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

To Scale or not to scale? This is the Shakespearean culture question.

Behavioural /cultural shaping in organizations does not scale up by simply the leaders having the right mindset and motivation. A mechanism (mobilizing platform) must be in place. Many reasonably good leaders think (they have been told by providers of leadership development and HR departments) that having a good (massive?) spread of leadership workshops (programme) and coaching to key people, things will naturally scale up. These are false maths.

I sustain that leadership in large organization is (must be) always leadership of social change following the socio-behavioural rules of social movements and not the traditional leadership programmes cascades. Another things is team alignment or collective leadership at, for example, leadership team(s) levels and/or the individual coaching. These things are great but not scalable.

No practitioner in culture change can ignore ‘scale’ since culture by definition is something that has scaled, good or bad. Even if commercially we see a lot these things coming together , ‘culture’ and ‘leadership’, they are very different things. Good leaders are not automatically good leaders and shapers of cultures, although they are in a good path, compared with the alternative.

So, knowing how things scale or not, is vital to the practise of ‘culture change’. Our well known distinction between World I (the world of communication) and World II (the world of behaviours) [Homo Imitans [1]] serves to at least be clear on what to expect or not.

It may be that you, as leader, have reached a good level of insight, self-introspection and learning. It may be that you are well equipped with good emotional and social intelligence. Great! Still you have a big question to ask: can you scale that goodness? Will that A, B, and C initiative scale up, or will they be something nice and good and rewarding at the relatively safe and relatively small world around me?

Not a good scale answer? Don’t stop what you are doing, but ask, where is the multiplication, not the addition? Where’s a pull effect, not another push? How can we engage the other 1000 people?

Here is the logic for a Mobilizing Platform [2], not a change method, but a way to provide a scale up effect/social movement.