Viral Change is an innovative and highly effective approach to managing change in organisations. At Changeworks we are currently using it alongside internal communication programmes, and viral communications especially, to help organisations more quickly realise a vision of success. Whilst ‘big splash’ internal communications can serve to act as a frame for change, often this approach alone won’t effect sustainable cultural change. A viral change based process can work as a stealth weapon, working effectively in the background with no big company wide launch, to change behaviour and hence culture.
Essentially, a small set of non negotiable behaviours are defined and a process to encourage and spread these behaviours is adopted. These behaviours are imitated, endorsed by a small network of people, and this spreads new ways of doing things, quickly and effectively. Its strength lies in peer to peer networks, supported by dialogue and conversation, to create sustainable cultural changes and spread an internal infection of success. Viral Change is closer to infection of ideas or behaviours than to the traditional rational appeal and cascaded down initiatives of change.
The concept of Viral Change was pioneered by author and speaker, Dr. Leandro Herrero, an organisational consultant who specialises in organisational change. I recently met Leandro at the Chartered Instute of Public Relations Internal Communication conference, and interviewed him about some of the key things to consider when implementing Viral Change programmes.
Changeworks Blog will be focusing on the processes and ‘management’ (ah ah!) of Viral Change and related considerations over the course of the next month.