Derek Sivers on The Importance of the First Follower: “You Must Be Easy to Follow.”

Metaphor: it leads us where we need to go.  Check out this million-viewed Ted Talk from Derek Silvers, if you haven’t already, analyzing creative followership by watching dancers on a recreational hillside! Here’s what he said…

Here’s a transcript from Derek Siver’s Ted Talk, the transcript (and video) on his website, in case you prefer to read than click and watch!

“A leader needs the guts to stand alone and look ridiculous. But what he’s doing is so simple, it’s almost instructional. This is key. You must be easy to follow!

Now comes the first follower with a crucial role: he publicly shows everyone how to follow. Notice the leader embraces him as an equal, so it’s not about the leader anymore – it’s about them, plural. Notice he’s calling to his friends to join in. It takes guts to be a first follower! You stand out and brave ridicule, yourself. Being a first follower is an under-appreciated form of leadership. The first follower transforms a lone nut into a leader. If the leader is the flint, the first follower is the spark that makes the fire.

The 2nd follower is a turning point: it’s proof the first has done well. Now it’s not a lone nut, and it’s not two nuts. Three is a crowd and a crowd is news.

A movement must be public. Make sure outsiders see more than just the leader. Everyone needs to see the followers, because new followers emulate followers – not the leader.

Now here come 2 more, then 3 more. Now we’ve got momentum. This is the tipping point! Now we’ve got a movement!”

LEADERSHIP IS OVERGLORIFIED — instead of leading, “find a lone nut” and “courageously follow.” That’s a wonderful kind of freedom for meaningful action, for sustainable change in social movements!

So are you the lone nut or a creative follower today? Have you experienced this momentum, or is it just a lovely idea? Inquiring minds want to know!

2 comments

  1. that’s truly inspired, and beautifully, idiotically simple. sometimes smart folks make things sooo complicated. Be easy to follow. and fun, I might add.

    Like

  2. […] vision that excites our followers to dance with us is not the vision of certainty. It’s a vision of expansion, imaginative possibility. Vision […]

    Like

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