There are two kinds of leaders in this clip: the movement maker, and the leader-follower.
Watch a movement happen, start to finish, in under 3 minutes, and take notes:
A movement maker needs the guts to stand alone and look ridiculous. But what he’s doing is so simple making him easy to mimic.
LESSON 1: Being easy to mimic means you are naturally instructional. This is key. You must be easy to follow!
Soon comes the first follower with a crucial role: he publicly shows everyone how to be a good follower. Notice the movement-maker embraces him as an equal. It’s not about just him anymore — it’s about them, plural. Notice the leader-follower calling to his friends to join in.
LESSON 2: It takes guts to be a first follower! You stand out and brave ridicule, yourself. Being a first follower is an under-appreciated form of leadership. The first follower provides legitimacy. If the leader is the flint, the first follower is the spark that makes the fire.
LESSON 3: The second follower is the turning point, providing proof the first has done well. It’s not about a lone wolf or even two wolves. One more and three is a crowd. A crowd is news.
A movement must be public. Make sure outsiders see more than just the leader. Everyone needs to see the followers because new followers emulate followers — not the leader. Now here come two more, then three more. Now we’ve got momentum. This is the tipping point! Now we’ve got a movement!
LESSON 4: As more people jump in, it’s no longer risky. If they were on the fence before, there’s no reason not to join now. They won’t be ridiculed. They won’t stand out. They will be part of the in-crowd if they hurry. Over the next minute, you’ll see the rest who prefer to be part of the crowd, because eventually they’d be ridiculed for not joining.
And ladies and gentlemen that is how a movement is made!
Be easy to follow. Keep your message simple.
Nurture your first few followers as equals, making everything clearly about the movement, not you.
Be public and inclusive.
But the biggest lesson here — did you catch it? Leadership is over-glorified. Yes it started with the shirtless guy, and he’ll get all the credit, but you saw what really happened: It was the first follower that transformed a lone wolf into a leader of a pack. There is no movement without the first follower.
We’re told we all need to be leaders, but that would be really ineffective.
The best way to make a movement, if you really care, is to courageously follow and show others how to follow.
When you find a lone wolf doing something great, have the guts to be the first person to stand up and join in.
A good read related to this:
General McChrystal’s Failure of Followership, Barbara Kellerman