Change Leadership — Secret # 64
Determine Pivots, Multipliers, and Triggers
Life is always at some turning point.
What I Need to Know
In physics, the pivot point is the location around which a force is applied and motion occurs. In change leadership, the pivotal issue is the central issue that determines the direction of change.
In physics, leverage is related to the distance from the pivot point to the place where the force is applied. By moving farther from the pivot point, the same amount of force is essentially multiplied.
Pivots and leverage are closely related because you can change the effective force by either moving the pivot point, or the place where the force is applied. In either case, a small force has disproportionately large effects.
Triggers are the ultimate in disproportionate results. Imagine an ancient medieval catapult with hundreds of pounds of rocks loaded in its basket. And imagine all the power required to pull the catapult down into its “loaded” position. Only a small stick holds the hundreds of pounds of force in place. It takes just the tiniest force to dislodge the stick and unleash all the power stored in the catapult.
What I Need to Do
When you are driving change, a bewildering number of forces are at play. Sometimes it seems there are so many conflicting views, goals, and ideas that you will not get stakeholders to agree on the color of the sky, much less agree on making a significant change. There is an antidote for the chaos, though—look for the pivot points and force multipliers. The key is to find that one pivotal point, or that one lever, that will multiply the forces and tip the scale toward action.
It is said that wealth requires leverage, where one unit of effort produces multiple units of output. Be a wealthy change leader by using force multipliers to leverage change successfully.
Often people and organizations are “fully loaded,” or as Lewin would call it, “in high tension,” with massive forces precariously held in place. The smallest event can trigger the release of all that tension, all those forces. Look for triggers and utilize them as tools for change. But also be careful not to step unwittingly on a trigger—and blow up a land mine in your face.