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sunsetlakeNeatahwanta1In my family, when someone dies, it is accepted that soon two more deaths will follow.

When I married, we were a couple until we had a child and then we started calling ourselves a family once there was three of us.

In many religions — 3 is a recurring number.

In fantasies (stories) there is the Prince (rescuer) — the Princess (victim) — the dragon (bully).

I watched this TED talk on how to start a movement some time ago. It is a 3 minute video that shows how it really takes 3 people to start a movement.

I look at the three lessons from this video:

A leader must be willing to be ridiculed.

The leader must acknowledge his followers.

The acknowledgement and the movement must be made public.

These lessons seem so simple but as I look at the stalled projects I have been involved in —- and working in education that would be a lot — it is so easy to see that one of these was not accepted as truth.

Image6geeseIf I think of one project in particular — a leader spoke of his plans — another person agreed with these ideas — the excitement began to build. I happened to speak to the the leader about similar ideas — he realized that there was at least 3 people who felt the project would work. I became follower #2. The leader acknowledged us as followers but NOT in public. When it came time to acknowledge the followers to others who were joining the movement — I was excluded. Follower #1 was given equal status to the leader in bringing the project to light. I was introduced as someone who was invited to just show up and see what the project was about.

Image1ME002This all comes full circle for me writing about my recent efforts to have meetings about my hometown’s future — be fragrance-free — and my failure to make any headway with building a movement. At the meeting, when I asked for the toxic markers not be used — no one else spoke up and said — “Yeah, I think that’s a great idea”. When I emailed and asked for people to not wear fragrances to the next meeting — the two people who responded did so in private. I acknowledged them but NOT IN PUBLIC. So I now publicly acknowledge Joe and Patti for having my back — for vowing to be fragrance free at the meetings.

As a leader in the fragrance-free issue, I have been willing to take the ridicule but no one has PUBLICLY followed me. I can see now that if one person had said publicly that they would also love a fragrance free policy and then a second — I could see a shift happening. If you’ve watched the video — you’ll understand that it is not the leader who is important to a movement — it is the followers.

oswegolighthouseWhen you’ve joined an organization or business has it made a difference to you if the leader publicly acknowledges your support? Or have you mostly dealt with leaders who believe the spotlight should be on them alone?