Jonathan Fields grew a successful business in one of the most challenging times in New York history. The day before 9/11, Jonathan signed a lease for a yoga studio in Manhattan. In the face of uncertainty, not only did the business survive, but it grew to several studio locations all over the city within the next few years.
Driven by the need to understand why some people act in the face of uncertainty and others don’t, Jonathan began to study. No matter what’s going on, how do you go to your place of genius and embrace your potential? The answers, he found in the work of Gene Sharp…the architect of every political revolution in the past 30 years.
He wondered if he could apply the principles of non-violent revolution to business. The answer…Yes and he laid out a roadmap so you can do it to.
Here’s the 18-point plan:
- Who is Your Revolution Serving: Determine who is in need and who you need to rally. It may not be the same people. Pencils of Promise exists to create schools in Africa. However the African children aren’t interested in creating the revolution…hipsters in Brooklyn are.
- Identify a Shared Pain: This type of pain binds people together and moves them to create something extraordinary. What type of pain are they feeling? Take the fitness industry for example. 85% of adults don’t join a gym because they are intimidated, terrified, bored, alienated etc. Tap into those feelings.
- Identify Your Dictator: Every revolution needs an enemy. What’s the source of the pain? Instead of a person, it may be an institution or an entire industry. Do the words Monsanto or GMO ring a bell? There’s been a major food revolution going on the past few years. And the labeling makes it easier for revolutionaries to determine who’s for or against them.
- Pick a Leader: You need a face for the cause. Here are some things to note. It doesn’t have to be your face. The person who leads can do it from the side or behind. Being an extravert at the forefront is not required. However, every leader needs these traits:
- Driven to Serve
- One of Us (Felt the Pain Him or Herself)
- Find or Create an Inciting Incident: There must be a pattern interrupt. This event sets things in motion. It can be in the form of a documentary, file, online video or manifesto. Remember your incident may be different from theirs! Be aware.
- What Are You Moving Away From: Connect the shared pain to the dictator. Build your rally cry. “We won’t take it anymore.” Once you get to this state…Keep Going!
- ID Unifying Beliefs: Don’t make people work to understand your values and beliefs. State what you believe clearly. Turn it into a creed or mission statement. Shared beliefs bind tribes. Isolation is one of the biggest problems the humans face. If you can create community, bringing people together, you have won. Soul Cycle has done this beautifully. Their creed is painted right on the wall when you come in. In a world where there’s tons of gyms that all offer cycling…people go out of their way to pay $35 a class at soul cycle. They completely sell out seats every week. Their revenues are through the roof. It’s unprecedented. They aren’t selling cycling. They are selling belonging.
- What Are You Moving People Toward? Once you tear down the institution, what will you build in its place? If it’s BIG, your tribe will help you build it. Make sure it’s organic and relevant. In other words, don’t behave like an icky marketer. You’ll be viewed as opportunistic and a predator.
- Build Your Story: Define your Hero’s Journey. If you’re not familiar with Joseph Campbell’s work, which lays all this out, then do so. It’s a must.
- Craft Your Manifesto: This brings together all of the foundational and messaging elements. Move Away + Beliefs + Move Toward + CTA. The Call to Action can be a simple Join me to make this happen. Choose your format. Remember there are several to choose from:
- Digital, print, video or audio
- Email or mail
Look up Jonathan’s Fire Fly Manifesto as an example.
- Define the Path: What do you want people to do. There are 2 ways: Transactional or Sustained. Transactional is a short, one-time deal. Usually with a single and immediate outcome. You either want them to consume, buy or evangelize. Sustained means effort over time. Focus on the big purpose. It’s really hard to get people to keep taking action. So in this case, the community becomes critical.
- Deepen the Tribe Mentality: Create your own symbology and language. Jonathan has custom beaded bracelets for students who graduate from certain programs. If they were to see each other wearing the bracelets, it would create an immediate bond. The Nerdfighters is another great example. Brothers John and Hank Greene created a whole movement around being a nerd. Their motto: DFTBA (Don’t Forget to Be Awesome).
- Assemble Your Torchbearers: In the words of Drake…Who are your “Day Ones.” People who have been down with you from the beginning. Gather your true believers who will stand for the cause.
- ID Key Resources and Allies:
- Social Capital
- Key Influencers
Put the proper pieces in place.
- Surround the Launch: Identify and tap into channels your followers already use. Pick a home base for core messaging then use multiple channels for exposure. Social technology equals exponential word of mouth. Word travels farther and faster than ever before. Think of the power of celebrity. Use this to your advantage.
- Mechanisms and Milestones: Create clear milestones for your tribe to work toward. Gamify behavior that benefits the cause. In other words create levels that reward them for taking more action.
- Design for Contagion: Unlike disease, you want this to virally spread from one person to another. Appeal to their emotions. Create triggers. For WEN Hair Care, the creator so brilliantly pointed out, “When it foams, it strips.” Meaning when shampoo foams, it strips your hair. So every time you use any shampoo other than WEN, you are triggered, knowing your hair is being stripped at that moment. Pretty powerful. Make it observable. This is where the symbology and language comes in. Nerdfighters has their own brand of t-shirts with the name and a weird hand gesture that only the geeks understand. Use stories.
- Ultimate Structural Goal…Create a Tipping Point so the revolution takes on a life of its own.
There’s no doubt about it. When you learn and master the core elements of non-violent revolution you will serve more people on a deeper level. Your reach will go farther and faster. And you will empower others to rise to higher potential.
So going beyond just building a business and making money, give people something to believe in. Give them something to belong to. If you want to learn more about this, email [email protected]. Type Freedym Rev in the subject line. Jonathan’s team will send you a no strings attached treat!