Saturday, 20 September 2014

We Are #The45Plus ...And We Have the Ability to Change the World!

During the Scottish Independence Referendum there was a fantastic grassroots movement that mobilised people from all backgrounds to rally round the common cause of #VoteYes. There were 1.6 million people who voted for change, but how do you capitalise and build on this after the election? 

I am not into party politics... a quick scan of some previous posts and you will see the contempt with which I have for "the political class" So why on earth would I become such an ardent #YesScotland supporter? I can explain this in 3 words: Culture! Culture! Culture!

What Comes First? The Politics... Or the Culture?
Over the last 2 years I have explored the organisational culture of major tech companies and the conditions that allow them and places like Silicon Valley to thrive... and Culture is SO important.

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast, technology for lunch, and products for dinner, and soon thereafter everything else too.” Why? Because organisational culture... guides employee decisions about both technical business decisions and how they interact with others. Good culture creates an internal coherence in actions taken by a very diverse group of employees.  Peter Drucker

Take a look at that last sentence and consider how rare that is in politics. Alex Salmond has achieved a fantastic grassroots movement. Indeed, according to Dave Logan's "Tribal Leadership" model, Salmond and Team Scotland is a model example of how to create world beating teams

"Identify what your core values are... then align those values with a noble cause" 

The shared values with #Indyref were, of course, replaced by a shared identity, with the noble cause being FREEDOM! Erm, I mean become an independent nation. Lol. Salmond operated in a way that only the top performing 2% of organisations do... and teams like this have the potential to change the world... And "Yes" has indeed done this! The eyes of the world were on us and being so close to breaking up the UK has shaken the establishment to the core.

Stage 5 Leaders will collaborate with anyone and everyone they can in order to achieve their goal. Look at the number of groups and organisations who used the "Yes" brand, this cut across every divide there is: political, class, race, gender, geography. There's another great leader who swears by this method too.

"Shackleton's leadership style was formed when working under people like Scott and vowing not to treat men they way he and his crew mates were treated. What he hated most about these jobs were pettiness, irresponsible bosses, insufferable working conditions and a lack of trust and respect among crew members. In the early expeditions which he led he learned that leadership that was rigid, remote, undemocratic, and uncertain didn't work. On the Endurance he focused on the one thing that that gave the best chance at reaching their goals: UnityShackleton

The Scott Vs Shackleton comparisons sure do look a lot like Westminster Vs Team Scotland

We're Great... You're Not
Something else that's needed for organisations who operate at Stage 4/5 is that the teams identity is formed in relation to another group: To have rivalries like Apple Vs Microsoft or, the famous example of Steve Jobs' internal rivalry with his board which saw the creation of
"Why join the Navy when you can be a Pirate"

Obviously identifying differences and a rivalry between Scotland and England isn't hard to do! However, while the rivalry may have been ready made, the campaign had been going on for a year and a half without too much attention from the general public. This was, For me at least, "Just another argument" between politicians, and people's lives are rarely affected regardless of who the "winner" of spats like this is. The fact that the the polls in August for a "Yes" vote was around 30%, perhaps demonstrates this.

As someone who is disillusioned with the political class, I was definitely one of the "Johnny come Lately's" to YesScotland, and I wasn't alone. Better Together started to crank up their campaign but, as they don't appear to understand the Scottish psyche, the more campaigning they did --> The more they wound people up --> The more supporters #VoteYes got --> Any further political "own goals" and mishaps from Better Together --> The more united the #VoteYes became.

Silicon Scotland
Silicon Valley is renowned for being a hugely collaborative place and the origins of this dates back to the creation of "The Valley," and is attributed to people having a shared experience of working for a tyrant: See How Bad Leadership Helped Launch Silicon ValleyThe horrendous behaviour of #NoThanks along with a "history of tyrannical tendencies" turned many other into advocates. The more they spoke, the more the #VoteYes Scots dug our heels in. Any suggestion that "An Independent Scotland can't be successful" got people wound up to such an extent that;

1) People didn't believe a word Westminster said, hence their desperate 11th hour "Vow" 
2) Westminster politicians couldn't even hold any meetings in public 

Given my interest in culture I thought that the legacy of this #VoteYes campaign would be the best spring board possible for establishing a new nation! All that would be needed now is some momentum.

Crossing the Chasm
The swing in opinion polls was amazing in political terms but, given these conditions, the result and momentum here would not have surprised people familiar with how Tech companies roll out new ideas. 30% of the people in polls saying they'd "VoteYes, suggests that the hard work has been done. The early adopter market was onboard (The tech heads who queue up outside the Apple store for the iPhone6) and progress was being made with the "early majority." Going from the early adopters to the mainstream market is the hardest part for any new product or idea. Better together's poor campaign tactics helped escalate this for #VoteYes.

Once people saw the crowds at the events they wanted to be a part of it. Some of the people who said #NoThanks might have been "Late Majority" and "Laggards." As I state in Friday's "How can we Help" post, the views of the laggards are important... Indeed, if our risk taking "early adopter" ancestors had listened to the people who were more risk averse then the Darien Venture may have been scrapped and maybe there would be no Union today!

Here's Geoffrey Moore explaining how this works...Replace the field with George Square and you can see the Yes Scotland momentum in action:

1979: SNP had a Lone Dancer; 2014 #VoteYes 45% 
So we have the right leadership, a noble cause, a definite purpose, unity with diverse groups and more people converting to #VoteYes because of Better Together's uninspiring and poorly executed message of "NoThanks: we'll stick with things the way they are we get"

A Movement

I got excited about the Yes Scotland movement after my first visit to George Square, because I saw this could achieve something that NO OTHER POLITICAL ORGANISATION IN THE UK COULD! People from every walk of life was sharing the same space and enjoying an atmosphere of hope... and a brighter future.

It really is impossible to stress how diverse the people were from every ethnicity, every age group, people with views across the political spectrum and from different socio-economic backgrounds. It was the kind of diversity and chaos that I have absolutely no doubt that Jane Jacobs would have been delighted at.

My support had EVERYTHING to do with the conditions that the election created because I felt that, if implemented well, it just might facilitate a once in a generation opportunity for change... and I don't mean independence.

On the 15th September I wrote a post that included a personal and painful experience to try to encourage educators to #VoteYes, this post also included some of these ideas I've just discussed.
(NB This was before the election or #The45) 

Indyref & Education: A Class Lesson From MIT and Silicon Valley

A Disappointment
The commute into town on Friday 19th truly was a miserable one, the atmosphere was so somber, I really felt for all the people who had worked so hard and how they must be feeling. Being the eternal optimist, I penned a post which opened with the comment: Is the best yet to come? (See Yes Scotland: How Can we Help)

Later in the evening I saw some 45 icons on Twitter accounts and a hashtag #The45... It would appear that I wasn't alone with the idea. The discussion went on and the hashtag was trending... For hours

But there was a problem, and there remains a problem at the moment as the Tweets fly by. The problem is related to the two things at the top of this post where everything that was great about how #VoteYes was defined: The culture! The shared vision and a noble cause. We can see this when we compare the #VoteYes and #The45 Twitter stream.

Then: #Voteyes
The #VoteYes Twitter stream had become a real highlight of my day because of the sense of purpose, the positivity, the energy, the hope, the images of the events with a carnival atmosphere but everything done with humour... the irreverent Tweets, the cheeky campaigning and the hilarious mock ups. A style of banter that is uniquely Scottish!

Now: #The45
The Tweets today are a bit of a mixed bag, as mixed and varied as you can get! The different groups who were united during #VoteYes are discussing the different directions to take this movement: whether to fight Westminster, kick labour out of Scotland, Boycott the banks/newspapers etc. Someone posted a great Tweet which was something like:

"If we fight people, we'll lose... If we fight for a cause, we'll win"

The difference in the Tweets from #VoteYes last week and #The45 today perhaps demonstrates that Alex Salmonds Leadership was the kind that could, and has, changed the world (BTW This is not easy for someone who has no time for politicians to say, but praise where it's due. More on this in a later post). We get a sense of how much effort must have gone into this campaign by the Yes Scotland team, the scale of the outreach to get many different communities involved. 

But there's a small problem... Alex Salmond, the SNP and Yes Scotland aren't around just now. The day that I wondered "Is Alex Salmond one of those rare Stage 5 Leaders? ...Or is this a world changing movement?" was when I heard someone from the SNP say;

We'll Collaborate with anyone who has Scotland's best interests at heart

I join Community Manager Hangout most weeks during a discussion about "Community Management to help a cause" I asked: How do you get competitors to collaborate? You can see the answer to this from 21:30-27mins via this link: Community Management for a Cause

Be The Change Vs Play Politics
So the SNPs strategy is what experienced community builders recomment. The SNP's comment was also music to my ears because, through doing a series of 5 minute favours for a company that was going out of business, we helped get an entire community rallying round to save the organisation, and remains in business (For more info see Collaborate as if your Company Depended on It)

I have no interest in playing party politics, 
I have no interest in politicians, 
I have no interest in arguing, 
I have no interest in blame.

What I am interested in is making a difference and I am extremely confident that 1.6 million people can implement a lot of the issues around Yes Scotland's ideas for social justice with or without politicians, with or without people who voted for better together. And these changes could take no more than 5 minutes at a time, but make a huge difference.

For example, I already Tweeted out: Instead of criticising the politicians who annoy us... let's give a shout out to those who are doing good work (A difficult thing to find I grant you! ;) ...But even I've found 4-5 during this campaign).

Could this result in the MP getting reelected? Or change the way the child-like MPs in their Westminster playground fight with each other...Oh! Erm I mean Engage...The way they engage with each other?

I know I'm only "1 of the 45" but I'm one of the ones who has no interest in politics, and have quite possibly wrecked my career supporting this whole thing, so it would be good to see some positive change come out of it.

If you want change you are going to have to "Be the Change" ("I know it sound like a cat poster, but it's true" #LegoMovie. Lol. Couldn't resist) ...I don't think we can expect our politicians to implement much change! If you need any evidence of this look no further than all the hoo ha about "The Vow," which may end up being another broken promise and, as irony would have it, because of a lack of collaboration! MPs sure do seem to have a preference for arguing and blame, opposed to collaboration and responsibility. 

#The45 if you want to mirror the behaviour of Westminster, then I'm out! If you want to see change... watch this space. Ideas for "How to be the change you want: 5 mins at a time" to follow.

In the mean time why not 1) Share your best #VoteYes moments especially all those selfies and pics of the many events to recapture that fantastic #VoteYes atmosphere, 2) check out how an idea can change the world...If you get the communication right! The Secret Structure of Presentations 3) Go bring a #BetterTogether friend on board with the right message ie tell them "How things are... and How they could be"

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