The 'Dancing Guy' video on Youtube is still one of my all time favourite references on how to reach a cultural tipping point. With any culture change initiative, the hope is that enough people will eventually pick up the new behaviour beats and start joining the dance until the organisation tips into the new cultural norm. But how do you find those 'dancing guys' - the people in your organisation who will bring the new culture to life and influence others?
- Get very clear about what behaviour you want from people that they are not doing now. If people want to commit, what does committing actually look like? In the video it's clear: Stand up, wave your arms around, wiggle your feet, you're dancing. In real life, less so. It's hard enough having the courage to stand up and start dancing - but it's much harder when what dancing actually looks like is unclear.
- What's your music? Would the tipping point in this video have happened without the music? No way! Your compelling beat has to be loud and constant. What would get your people tapping their feet? What is that story, that vision?
- Focus on finding the early adopters who may be scattered throughout your organisation, and bringing them together to add gravitas and give them confidence. We use culture champion networks to achieve this. Don't worry about the group who will never dance, focus on the group who are closest to being willing to stand up.
- Lever the cultural tipping point. As the tipping point arrives, it becomes more uncomfortable for the majority of your employees to stay sitting than it is for them to join in. Use this fact by focusing on getting a big enough crowd on their feet in order to sway the rest. Keep it simple. Just one behaviour, adopted by all, will transform your business.
Can you find more learnings from this little video?
Carolyn is the CEO of Walking the Talk and author of 'Walking the Talk: Building a Culture for Success' (Random House).
Twitter @walkingourtalk or LinkedIn.