Viral Change™ is a behavioural based cultural change programme that is ‘designed’ so that a small set of behaviours is spread by a small set of ‘influential’ people (usually around 10 per cent of the workforce). If done wisely, with experienced Viral Change™ practitioners it creates an internal infection of success that is spread through peer to peer networks.
The Law of Influence
These influencers are not drawn from management, instead they are those employees with a large social network of ‘loose’ ties, those people who are natural influencers. (This could mean that your receptionist becomes your most ‘powerful’ leader – a pre-warning here to organisational leaders: Viral Change™ means letting go of control!).
In this respect Viral Change™ works with the natural law of influence : social proof. People want to follow the lead of people just like them and people will do things that they see other people are doing. (Have you read Herd?). People are more motivated to follow their peers (people like them) than they are to ‘obey’ a command-control leadership (this is especially true of Generation Y’ers).
Make Best Use of Limited Resources
Rather than seeking to change the whole organisation, which is what traditional change management programmes typically do (of course, this is guaranteed to fail, as you will never have enough resource to achieve this). Viral Change™ makes best use of limited resources and, like a chemical reaction, assembles the key ingredients and uses a catalyst to causes a reaction and a rapid spread of change to create a ‘Tipping Point’ whereby the whole system becomes the change. Bear with me if your brain is aching, it seems that leaders like things simple these days; but too simple and you really do miss the boat!
The premise behind Viral Change™ is that organisations are not linear, mechanistic machines but complex, multi-centre organisms. The ‘designed informality’ of Viral Change™ takes the reigns of this complex organism in a remarkably simple way (at least from the outside looking in!), so that employees in the organisation become the catalysts of change and sell success internally.
Leaders Need to Let Go
Feeling uncomfortable? So you should! Because the biggest barrier to Viral Change™ success, is leaders who can’t let go. People at the top of organisations are used to being in control. But Viral Change™ is not lead by the people at the top; it is enabled by internal ‘leaders’. Your admin person, service operator, salesman, these people become the ‘leaders’. And you have to allow them. You have to prepare them, support them, engage them … and then let them go.
All you have to do then is reap the fruits of their actions. Which could be numerous: cost savings, reduction in duplication of work, improved processes and efficiencies throughout the organisation, better customer service, increased sales, reduction of waste and damage, increased safety, increased value added service for the customer … and on it goes. This all adds up to improved customer loyalty, greater profitability and a more innovative organisation with a sustainble competitive advantage: an ongoing, fluid learning organisation.
Viral Change™ is not a ‘Change Management Programme’ – that dreaded ‘c’ word! But it is the only alternative to the traditional, mechanistic, process driven, top down change management. It delivers sustainable change faster; it is a far less painful process and is by far more cost-effective.
Other posts you might enjoy:
- How to implement Viral Change TM
- Interview with Dr Leandro Herrero about Viral Change TM
- Cultural Change is behavioural change
- When it’s not working – go Viral ChangeTM
Comment, argue, get involved: we’d love to hear your comments on this post!