Change as a team sport

“The only way to have a successful revolution in any field of human activity”.

In a recent post on Interconnected, Matt Webb quotes Kurt Vonnegut:

Slazinger claims to have learned from history that most people cannot open their minds to new ideas unless a mind-opening team with a peculiar membership goes to work on them. Otherwise, life will go on exactly as before, no matter how painful, unrealistic, unjust, ludicrous, or downright dumb that life may be.

The team must consist of three sorts of specialists, he says. Otherwise, the revolution, whether in politics or the arts of the sciences or whatever, is sure to fail.

I’ll let you read the rest on Matt’s site. Tom subsequently writes on how Malcolm Gladwell rediscovered pretty much the same idea.

[Seb’s Open Research]

I think the connection to Gladwell is a bit forced, although The Tipping Point is still a great piece of work and worth reading in its own right.

I would label these specialists Thinker, Citizen, and Teacher, and there’s little doubt that all are essential to successful change, even when change is short of revolution. One implication is that you’d better understand which you are and line up the missing roles if you want successful change to happen.