Wednesday, June 10, 2009

When the tribe holds onto the past, often it just takes one uninhibited dancer to trigger change

Came across this video from the Sasquatch music festival on Seth Godin's blog (see his blog here). It struck me that in times of stress and traumatic change, organizations often become paralyzed by fear of the unknown even when they know they simply must change to survive. This is particularly true in the mass media business (newspapers, radio, TV, magazines) which are undergoing a seismic upheaval that calls for a total rethinking of our roles. And yet, even when presented with overwhelming evidence, we tend to hold onto the past because it it familiar, and comfortable. The tribal instincts of organizations are strong, and few want go to against the "us not change" mentality of the herd. And yet, as in this video, often is only takes one or two people to initiate and embrace change. From Seth's blog:

"My favorite part happens just before the first minute mark. That's when guy #3 joins the group. Before him, it was just a crazy dancing guy and then maybe one other crazy guy. But it's guy #3 who made it a movement.
Initiators are rare indeed, but it's scary to be the leader. Guy #3 is rare too, but it's a lot less scary and just as important. Guy #49 is irrelevant. No bravery points for being part of the mob.
"We need more guy #3s.


Rachel Legan said...

You know Richard, I don't think it is just organizations that are scared it's people as a whole.Way back in 1996-97 when everyone at our company was given an email address you wouldn't believe the resistance from some of the long time (ie:older) employees. Comments like "Email? What the heck do I need email for"!? Alot of people see change as an end.Sure,change can sometimes look like death but freezing life in routine,well isn't that the antithesis of life?
Great post!

Richard Beene said...

Agreed Ms. Legan... i use "organizations" in a generic sense but at the end of the day - as you note - it's people!

rogers brandon said...

I think you're over estimating the tribe business and under estimating the mushrooms

BakoWriter said...

Just watched this video -- twice. I showed it to my teenage daughter and explained that Guy #1's dance could represent any new idea or change, and how so many people miss out on opportunities because they're not courageous enough to be "that guy." Guys #2 and #3 are important, too, because they believed in the mission (project, investment, opportunity, etc.). But, as was already stated, there are few rewards in being Guy #49, other than any reward you might get from riding someone else's coattails. Be brave! Be couragous! Rock on!