- Fri, May 11 2012
- Filed under: Nonprofit leadership
The title of this post comes from a new article at the Harvard Business Review blog which provides some solid pointers for people like us. According to John Hagel and John Brown, turning a grand idea into reality requires five critical concepts.
Here is my paraphrase of those factors, along with my thoughts.
1. Create a Compelling Shaping View
To mobilize supporters,say Hagel and Brown, you have to create a compelling view of what the future-state could look like. Think “I have a dream” or Kennedy’s man on the moon speech. Don’t just pitch your cause - evangelize your vision of the world we could make possible if we all put our minds to it.
2. Make Sure the Benefit is Mutual
It won’t surprise you that I’m a fan of this second point. You can’t get people to do anything unless you get them to care, and the easiest way to do that is to prove your relevance and benefit to them. They tell the following story: “One executive was able to gain the support of grizzled old maintenance guys who were deeply skeptical of social software when he showed them how this new technology could eliminate a major headache in their day-to-day jobs. Rather than talking in generalities, he painted a compelling picture for a specific set of workers to show them how this would help them deal with a very troublesome pain point.”
3. Prove You Mean It!
Do something to demonstrate your conviction in moving toward that grand vision you’ve described. Make a personal sacrifice, take a first step or show you’ve got people behind you. Or show your vulnerability in the face of the challenge. You don’t have all the answers, which is why you need the wisdom of those who can join as fellow believers.
4. Create a Platform.
If you’ve done a great job inspiring and evangelizing, people will start to climb on board. Give them a way to do so with a central platform that enables connections, invites conversation and encourages participation. It might be a virtual rallying point (liked a LinkedIn group) or a real world platform. Hagel and Brown say, “The key is to find ways for people to connect with each other, work with each other and draw strength from each other. For Martin Luther King, the churches spread across the South became key organizing platforms. In the office, it may be as simple as a shared table in the cafeteria at lunch time.”
5. Gain Critical Mass.
Invite a broader group of people to join your fledgling movement, leveraging social media to amplify word of mouth. Don’t knock slacktivism - movements need a committed core, but they also need critical mass.