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Q4 Linda: "change agents" competition for the same audience

 
Dmitry Melnik
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Linda,

how does your book cover situations where multiple "change agents" compete for the same target audience, promoting conflicting targets for the process of change? Especially if the agents use the same set of patterns described in your book. Is there any pattern which would help one of them win? Thanks.
 
Lasse Koskela
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If the two ideas are being promoted with the same techniques (catalog of patterns, for example), it's probably down to something that's out of your control. What I'm trying to say is that I doubt there's any heuristics like "External Validation beats Smell of Success". In the end, every situation is different. Starting from the people involved.
 
Linda Rising
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Wow! What an interesting question!

If we assume:

(1) equal use of the patterns
(2) same target audience
(3) but conflicting solutions

then, the one who uses the patterns "best" will win.

Here's what I mean by that. Let's start with the "first" pattern in the book, Evangelist. This pattern name has a religious flavor and that's intentional because to be a successful change agent, you have to believe in your idea, you have to believe in yourself, and you have to believe in the people you are trying to influence.

We can all "try" to use this pattern, but some will be more successful than others. There is data, for example, that shows we are influenced more by attractive, charismatic individuals. If one Evangelist is a dull speaker who doesn't "seem" to care about me and my problems, while the other Evangelist is outgoing and sympathetic, then I am likely to be persuaded more by the second than the first.

The scary thing about the patterns, the experimental data, and the genetic hardwiring underlying these principles is that....our decision-making has little or nothing to do with the quality of the ideas! I can remember how surprised I was when I first uncovered that! The influence of charismatic salesmen, the influence of food, the influence of "big names," the influence of peer pressure, the influence of authority, are all more important to us than the idea itself.

It's interesting to see how the current political situation operates. Look at how people in the U.S. are making a very important decision: who will be the next president of the country. What influences them?

I hope that many readers in this forum will understand this message. It is very important. Being aware of these influence principles can help you in your own decision making. You can't avoid being influenced, but you can be more alert (although it takes energy) in your own life.
 
Ilja Preuss
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If they've both read the the book, one likely outcome would be that they join forces and together promote a "best of both worlds breed" of their ideas, so that all win!
 
Linda Rising
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I like Ilja's proposal :-)!

Thanks!
 
Dmitry Melnik
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the one who uses the patterns "best" will win

Does it really mean that an agent should not be monitoring activities of other agents competing with her? and planning her own actions accordingly? Is the target audience the only point of focus for an agent?

The book might be missing a couple of patterns which would work better in competitive situations, right?
 
Dmitry Melnik
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If they've both read the the book, one likely outcome would be that they join forces and together promote a "best of both worlds breed" of their ideas, so that all win!

It would be one, but not the only one possible outcome
 
Linda Rising
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Since patterns and pattern languages are living things, that is, they continue to "grow" and "change" as they are used, I suspect there are several "missing" patterns that we will discover along the way :-)!

What you might be talking about is another, separate topic for patterns that have to do with collaboration. There is a group of pattern writers (I am one of them) who are working on this).

I believe that the book contains enough to get started. The patterns are for "introducing" new ideas. There is a pattern called Involve Everyone, that suggests that anyone can contribute to the introduction process. Since no change agent ever has all the answers, it's good to bring in other points of view, including those of a would-be competitor. You could Piggyback off each other's efforts or give a Brown Bag or Hometown story together. You could arrange pilots or experiments for a Trial Run to Just Do It and learn the benefits and risks of all the approaches.

Even though the book is finished, we know that the patterns are not and we still continue to collect stories or Known Uses and to share what we learn with the rest of the community. This is certainly an area worth investigating. Thanks for the insight!
 
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