Monday, 11 March 2013

4/10 Not top down, not bottom up, its grassroots and multi-centric

Un-managing change
10 lessons from Obamaland to the design of large scale behavioural change in organizations.  Viral Change™ in action series

10 reflections on the conditions for large scale change  as practiced by Viral Change™
by Leandro Herrero

4/10   Not top down, not bottom up, its grassroots and multi-centric 

In organizational life we are used to the dichotomy top-down and bottom up, that is as one being the opposite of the other, Clearly a lot of truth about it. There is an assumption that if you want an opposite to top-down it has to be bottom up. But in organizational terms, and even more as soon as you consider the organization as a social network, the true alternative to an exclusively bottom up approach, that is one-centric is poly-centric. Poli-centric includes the top down.

The successful political campaigns are multi-centric or poli-centric and the Obama campaign was one of them with heavy emphasis on the grassroots ‘centres’.  The localized number of these was significantly greater than the opponent, which it would be wrong to say they did not use a grassroots approach.

Viral Change™ in organizations takes place by orchestrating a multi or polycentric approach.  With the organization as a pyramid – and it could be a big pyramid or a flat(err) pyramid- statistically there are more highly connected and influent people in the bottom. That is why a great majority of champions or activists come  from the lower layers but not exclusively. Viral Change™ takes place at different layers (to continue using a wrong two-dimensional concept)  and peer-to-peer activity ( conversations, engagement, activists role…)  is also taken place at different layers. This is  how a social movement work, sometime spontaneously, vey often truly orchestrated.

In Viral Change we orchestrate large scale behavioural change to create a social movement. Business organizations may not be used to the  term but this is what  it is. That is why studying Obamaland is incredible useful. Viral Change™ is a true trans-disciplinary approach and as such we are constantly integrating insights from many ‘praxis areas’. Mobilizing people and creating  movement – something that political and marketing campaigners do for a living – has not figured very high in the organization life other than a rather bland traditional HR approach to motivation and recognition. Business organizational life ant dist traditional human capital functions find this concept a bit alien. Not anymore. 

I am preparing a series of presentations under the general title of ‘If you run your organization as Obama runs campaigns’ to stress the need to learn from the success ( and its failures) of that social movement . The Viral Change™ Institute, which is in pre-launch state, will have this as one of its research tracks

Viral Change™ Global L.LP. PO Box 1192, HP9 IYQ, United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1494 730999

Viral Change™ is a trademark
Next: 5/10
I am going to vote, what about you? 

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