Would you like to know how to make your organisation or brand a platform for change?
In today’s world, people want much more from the organisations they deal with and work for than just products and services. They want to know what the organisations stand for and if they can engage with them and be part of the community that surrounds them. But, how does all this happen?
Phill Nosworthy is a researcher, keynote speaker, social impact strategist, and Co-Founder of Switch Learning + Development. When he spoke at a Florence Guild event as part of their speaker series, The Antidisciplinary Future’, he said that the organisations that understand how we live and what we want are the ones that are best placed to design with these factors in mind and to make it easier for us to engage with a network of like-minded people.
If you want your organisation to inspire others to gather and to make changes in their world, you need to have a strong, positive core vision that comes through in every way, from the suppliers you chose to deal with to the impacts you have on your immediate and wider environments. For example, the Overflow Coffee Bar in Chicago set out to “inspire a genuine and local community of people who change the world with their purchasing power, time, and talents”. Within 5 years, their café had become a thriving place for people with similar values to meet and develop their ideas.
Global giants like Tesla, Nike, and Apple have also successfully established themselves as social movement leaders in their own unique ways.
What steps do I need to take to start a movement?
Nosworthy believes there are 3 core steps or pillars that are needed to create a successful movement.
Reframe: Change your conversation from a message for niche groups to an idea that is relevant to the masses. Is your idea duplicable and scalable?
Mainline: Be prepared to relinquish control to the community. In his article for Forbes How To Transform Your Brand Into A Movement, Greg Satell gave the example of Saul Kaplan’s Business Innovation Factory (BIF), a non-profit organisation set up to transform Rhode Island into an innovation platform. BIF’s agenda revolves around creating opportunities for people to meet and share their ideas in order to spark new ones. They believe the conversations that happen during the breaks at their events are more important than the events themselves.
Play long: If you truly want to start a long-term powerful movement, you need to look beyond your KPI’s for the next few years. You need to create a framework that allows lots of actions and activities to occur to gradually build up momentum. The key is to find the balance between including too much and not enough detail in your directives. Plan for the future but allow things to evolve naturally.
Nosworthy adds that there is another key element that will determine the success or failure of a movement and that is whether the leader of the organisation acts in ways that support the long-term goal.
“There can’t be a distinction between the message and the messenger. So, if there is a gap between what a leader is doing, living, talking and what the organisation stands for, either they are not going to be the leader of the movement for very long or it will be a weak leadership profile or a weaker movement. The stronger the sense of alignment between the message and the messenger, the more powerful that person becomes the representation of the brand.”
Leaders whose names are synonymous with their brands’ values include people like Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Anita Roddick. Every action they’ve taken for their organisations aligns perfectly with its vision. So, if you want to follow in their footsteps and become an inspirational leader for your organisations’ movement, you need to have a deep understanding of its mission and core values. Then you have to live them, breathe them, walk them, and talk them at every turn.
‘The Antidisciplinary Future’ series narrative explores how we can look outside traditional disciplines to find better ways to live and work now and in the future. To hear more of Phill’s insights on ‘Tribes, Movements and Cult Brands’, tune in to episode 12 of our podcast. You can also keep up to date with conversations with other thought leaders by subscribing to our podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio.