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Ladies and gentlemen, at TED
we talk a lot about leadership
and how to make a movement.
So let’s watch a movement happen,
start to finish,
in under three minutes
and dissect some lessons from it.
First, of course you know,
a leader needs the guts
to stand out and be ridiculed.
What he’s doing is so easy to follow.
Here’s his first follower
with a crucial role;
he’s going to show everyone
else how to follow.
Now, notice that the leader
embraces him as an equal.
Now it’s not about the leader anymore;
it’s about them, plural.
Now, there he is calling to his friends.
Now, if you notice that the first follower
is actually an underestimated form
of leadership in itself.
It takes guts to stand out like that.
The first follower is what transforms
a lone nut into a leader.
And here comes a second follower.
Now it’s not a lone nut,
it’s not two nuts —
three is a crowd, and a crowd is news.
So a movement must be public.
It’s important to show
not just the leader, but the followers,
because you find that new followers
emulate the followers, not the leader.
Now, here come two more people,
and immediately after,
three more people.
Now we’ve got momentum.
This is the tipping point.
Now we’ve got a movement.
So, notice that, as more people join in,
it’s less risky.
So those that were sitting
on the fence before
now have no reason not to.
They won’t stand out,
they won’t be ridiculed,
but they will be part
of the in-crowd if they hurry.
So, over the next minute,
you’ll see all of those that prefer
to stick with the crowd
because eventually they would be
ridiculed for not joining in.
And that’s how you make a movement.
But let’s recap some lessons from this.
So first, if you are the type,
like the shirtless dancing guy
that is standing alone,
remember the importance of nurturing
your first few followers as equals
so it’s clearly
about the movement, not you.
Okay, but we might have missed
the real lesson here.
The biggest lesson, if you noticed —
did you catch it? —
is that leadership is over-glorified.
Yes, it was the shirtless guy
who was first,
and he’ll get all the credit,
but it was really the first follower
that transformed the lone nut
into a leader.
So, as we’re told
that we should all be leaders,
that would be really ineffective.
If you really care
about starting a movement,
have the courage to follow
and show others how to follow.
And when you find a lone nut
doing something great,
have the guts to be the first one
to stand up and join in.
And what a perfect place
to do that, at TED.