There is something powerful about collective energy. It is the reason we love to go to live concerts in the summer. The beer is awful, the sound system sucks, but the sensation of being swept away with thousands of other people to the tune of a favorite song is magical. While concerts are lovely for the soul, the raw power of revolution and collective energy is all over the news right now -- and changing the world as we know it in a matter of days instead of years.
The little spark of political uprising in Tunisia spurned the "Revolution 2.0" of Egypt, and is now raging with the current surge to bring down Gaddafi. Union workers are standing up, rallies on state capitol steps are supporting the causes from other states. Is there a call in you to join a rising tide?
What is the magic behind creating a movement? Michelle Price, a colleague of mine, shared a gem of a video that offers a graduate level course in leadership by simply observing a mundane scene from a summer day in a park. One guy starts dancing, and it becomes a lesson in how to create a movement in three minutes from start to finish -- starting with one lone nut doing a jig, and evolving into a full-fledged Woodstock style jam session.
Essentially, a movement rerquires four distinct profiles. Let's check them out, and see if you recognize yourself in any of the categories.
The Leader has the original idea, the driving passion and the guts to stand alone and look ridiculous. In this case, the leader would never have dreamed the entire park would shortly be joining him -- he just felt like dancing! If a calling is within you, dance! Not answering the call is a much greater tragedy. The world needs more "lone nuts" who dare to stand up and try something new. Of course, lone nuts have to realize that most people have no idea what they are talking about, and are not going to follow them directly -- not yet, that is.
The Lone Follower, after watching the crazy dude at the park flapping around like a chicken, is the second guy who comes along and starts dancing, too. He hears the call, gets the vision and is compelled to bring it to the world. With joy, the leader welcomes him in, and opens up space as an equal. The Lone Follower is truly the most under-appreciated role in leadership. He validates the leader's vision, and offers a bridge for the world to follow. If the leader is willing to work in partnership, magic is right around the corner.
The Second Follower is the Pied Piper of the masses, the "connector" or the "sales guy" who knows how to get the message out and make it a party! As soon as the third guy starts shaking his booty and flapping his arms, we have a "happening." The second follower officially begins the movement and is the honey for the bees. The masses want to follow a trend, not start one, and the second follower is the every day Joe. He is the one the masses trust is "just like them" and makes it safe to jump in.
Even though the lone nut leader has been flapping his arms all along, it was too risky for the masses to jump in. New followers will more readily emulate every day folk who show that there is no reason to stay on the fence any longer -- dancing is fun! Most people do not want to stand out and risk being ridiculed, and any good movement must remember this.
The Snooze-or-Lose Follower is a person who still doesn't have a cell phone, and is always the last one to climb on board a new movement or trend. Eventually, the last people at the park sitting around and watching look like wall flower dorks if they don't join the party. The snooze-or-lose followers will step in, just at the point when there is a greater risk not to participate. I am a total snooze-or-lose follower when it comes to Twitter. As I wrote in a previous post, the blogging community is a movement that rocks -- but you better have your social networking manners!
So, dear HuffPost readers, are you a lone nut, a lone follower, a second follower/connector or a snooze-or-lose follower? Each has a most important role to play. How does it feel when you are asked to play a different role than you are accustomed to? How is the collective energy of the moment affecting you? I would love to hear in the comment box below.
This coming March, a movement is happening to honor the past one hundred years of women's growth for International Women's Day on March 8th. Madeleine Marentette, founder of Grail Springs Spa and Retreat Center, decided to dance her own jig in a park and host a conference call-style event that is free to the public, called "100 Women of Destiny: From Suffragette to Social Networker." She is offering a platform to have intimate conversations with thought leaders from Marianne Williamson to London's Secret Millionaire, and a live feed with women leaders in Mombasa, Kenya.
Check it out, and I will be reflecting on the past 100 years of milestones in the next few blogs. For weekly updates of this post, click on 'Become a Fan' at the top, or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.