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The Tripping Point

The Tripping Point

Malcolm Gladwell defines The Tipping Point as the moment ideas hit critical mass and spread like viruses.  We define The Tripping Point as the moment you trip over yourself because you are asking the starters to finish something.

Listen to the Podcast…

More information about The Tipping Point and WHO-DO™

What is The Tipping Point? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tipping_Point

WHO-DO™ Assessment: https://thepeoplecatalysts.com/who-do-assessment-welcome/

The Tripping Point Discussion…

Karla Nelson:  And welcome to the People Catalysts Podcast. Allen Fahden.

Allen Fahden:  Yes. And it’s a beautiful day to trip over yourself.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, well we are going to be talking about The Tripping Point, which a lot of you probably read the book by Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point. We’ve actually brought it up so many times in our podcast, but for the purpose of this podcast, we are going to talk about The Tripping Point, and how to reach The Tipping Point without tripping over yourself. So, for those of you that have read the book, this’ll be a lot of fun. Actually it was really fun, because I read this book originally 15 years ago on an airplane to a conference in San Diego. And it’s just one of those cool books that makes you kind of scratch your head and be like, “Wow, I’ve always kind of experienced the world in a certain way.”

And Malcolm Gladwell really has a unique way of bringing, “Huh, oh, I never thought of that.” And so the book was published in 2000, and really Gladwell, he defines a tipping point as the moment of critical mass, the threshold or the boiling point. And so the whole crux of the book is basically, it fosters the idea that ideas, products, messages, behaviors, all of that spread like viruses do. And so, and Allen, I know what you’re going to say next.

Allen Fahden:  Yeah.

Karla Nelson:  It’s kind of like some other thing we talk about all the time.

Allen Fahden:  Yes, exactly. The good news is that all of this is spread in a predictable way. Because along with this is 110 or 115 years of research into the law of diffusion of innovations and so things go in an orderly fashion. So when he talks about critical mass and the thresholds and the boiling point, you can also describe it in the way of who actually does it, because that’s predictable. So the innovators pick it up first, the early adopters next, that’s 16% of the population together, and there’s early majority, late majority and laggards. And so you can learn a lot from combining Gladwell’s idea with the law of diffusion of innovations and we will get into that.

Karla Nelson:  Which is actually a lot more predictable than a virus.

Allen Fahden:  Yes, absolutely. Imagine a virus that you could find it in exactly the same places at the same time every time. So that’s what we’re talking about, to put that predictability into something that looks pretty random can be very valuable.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah. It reminds me of the quote we were talking about.

Allen Fahden:  Yes. From Arthur Koestler, The Act of Creation, 1961. Creativity is the defeat of habit by originality. And then how do you do originality? Of course, you use your imagination. And so if you want to start a movement, you actually have to create a new habit to replace the old habit. And that’s something that Gladwell does. It doesn’t really tell us how to do, and that’s why we’re here.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, it’s the starter. He’s totally a shaker, you can tell.

Allen Fahden:  He is.

Karla Nelson:  He’s a shaker. And he’s a maven. He makes you think differently about different things, and you could just tell-

Allen Fahden:  Which is great.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, which is awesome. And I love how you put that in creating a movement because I think we’re having to shift to movement marketing and just focusing on the why, right? Simon Sinek. I mean, we’ve been here for a while, but understanding, because the way media is changing and the way you connect with your team and your customer and those that support you is shifting. And so if you want to start a movement, the one thing that I think, like you said, is missing, is that we need you all. We just need you at different times. So understanding that the shaker might start the movement or the mover, right?

And we’ll get into that in a minute.

Allen Fahden:  Yep.

Karla Nelson:  But realizing that has to continue on. And I think that’s why a lot of movements die, because you’ve got to start it, but it’s just like, you have to continue to foster that, and different people are going to foster it at different times. And so I think really embracing that around that movement focus that we’ve been seeing. And I think, honestly think Simon Sinek just started it, what, 10 years ago with this Ted Talk, right? Start With Why. But what Gladwell focuses on are these three groups. And so let’s take some time to break down these three groups because it’s quite interesting, again, to think about who starts a movement-

Allen Fahden:  Yep.

Karla Nelson:  And who finishes a movement. And so the first group that Gladwell talks about in his book are these connectors.

And actually there’s a great book on this, How to be a Power Connector by Judy Robinett, a good friend of ours-

Allen Fahden:  And a wonderful book.

Karla Nelson:  Oh, wonderful book. And she learned how to do this, not being an early adopter. It just creates a little bit more stress for those probably. And just routine. Imagine that. You can turn into any of these by impacting a process on top of it, even though it might not be your natural core nature. But the first group are these connectors. So these are the people in a community who know a lot of people. And they love to make introductions. In the Bay Area, they call them actually nodes. And if you think of a computer, it’s your network hub.

So, and they typically know people from all walks. So regardless if they’re in the news and media or if they’re attorneys or if they’re in real estate or VCs, right? They know all these different people and they love and have this natural gift for bringing people together. And so they can make friends easily, they are really interested in people and what he talks about is this individual knows more than a hundred people, which I started thinking about that, Allen, do you know what? I’m pretty sure I’m up to about 1200 or 15. I mean, I don’t talk to them all every day, but when I looked at this group and his definition, he uses the example of the six degrees of set. He actually has a whole bunch of examples, but the one most people know of really well, is Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. And so, and he talks about how important these people are in the realm of The Tipping Point.

Allen Fahden:  Yeah. In fact, it reminds me a little bit of, do you remember Metcalfe’s law?

Karla Nelson:  Oh, yeah.

Allen Fahden:  It’s the effect of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system. And he goes n square meaning what the nodes actually, that’s what they started calling them, nodes, as far as people, it started with Metcalfe’s law, I believe.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah. That’s interesting. And understanding who these people are while important and of course, you know which core nature of work they likely are. The easy ones, right? The ones that it comes naturally to are the movers.

Allen Fahden:  The movers.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah.

Allen Fahden:  So, go ahead.

Karla Nelson:  Well, and I was just saying, and it’s not that everybody can’t learn how to be a connector, it’s just, they don’t have to try, they kind of come out of the womb doing it, right? Instead of learning a process or a system for it. And so that’s-

Allen Fahden:  And that’s why we call it their core nature.

Karla Nelson:  Mm-hmm (affirmative). And I think that’s important. And so those that it’s natural to, right? We don’t want it exclude others that may have an intention about it. These people just do it because they love it and it’s easy to them. And I think in the book, they really focus so much on the importance and that is important, but that’s important for starting, right?

Allen Fahden:  Yes.

Karla Nelson:  It’s not as important for, and we’ll get to a little bit about what core nature of work that, why movements fail because we put so much focus on the early adopters.

And so the second group that Malcolm Gladwell talks about are the mavens. And so these guys are the information specialists, right? These are the people that, ooh, they always have something new to say, and they always know what’s up and coming, and they love to accumulate knowledge. And what he talks about in the book is, for the marketplace. And I think that just means the new product, new service is what he’s, the new cutting edge, or they always like to call it bleeding edge, right? And they love to share this stuff with other people. And so they’re constantly sharing and trading, and I think he refers to them-

Allen Fahden:  Yes.

Karla Nelson:  In the book as information brokers.

Allen Fahden:  That’s right. And these are most likely shakers, because they’re thinkers, they like to invent new things and they also like to share their ideas on things with everybody. They’re the most eager to share their ideas. And this can often be in the form of information. So, and one of the things I want to point out too, as you’re listening with this is, if you’re wondering about your connection to mover or shaker, whatever, you might be someone who’s a prover for example, but really being into connecting.

But the question here is, does connecting give you energy, or does it drain your energy? So sometimes people do things because they know they’re important or they know a lot about it, but they suffer for it. And that’s how you can tell whether you’re in your core nature or not. When you’re in your core nature, doing these activities energizes you. It doesn’t drain you.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah. And I think that’s a good point too, because with the mavens, you might think that approver, is a information hub and communicator of information, but they like to look the other way, backwards is what I mean. It’s not necessarily the bleeding edge, it’s what’s not going to work with the cutting edge.

Allen Fahden:  Right.

Karla Nelson:  And all the things that they’ve used that are tried and true.

Allen Fahden:  Yep.

Karla Nelson:  So and again, so it’s not like we’re trying to put everybody in a bucket here in the three areas, but I think at the end when we look at the numbers with 110 years of marketing research, we just want to have you understand that the focus on the early adopters is so significant, and that’s what we miss is not capturing then how to wrap it up, right? How to continue it and make whatever it is that you’re doing, an idea, a movement, a purpose, company, whatever it is, get to that point of engaging those later adopters because it’s clear here that again, the third person that they’re talking about are salespeople, right?

So these are the persuaders that Malcolm Gladwell talks about who are charismatic, they have great negotiation skills and they have this trait that goes beyond what they say, right? They are just hyping about whatever it is that they’re doing, and their focus is to engage others to bring them a solution to whatever problem that they have, and it’s natural to them. And as you can see, all those three are likely.

Allen Fahden:  And these are likely movers and shakers as well, the salesman. And a reason for that is, what we’re talking about, it’s a person’s approach to sales. And they’re just people who love to get out there in front of people and have either great ideas or routes toward getting something new done, and they love it, and that’s movers and shakers who sell that way. Now, that doesn’t mean all salesman are movers and shakers, because they’re going to be an information heavy sale or a complex sale can be provers. Most of what you’ve got to do is provide information or guide somebody through a labyrinth of choices to get to the final order. And you’re not going to see too many movers and shakers doing that kind of a sale. And so-

Karla Nelson:  But for the purpose of the book, I think he’s definitely talking about that persuasive, right?

Allen Fahden:  Absolutely.

Karla Nelson:  And I think the point you’re getting to Allen, which I think is critical is, we’re not trying to put everybody in a bucket here with the three different people that he’s talking about, but the type of salesperson he’s talking about in the book is definitely an early adopter-

Allen Fahden:  Yes.

Karla Nelson:  Not somebody who’s giving a complex, heavy sale when somebody basically already made up their decision. They’re more like a order taker and it’s heavy on the detail in moving them through. But for the most part, what he really, truly is looking at in those three groups, the connectors, the mavens and the salespeople, breaks down. He breaks that down, and it’s so funny, he gives this a new name, the law of the few, it’s based off Pareto principle.

Everybody knows the 80/20 principle. And I think it’s funny how people like to just give it a new name, right? And call it their own. But what he’s talking about is that the success of any kind of social, and it’s funny, when you’re talking about something negative like vandalism and crime, you call it an epidemic. When it’s positive, it’s a movement. Did you notice that?

Allen Fahden:  Yeah.

Karla Nelson:  I thought that was hilarious. It’s like, because you can’t have a movement of crime, that would be horrible. It’s an epidemic.

Allen Fahden:  Yeah.

Karla Nelson:  And so in the book, either you’re talking about the epidemic, which is crime, or the movement, right? Which is positive.

But what he breaks this down is, is that that group, those three individuals, that he’s referencing come down to the 80/20 rule, which is 20% of the people are doing 80% of the work. And that principle has been proven over and over again. But I think it’s interesting, because what we’re saying in regards to the early adopters is really critical when you look at that, just based off the law of diffusion of innovations.

Allen Fahden:  Yeah. And it’s interesting because whenever you talk about something, just a principle like the Pareto, the 80/20 rule, is think about this, that 20% that creates 80% of the results wherever you are or whatever phase you’re in, is closely related to the 16%. 20%, 16%, and that is the most extreme movers and shakers. These are in terms of the law of diffusion and innovation.

These extreme movers and shakers are innovators, which is 2.5% of the population. And early adopters, which is 13.5%. these are the people with the inner locus of control so that they march to the beat of their own drummer. So together, they’re are about 16% of the people, not too far from 20% if you’re looking at a whole universe. And this is no accident, because we need us all, all four core natures of work. But when you’re starting something, you’ve got to start it with the starters. And who does that? The 20%, the 16% the most extreme shakers and movers. Those are the ones who start the revolution. Or as they say, never ask a king to start a revolution. You’ve got to have somebody who’s not in power of the status quo to make that change.

These are the early adopters.

Karla Nelson:  Well, and that’s exactly the subway story that they have in the book, right? It’s very similar to how they had that zero tolerance, right?

Allen Fahden:  Absolutely.

Karla Nelson:  So you have an idea, but then you have to get through, and you could probably tell the story.

Allen Fahden:  Yeah.

Karla Nelson:  You’re always, I love listening to your storytelling, Allen.

Allen Fahden:  Oh, You’re so kind. So in New York, some of us remember when you’d go down to the subway and every rail car was covered with graffiti. And it was not particularly artistic graffiti. So basically everybody was taking spray cans and spraying whatever they want to on the subway cars. And it just gave you a kind of a kind of a nasty thought about the whole experience of traveling in the New York subway. So they decided that they would paint over the graffiti at night. And then so every day, and they do this every day, so every day they’d start with a fresh car.

And so, and all the cars were clean every morning. And so the graffiti people came on, sprayed them again, and all their work was gone the next day. And they did it again and again and again. And finally the graffiti artists just said, “Hey, let’s just go somewhere else. This is-

Karla Nelson:  Not working.

Allen Fahden:  They’re just, yeah, it’s not working. They’re just defeating everything we’re doing. It’s like an etch-a-sketch. So creating that as a zero tolerance of painting graffiti on subway cars actually expanded out to relate to the rest of crime. One of the other things they did in the subways was if somebody jumped the gate, they never did anything about it before, but then they put police down there, and they would arrest people who jumped the gate and didn’t pay for their subway rides. And so these things completely started something.

And the key was they repeated it again and again and again. What kind of work is that?

Karla Nelson:  Maker.

Allen Fahden:  Maker work. They love to repeat things, but you have to get all the way through the process to get to that. But the interesting thing that I love that Gladwell said was this all led to a decline in more violent crimes for the whole city. So just starting little minor, little things make a big difference. Minor crimes being thwarted like vandalism.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah. And he actually goes a little deep…

Allen Fahden:  Decline.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, and he goes deeper into that verse and talks about your context. And for the purpose of the podcast, we’re not going to get into that, but any talks about your environment and how that environment is created and how that impacts that by doing that zero tolerance. So you guys can check out the book. And it’s interesting, but the purpose that we’re focusing on is we want you to understand that you have to go all the way through the process to get to that maker work. So for a movement to happen, you have to have the idea, and then you have to get it adopted. But it has to roll into a habit to create the movement longterm.

Because again, there’s The Tipping Point. That’s exactly what the book is talking about. You have to focus on those that are willing to adopt it, and then the pendulum swings. And that’s when it rolls downhill from there.

Allen Fahden:  That’s right. That’s where it’s got all the momentum. And here are a couple of things to think about. One is just a little rule of thumb. Starters, start, finishers finish. So you can’t finish a new movement without the later adopters. You have to have the finishers to finish it. And it’s the same for fixing broken windows. It’s the makers who don’t mind repairing the windows. It’s a maker thing to fix every broken window. Before-

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, that’s a good point. Because that was another story in the book-

Allen Fahden:  Yes.

Karla Nelson:  That was about just, not only the environment, which I talked about for a second context. But then also, every time there was a broken window, they fixed it.

Allen Fahden:  They fixed it.

Karla Nelson:  And then all of a sudden that impacted crime and vandalism.

Allen Fahden:  Yeah. Because nobody would want to be the first one to break a window in a building. But if somebody broke a window and then nobody fixed it for a few days, it’d be like, “Well, nobody cares about broken windows, let’s have at it.”

Karla Nelson:  Yeah. And that’s the context I’m talking about. But for this purpose, what we want to talk about is the actual proactive positive, the movement, not the epidemic, right? I thought that was hilarious-

Allen Fahden:  Yeah.

Karla Nelson:  But it’s so true, right? It’s a movement if it’s positive, it’s epidemic if it’s negative. But the movement of then reducing crime, reducing vandalism, and the idea that was created of saying, “Okay, let’s fix the broken windows.” And then you’ve got to figure out the team associated, how are you going to roll this out? What’s the plan? And then you have to figure out all the stuff that can go wrong with the plan. Can you get it all done? How are we going to,, and I’m going through by the way, shaker mover approver here. And then you have to have the person that goes out every single night or every time there’s a broken window to fix, to do that same process over and over and over again.

Allen Fahden:  And that’s a maker.

Karla Nelson:  Exactly. And that’s really what we’re trying to point out. Great book. We loved The Tipping Point. It was so awesome to read it again-

Allen Fahden:  Yeah.

Karla Nelson:  Because it’s been, gosh, it’s been probably 15 years since I read it. Maybe a little bit longer than that. I remember the seat I was sitting on on Southwest, headed down to San Diego and a business conference, and it was just really super cool. It made me think of another book, Freakonomics that I also read during the same time, which was kind of interesting. We might have to do a review of that one too, Allen.

Allen Fahden:  So when you read the book on the airplane, there was nobody outside spraying graffiti on the airplane.

Karla Nelson:  No, not from Sacramento to-

Allen Fahden:  Yeah.

Karla Nelson:  San Diego. But if there were, then I’d have to create a movement to be able to get that graffiti off the plane.

Allen Fahden:  That’s right. And you wouldn’t be able to create the movement if you ran into The Tripping Point-

Karla Nelson:  Yes.

Allen Fahden:  Because that’s where you trip over yourself because you’re still asking the starters to finish something that their core nature doesn’t want them to do, because they’re not finishers or they haven’t made it appealing enough to the finishers to actually get them to repeat on it over and over and over again. So stay with The Tipping Point, but avoid The Tripping Point.

Karla Nelson:  Yes. And as I have mentioned before, how do you find the early adopters? Well, that’s what our assessment identifies. And we are doing the validation study right now for the initial beta test, and for the time period that we have this open, you are welcome to go to thepeoplecatalysts, and that is plural, because we need you all, just not at the same time, .com. And you can take a assessment that will tell you if you’re a mover, shaker, prover or maker. And so we welcome you to do that, and we welcome any feedback in that regard. And Allen, is there any last words you’d like to add in before we sign off here?

Allen Fahden:  Oh Lee, just a part of a word I have a vowel.

Karla Nelson:  It is no surprise you used to be a standup comedian. You always, you never, know. It’s always a interesting. That’s why I always have to ask you.

Allen Fahden:  Focus on the words “used to be”.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah. Oh, that’s funny. Oh, well, you still, you do your improv. That’s pretty similar.

Allen Fahden:  It’s pretty fun.

Karla Nelson:  It’s just not paid, that’s all.

Allen Fahden:  Yes. Who needs to get paid for doing something you love?

Karla Nelson:  Exactly. And that’s the point, right?

Allen Fahden:  Yes.

Karla Nelson:  That’s the whole point of being a People Catalyst, understanding your core nature of work, and doing what you love. So, until next time, we’ll see you then.

Allen Fahden:  Bye. Bye.

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