via social copying and imitation
- The distribution of connectivity within the organization follows a Power Law, not a normal Bell curve. That means there is a relatively small number of people in the organization who are highly connected and who have the ability to influence at a scale.
- With time, those people tend to increase their own connections
Identifying these individuals and engaging them is at the core of behavioural change at a scale (Viral Change™)
These maths are the core of the Viral Change Mobilizing Platform, which masters the combination and synchronization of the two worlds: World 1, push, the world of addition and World II, pull, the world of behaviours. Simple maths, powerful impact.