Change, Values, Purpose, Leadership, Movements




What does it take to create and sustain transformational change? We’ll look at that in our Thought of the Day. And in our interview segment, we’ll have a discussion with the author of a magnificent book on that very topic. That and more on today’s show.


Bob’s Thought of the Day


We’ll explore:


  • Why we must never stop looking for ways to better the world.
  • What it takes to do so: creating a plan, executing that plan, and implementing the correct strategies and tactics.


Interview with Greg Satell


You’ll discover:


  • Lessons about creating transformational change from two movements: one that failed (Occupy Wall St.), and one that succeeded (Otpor).
  • The importance of using humor to dispel tension.
  • Why you must reach out to those outside your movement, and welcome those who wish to join you.
  • A key for creating impact: small groups loosely connected, united by a shared purpose.
  • That violence doesn’t work in terms of winning over the masses..
  • What we can learn from two of the most notable transformational changes in modern history, Mahatma Gandhi’s leading of the Indian independence movement, and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s leading of the civil rights movement. 
  • The immense, game-changing importance of communicating shared values. 


10 Principles for Transformational Change 


  1. Revolutions don’t begin with a slogan. They begin with a cause. The vision always needs to be rooted in solving problems people genuinely care about. That’s why you can’t bribe or coerce change. Once you start trying to engineer change through incentives, you are signaling that this is a change that people don’t really want to make. 


  1. Transformation fails because people oppose it, not because people don’t understand it. For any significant change, there are going to be some people who aren’t going to like it and they are going to undermine it in ways that are dishonest, underhanded, and deceptive. That is your primary design constraint. Change of any kind threatens the status quo, which never yields its power gracefully. 


  1. Be explicit about your values. Values represent constraints and constraints bring meaning and credibility. A movement without values is nothing more than a mob. 


  1. Resist the urge to engage those who attack and undermine you. In fact, as a general rule, you should avoid them until you have gained significant momentum. It will only frustrate you and slow you down. 


  1. Focus on building local majorities. You want to be continually expanding your majorities within communities and clusters. When you go outside your majority, however, you get pushback. Stay on the inside pushing out. 


  1. Shift from differentiating values to shared values. Differentiating values are what make people passionate about an idea, but shared values create entry points for people to join your cause. You overcome your opposition by listening and identifying shared values in what they say that can be leveraged to attract others to your cause. 


  1. Mobilize people to influence institutions. Every action has a purpose. You are always mobilizing someone to influence something. For everything you do, you ask who are we mobilizing and to influence what? 


  1. Scale change through empowerment. Instead of trying to get people to do what you want, find people who want what you want and give them resources to help them take action. It is through taking action, not taking orders, that people take ownership of the movement and make it their own. 


  1. Survive victory. The victory phase is the most dangerous phase. You need to think about how to “survive victory” from the start. It’s not enough to make a point, you have to want to make a difference. 


  1. Transformation is always a journey, never a particular destination. The most important thing you can do to bring change about is simply to get started. If not now, when? If not you, who? 

Click to Tweet


  • “The first step to building a platform for change is making people feel comfortable.” Greg Satell @Digitaltonto #change
  • On this episode, discover a key element for creating change and impact: “Small groups, loosely connected, but united by a shared purpose.” @Digitaltonto #purpose
  • “You get to the shared values by listening to your most ardent opponents.” Greg Satell @Digitaltonto #values


Interview Links

Cascades: How to Create a Movement that Drives Transformational Change by Greg Satell

Mapping Innovation: A Playbook for Navigating a Disruptive Age by Greg Satell

Greg’s Speaking page

Greg’s Resources

Connect with Greg on LinkedIn

Connect with Greg on Facebook

Follow Greg on Twitter

Greg’s YouTube channel




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