What We’re Reading: Creating Contagious Commitment

Creating Contagious Commitment by Andrea Shapiro is the first book I’ve written about in our newsletter that I haven’t enjoyed reading. That fact gave me pause, but the concepts presented were so useful that it’s worth some (electronic) ink to tell you about it.

Shapiro’s work is based on the tipping point theory popularized by Malcolm Gladwell’s 2000 book, The Tipping Point. The basic idea presented is that organizational change is spread by people much in the same way a virus is. Change is not simply implemented because it’s the right thing to do, or the Board has approved the change, or even that it would make your programs more impactful. Change is spread person to person, just like a virus. Once the change is implemented by enough people, the tipping point is reached and the rest of the organization will likely follow suit.

Creating Contagious Change provides the most value by detailing several environmental and inter-personal factors that influence the rate of “infection” and ultimately the success or failure of the change. For those of you looking to move your organization, or simply to implement a new donor management system, checking out Shapiro’s “seven levers of change” will offer some new ways to think about your work.

On the new Third Space Studio scale of Buy It, Borrow It, or Bypass It (inspired by Sound Opinions), I give this a solid Borrow It.


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