Being the first follower

Our Talent Management Steering Committee spent yesterday in a year-end retreat. We had the opportunity to receive a briefing on Charting the Future from Jaime Simonsen and Todd Harmening, who are providing guidance and support to the implementation teams.

Along with a great deal of useful background information, Todd shared this video.  It’s a fun, and very concise, example of how to start a social movement.  One of the key points is the importance of the first follower – that’s the person who turns someone from a “lone nut” into a leader.

dancing movement guy1

dancing movement guy2dancing movemeng guy3


We’ve been talking about leadership actions that can build accountability and commitment. Yesterday’s retreat reminded me that sometimes the best way we can lead is by being good followers. As the video says, eventually there is a tipping point where it’s more desirable to join in than to stay apart.

How can we encourage people to join into our dance?  Here’s some food for thought as we move into Charting the Future and other change efforts.

  1. How do I talk about change efforts? Am I using supportive language and expressing legitimate concerns in a tone of respect and curiosity?  Or do I model negative attitudes?
  2. Am I displaying the behaviors that we want to see in others? Do I keep myself informed about the change effort and provide support and input where appropriate?
  3. Am I honoring my commitments and holding myself accountable for what I need to do?  If not, how can I expect others to do so?
  4. Am I making it easy and fun for others to join in?

Beginning work on Charting the Future can be like trying to start a movement.  Just like the dancing guy in the video, implementation teams are taking those first steps.  But it’s up to each of us to figure out how to join the dance and become effective followers.

Dee Anne Bonebright




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