Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Change Avalanche

Pushing an avalanche down the mountain.

When you push an avalanche down the mountain you provide leadership for something that takes on a life of its own. An avalanche is like a tipping point. When your idea spreads, things scale up, something happens.

The mountain.

The mountain is organization. Most organizations were developed in an era when energy was cheap and information was expensive. In the 1900’s, before modern management, most business consisted of less then 6 employees. People lived their work, which was often serving a specific function, like a baker or miller. The culture celebrated apprenticeship. During the industrial revolution corporate managers made great strides in expanding the size of organizations. Most of these 20th century companies made a universally desired product, with cheap resources (energy, materials and labor) and yelled a consistent message from the roof tops. The masses came running. Capitalism went global. Business executives and finance professionals profited massively has they presided over the consolidation of industries. Economies of scale ruled the day.

The Internet has changed the snowpack.

The Internet has changed mass communications into mass conversations. Messages now flow freely in both directions. How effective is your interactive campaign? Well it depends what you measure. Traditional media estimates impressions and focuses on consistency of message, in a web 2.0 world interactions are important. Is your message spreading across social media platforms? Do people contact you with ideas? Do your customers feel like they own your brand? The point of interactive market is to interact. Have real people answer the phones. Publish useful and interesting information. Collaborate to create remarkable solutions.

This is the avalanche.

When you co-create something remarkable, the idea will spread. This is the power of the transparency and collaboration. That they are contributing to the greater good just by participating with the brand.

No own can own an avalanche.

Someone may create an avalanche, but it will take on a life of its own. Everyone knows that an avalanche is going down the hill but no one can mange it. This is both the risk and opportunity. If you are successful it may be a result transferring power to a distributed group of stakeholders.