This is Viral Change™

What is Viral Change™
The difference
How it works
Examples and solutions

The difference

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The difference

There are significant differences between Viral Change™ and the traditional ways to approach management of change. The traditional way is linear: big problems need big solutions, big programmes, and big communication cascading down. Viral Change™ is non-linear (like life!): problems or challenges of any size can be dealt with by a small, well-chosen set of critical, non-negotiable behaviours, which are practiced and spread by a relatively small number of highly influential people. This creates a critical (and growing) mass of followers who copy each other, shaping change faster and more effectively. The key to success is the orchestration of this.

Here is a summary of the 10 main differences:

The Traditional Way

Viral Change™

Mechanistic view of the organization (‘the organization’) Organisms as a model of the organization  (‘the organism’)
Top-down change and leadership  Multi-centric change and distributed leadership, grass roots-like. Several small fires in  different places on a mountain create a big fire.
Hierarchical influence is explicitly or tacitly driven Peer-to-peer influence more important than hierarchical when it comes to culture.
Emphasis on processes (‘behaviours are a consequence’)  Emphasis on behaviours and the behavioural DNA of the organization, needed to sustain new processes
‘Telling people’ what to do takes most air time Selling ideas to people and getting buy-in through peer influence is the real engine
Communication, communication, communication  Infection of ideas and behaviours. Social movement
Advocacy at best: ‘this is good, follow me’  Activism: ‘I am doing x, what about you?’
Formal programme. ‘Another corporate initiative’ (talk>act) Well designed informality. Many times silent, often invisible (act>talk)
‘Tsunami’: everybody involved, massive communication, then pray ‘Butterfly’: small changes multiplied a thousand times  by a champions community  (see Viral Change™ book)
External change experts in every corner   Internal engine of leadership (Champions)  supported semi-invisibly by a joint (consulting & client) small team