“If you stand still, your opposition has the power to knock you down, if you keep walking, they have to follow you,” she said. “I’d rather keep walking.”
Who’s the she who is giving us rebels such great advice? Princess Reema Bint Banda al-Saud. I saw her speak at South by Southwest Interactive two weeks ago. You can watch and listen to her keynote here. I confess I attended her talk thinking that it would largely be a public relations activity for Saudi Arabia. I left mighty impressed with the practical rebel instincts of a woman who is taking concrete steps to improve the role of women in Saudi society. It is well worth the listen.
The “Walk don’t Run” part is my riff on what she said. Too often, rebels rush headlong into a change mission, totally psyched by their idea and/or disgusted by the current reality. But as we point out in our book, Rebels at Work: A Handbook for Leading Change from Within, rebels are well-advised to adopt a more measured approach to getting their ideas adopted. Recalibrate your own expectations of immediate and glorious success, which are probably driven more by ego than by common sense. Take your time. But don’t stop.
Another great talk full of ideas for Rebels at Work was by Dan Pink who talked about Fear, Shame, Empathy and More Ways to Change Behavior. His talk is not available yet for viewing, but there’s a handy recap of his major points here. We don’t want to brag or anything, but most of his ideas line up pretty good with our advice to rebels.
- Use good questions.
- Enlist the Crowd.
- Give people an easy way to act.
- Try stuff. Pilots and prototypes are always preferable to messy and noisy failures.
But there’s one suggestion Pink made that frankly Lois and I never thought of.
Make Time to Rhyme – Rhymes increase process fluency. The message just “goes down better.” Think of it like linguistic comfort food.
So now I’m trying to think of some more poetic ways to talk about Rebels at Work. So we could do:
When your boss is a jerk,
You need Rebels at Work.
OK, that’s not very charitable. Let’s be more positive:
To succeed as a Rebel
Good ideas must you peddle
Of Allies have several
But around bureaucrats be careful
Enough from me. No doubt some of you are more talented than I.