Change: Lessons Learned from
Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point
is an old Romanian curse that says, “May you have a brilliant
idea and be unable to convince anyone to use it.” Human beings
have a propensity to resist change rather than embrace it, be it a
minor modification or a radical innovation. This is true even when
the change is seen as positive or solicited.
however, we see new ideas that instantly and firmly take hold with
large numbers of people. In his book, The Tipping Point,
Malcolm Gladwell describes this phenomenon. He writes of trends as
diverse as shoe fashions, crime statistics, infectious diseases and
TV show ratings, and describes the factors that “tip”
them into becoming sudden “epidemics.” He also identifies
three types of people who are most often responsible for catalyzing
the “tipping point” that triggers a change:
Does This Mean For You?
You can use the “tipping point” concept when working to
implement change in your work or personal environments. It's best
to keep these five guidelines in mind:
Be clear about who needs to do what, how and by when. You should be
able to describe the essence or goal of the change in a 90-second
Identify your allies, adversaries, and those best suited to be your
Connectors, Mavens and Salespeople. Anticipate others’ objections,
opinions and needs, and prepare responses to their concerns.
Consider the preferred ways to communicate your proposed change. Decide
who needs to hear what, in which sequence. Figure out whether to use
meetings, one-on-one conversations, phone calls, emails, or newsletters.
Which will be clearest and best received? Think about the words and
images you should use to make your ideas “stick” and increase
the recall and excitement in others.
Determine how to get buy-in. Should you provide predetermined structures,
directions and desired time-frames? Would it be better to solicit
input from the people responsible for implementing the change? Do
you need to educate others or consciously build alliances? Will your
own enthusiasm be enough to drive the project, or will your Connectors,
Mavens and Salespeople be the ones to carry the torch?
Anticipate what follow-up and reality checks you’ll need. How
can you test ideas and reactions to help keep the change effort on
track? Who needs to follow up? How can you measure progress? How can
you keep everyone, including yourself, inspired, confident and focused
as the change takes root?
spite of the ever-increasing rate of change in our culture, no idea,
behavior pattern or innovation takes hold overnight. It takes planning,
patience and personal commitment to help the change “tip”
and become established. At Spero & Company, we are experienced
change agents. Please contact us, at (303) 671-9030 or email@example.com,
if you would like to discuss how we can help you with the changes
you plan to implement. Also, if you have been successful in reaching
some “tipping point,” please let us know, so that we can
share your insights with others.