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Perpetual Movements: 10 Steps to Drive Change for Good

By September 24, 2021April 30th, 2024No Comments

Creating Change

Change is hard. It’s even more challenging to sustain and build on positive change over time.  These 10 steps offer a roadmap for creating and maintaining Perpetual Movements that drive change for good.

1. Highlight the challenge first. Before proposing a solution, create broad awareness of the problem. Build consensus that the status quo is broken and must be changed.

2. Maximize liminal moments. At key life junctures, we’re more receptive to change. These include graduation, marriage, childbirth, career shifts – or even a pandemic.

3. It’s all about stories. From our earliest years, we learn from stories, not pie charts and bar graphs. We’ll remember a compelling anecdote long after we forget facts and figures.

4. Describe how views evolve. Powerful stories chronicle how someone changed their beliefs or behaviors. If we can show how a skeptic turned into an evangelist – and describe what prompted this conversion – other skeptics will take note.

5. Show it, don’t say it. Too many words turn into a great big gray goo. Use the full palette of mediums and technologies to bring the stories to life.

6. Focus on impact, not process. Paint a vivid picture of the promised land we’re trying to reach and how our lives will be better there. Keep highlighting this goal every step of the way.

7. Target the persuadable middle. Look past the hardened opponents to focus on those who are ready to listen and open to change.

8. Amplify influential voices. Those might be faith leaders, trusted professionals, or well-connected community mavens. It’s not about their titles or degrees – it’s about their community profile and influence. Take the time to identify and connect with them and give them the tools and motivation to persuade others.

9. Stay on message. Put time-tested messages on repeat. Even when you start feeling like a touring band playing decades-old hits, stick with the formula that got you this far.

10. Maintain a permanent campaign mindset. Permanent Movements require decades of sustained activity. Those who lose energy or focus are unlikely to make a lasting impact. Awake every day focused on how you can build on the progress.

Eric Anderson Headshot

About the Author:

Eric Anderson (he/him) began his career as a newspaper reporter in Washington, D.C., Hong Kong, and Denver before co-founding SE2 in 1998. He has helped guide marketing and communications campaigns on some of the era’s most pressing issues, from public health to education to the environment. He lives in Englewood, Colorado with his wife, Amber. Together they have four adult children, two dogs, and one cat.

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