The contagion effect (we can be heroes…)

Changing oneself is not easy, changing a group’s behavior is complex

Usually we think about transformation from a top-down perspective, change must be accepted, promoted and lead by top management. They believe in it, they act consequently, movement begins. But, there are times when this doesn’t happen or it is not enough. A Bottom-up approach is what it is needed.

But, Why is so difficult to change the way we do things? Why is even more complicated to change a Company’s values (through employees’ behavior)? Because of individual ATTITUDE.

Attitude, is what we bring from home, it’s how do we face life. It can be conservative, aggressive, positive, negative, … many things. Is it possible to trigger the change in your attitude? Of course it is. One I like to explore today is by “contagion”.

“Contagion way” – “Contagion effect”:

  • Patient zero can no longer handle the current situation. It goes against his deepest principles, his/her personal rules. He chooses to stop accepting, tolerating, he chooses to change his attitude.
  • Patient zero always had a “different” attitude. Apparently with crazy ideas, deep believes.

Both patients end up being the one who isn’t like the others. Who goes against the tide. Despite fighting alone, being exposed, knowing they are observed, they keep going. They have a special freedom, the one that is given by consistency.

All of the sudden, another one decides to join patient zero.  To get infected. Now both are exposed. But, they keep going. Patient zero does not have to be a natural leader, he can be an occasional one. That is sufficient.

Do not try to infect everyone the very first day. It will take time. Just add more and more people to your different craziness. This will end up in a big group. That’s when it will become the new normal. This is when the old way will no longer be ok. A change in our attitude, the true transformation.

Act positively, be consistent, do never accept what goes against your principles. Your principles tell who you are, no matter where.

Take a look at this video, it adds movement to the contagion effect:

Leadership – contagious behavior


The more I observe change around me and the motives behind it, the more I like this topic.

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