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

Peer-to-peer is the strongest engine of change

Welcome to my weekly focus on culture change, leadership and organizational design. This week, I focus on what culture is, how behaviours create culture and the importance of peer-to-peer networks in achieving large scale, sustainable cultural change.


Extracts taken from my book ‘The Flipping Point‘. [1] 

Culture is hard stuff

Culture is the difference between 30 people making a decision in 30 days, or 3 people making the same decision in 3 days. Culture is the difference between hiring costly employees and retaining them, or hiring costly employees and losing them after 6 months. Culture is the difference between making a decision and implementing it, or making the same decision and waiting to see if it sticks or people take it seriously. Culture is the difference between agreeing the plan in the meeting room, or trashing it at the break in the toilets. Culture is hard stuff. Do you need me to give you an ROI on these differences?

I use lots of these examples to show that culture is ‘hard’, not ‘soft’. Anybody with a calculator can see it.
Behaviours create culture, not the other way around. Change behaviours get culture.

Behaviours are copied and scaled up peer-to-peer. Everybody copies everybody but some people are more copy-able than others. It turns out that 5 – 10% have very high (non-hierarchical) influence. Find them, ask for help and give them support. Tell stories of success all the time. Make sure leaders do support the peer-to-peer work, but don’t interfere. This is the ‘what’ of Viral Change™  [2]in a box. The ‘how’ is what I do for a living.
Peer-to-peer is stronger than managerial top down
Peer power: if managers say, ‘safety is first’, the impact may be relative. The dictation is totally expected. This is what they are supposed to say. If my peer says, ‘safety is first’, I’m beginning to pay attention. It’s not expected, we were talking football and holidays. (what is the matter with him?) But I hear it. Tell me more. Peer-to-peer is stronger than managerial top down.

Peer power: Peer-to-peer is the strongest source or engine of change and mobilization inside any organization.


Peer-to-Peer Influence

More and more, the neat and innovative work is taking place outside the formal, hierarchical structures, in the informal networks of the organization. Extend your reading on this topic – with free material available on our Academy [3] site, material includes:




Behavioural Based Change Resources

Behaviours are at the heart of Viral Change™ [2] because only behavioural change is real change. Behavioural change is sustainable and scaleable as behaviours creates cultures – not the other way around. For a deeper dive into this area, download our Behaviours Part 1 [4].  This material includes:


Previous issues on behaviours:

Habits have no meaning, they create it. Start with behaviours,
get meaning

Only behavioural change is real change [5]