Monday, 15 October 2007

Principles of change

Seth Godin has an interesting analysis of behaviour in relation to the Radiohead album. He discusses the order in which people move to alternatives. First the losers (because they have nothing to lose), then the winners (because they can afford to and want to keep winning, and then everyone else.

This is consistent with the 60:30:10 principle of change that a Project Director I worked once suggested to me. I didn't see it at first, but after observing a few large-scale changes it started to resonate with me.

It says that when confronted with a significant change, as a rule of thumb, 30% will always be against it and 10% will always be for it. The remaining 60% sit on the fence, watching the contest between the other two groups. At a certain point, when it appears that one side is going to win (whether or not they are in fact going to win), the 60% makes its decision. This means that you will either end up with 70% in favour or 90% against. The key thing in effecting any change is to make sure that you are not on the losing side of at any stage.

That wisdom has been very interesting in watching a number of large scale changes recently, and in particular the shift of opinion (and action) in relation to climate change. Bear it in mind the next time you observe any significant change - I hope it proves interesting.

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