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Normal service will be resuming shortly at Daily Thoughts HQ! But first, we wanted to share some of the best posts on Social Movements (a favourite topic of ours!) We hope you enjoy this week’s selection.

Clues to mobilizing people inside the corporate tent, come from outside that tent.

People reading these Daily Thoughts may be used to common themes. After all, I am not writing about nuclear physics or holiday travel. My world is the organizational world. And you are reading this because it is also your world. OK, maybe not the only one. But many would have realised that at the core of what we do at our company, The Chalfont Project Ltd, is the unashamed stealing of insights from non-management-stuff-MBA territories that have a thing or two to teach us about mobilizing people and shaping a common, collective sense of purpose. To be good at doing this within the corporate tent, we must look at what happens outside the tent. And, this is always so rewarding because the parallels and learning are there in front of you, all the time.

Here is a piece from the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, not necessarily a household name in the sources of insights for we, average mortal managers. Read it with a welcoming mind:

From ‘Predictors of Social Mobilization Speed’ (by Jeff Alstott Stuart Madnick Chander Velu. Working Paper CISL# 2013-04 March 2013

As social mobilization becomes increasingly influential, the ability to engineer and influence the dynamics of mobilization will become ever more important within society. The present findings provide a novel and nuanced understanding of the predictors of the speed of mobilization on social networks. These insights may allow for speed-optimization of social mobilization tasks, such as political campaigning, marketing, and others. The speed of recruitment can be increased by focusing on a number of simple elements of a mobilization task. For example, targeting all-female groups instead of all-male groups would lead to faster mobilization in a disease prevention campaign trying to quickly propagate best practices against a new virus. Encouraging specifically the young to recruit others, particularly those older than themselves, would accelerate the take-up in a new political campaign trying to rapidly build a base. Operating through family networks instead of work networks or mass media would speed up recruitment for a search and rescue operation. Encouraging participants around the globe to recruit largely within their own cities would hasten buy-in to a movement to build up a donations network in the wake of a natural disaster.

Such large-scale social mobilizations are becoming increasingly common and impactful, and often the speed of recruitment is critical to their success. For those organizing such mobilization tasks, a greater understanding of the factors driving mobilization speed can improve the odds of success. The predictors of social mobilization speed described here compose an initial set of relevant elements, and open the door for identification of additional factors.

End of reading!

A few things for us, for me, in the form of hypothesis. Just hypothesis. But, for me, fascinating ones.

  1. Involving female networks (eg. ‘women in leadership’) will be an accelerator for organizational cultural change. Fostering these internal women networks may be fantastic.
  2. The young employee tribe will be fantastic at (a) peer-to-peer activity ( a la Viral Change™ ) and (b) recruiting/influencing older colleagues. We are not actively and distinctively using them.
  3. The ‘family networks’ having greater power than ‘work networks’ fit the ‘people like me’ Edelman Trust Barometer style as practiced by Viral Change™.
  4. ‘Recruit within your own cities’ in our organizations means paying special attention to the local, the proximity, the strong ties of connectivity. Possible translation: sometimes an excess in our appeal to ‘the global company’ or ‘the global brand’ may not have the traction that we expect. Global stuff is great, I pay my mortgage locally, my boss may send her kids to the same school.

Every day that passes I am more convinced that the future of the business organization depends on our ability to erase a lot of traditional HR/OD/MBA conventional wisdom, not because there is anything intrinsically wrong there, but because it did reach a ceiling around year 2000, and this is a benevolent assumption.

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