What is Viral Change™
Change is pull, not push
In one of our books, Homo Imitans, we describe two worlds. World I is the world of information. Information is packaged and cascaded down from the top of the organization, disseminated via communication campaigns and ‘rolled out’ with workshops. It is a push world. World II is the world of behaviours. Behaviours are exhibited by people and mostly copied by others. Who copies who, who influences whom is the key. Behaviours don’t travel, let alone change, via PowerPoint. You can describe them in posters and slides but they are only real when people practice them. World II is a pull world, an infection world. My behaviours are pulling other people’s behaviours and I am in turn pulled by the behaviours around me. Viral Change™ is behavioural change at a scale, the way to create a positive social infection.
Only behavioural change is real change
You can map new processes and re-arrange the organization chart. Install a new corporate software (ERP, CRM, etc.) and explain to people why this is good and necessary. Create a massive communication and training campaign and make sure that everybody has clearly understood where to go. Perhaps you’ve done this already and noticed that many people hang on to the old ways. That is because there is no change unless there is behavioural change. It is only when new behaviours have become the norm that you can say that real change has occurred. If you want a new culture, change behaviours. Cultures are not created by training.
Viral Change™: model, method and way of life, all in one
Viral Change™ uses the power of a small set of well-defined non-negotiable behaviours, spread by small groups of highly connected individuals within the organization. Their peer-to-peer influence – more powerful than hierarchical one – creates new norms, new ways of doing, new cultures. When groups start doing things the new way, other groups follow. Stories of success spread. Stories are memorable, behaviours are contagious… bullet points are not. There are great similarities between biological infection and idea infection. For proof, just look at any social phenomenon around you!
Viral Change™ is a way to understand the organization as an organism instead of a machine. It is a method to create large scale change to meet specific business objectives. It is also a day-to-day way of life in the organization in a permanent state of readiness. If you want to master any of these, we’ll be there to guide and work with you.