Monday, 10 March 2014

I am on two missions...

An excerpt from the book Homo Imitans by Leandro Herrero:

I am on two missions. One: I want to create epidemics of goodness and counter-epidemics to evil by applying the powers of social influence and social contagion. Two: I want to enlist you in my first mission. Grandiose language, I know. OK, I’ll come down to earth. Let me translate. I want to create real change in organizations by applying the principles that create change in the macro-social world and vice versa. And I want to recruit you as a follower of these ideas:
  1. The only change is behavioural change. Pick any organization, health programme or societal change project. No matter how much you reorganize processes in the company, or how many health awareness campaigns are in place, or how many appeals to community cohesion your government funds; nothing changes until and unless behaviours change. If you are leading change in organizations or society, behaviours must be the focus of your attention. So we’d better know how to do this and, believe me, above all, how not to do it.
  2. Behaviours don’t like classrooms, PowerPoint presentations, posters or billboards. Behaviours travel through imitation and copying. So this is the second clue. We’d better know how this works and ‘what’ or ‘who’ has the power to spread behaviours. We must get this right or we will be wasting our time, money and hope.
  3. Organizational change and macro-social change are large scale changes. How large will vary case by case, but we are not talking about changes that occur at the atomic level of management teams or in the intimacy of the one-to-one executive coaching sessions. These are important and may in some cases indeed be crucial to the organization, but the social infections I am talking about go beyond the scope of these situations.
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