I was listening to the radio on a long drive this weekend, and a very interesting interview was taking place on CNN. The host was talking about a horrific crime that took place aboard a crowded NYC subway train in broad daylight in front of dozens of witnesses who all chose not to intervene and save another man’s life. The host introduced a social psychologist who explained that these on-lookers were not cowards or apathetic, but they were “suffering” from a sort of crowd mentality that made them more than SIGNIFICANTLY less likely to take action…simply by being part of a large crowd of strangers. Then she went on to discuss how if even one person had stood up and taken action, the entire crowd would have been FAR more likely to have stepped in.
The entire conversation was fascinating. The psychologist explained that while many of us would like to THINK (and probably would even SWEAR) that we’d have taken action in that scenario, the overwhelming instinct and human psychology involved would have made it quite unlikely. It got me thinking about the work we all do in the Organization Management industry and what this effect might translate to for us.
How many issues have come up where people VERY close to the situation say “Someone else will take care of that…” or “Boy…that’s TERRIBLE! I sure hope someone is working to fix THAT…”. In Associations and Chamber of Commerce around the world, the “SOMEONE” that others is waiting for is US. We have to be pro-active in protecting those around us, our members and those in the communities and industries we serve. Someone has to step up and fight the fights…right the wrongs…battle the giants that others can’t or won’t by their very nature.
This can all seem somewhat overwhelming, but there was a moment during the interview that energized me. Remember when the expert said “…if even one person had stood up and taken action, the entire crowd would have been FAR more likely to have stepped in…”? That’s the takeaway I won’t you to leave this post with. If you…your organization under YOUR leadership…will simply let people see you standing up and doing the “right thing”, they will stand up with you. The will stand behind you. They will stand beside you. They will join you on the battlefield. It reminds me of a video I once saw on YouTube. DO NOT PASS UP THIS LINK…CLICK HERE to see this brilliant video on “Creating a Movement”. While the video really talks about the FIRST FOLLOWER as the lynch pin, it takes the first “lone nut” standing up to get that FIRST FOLLOWER to…well…follow.
Will you take action today? Will you stand up and do what needs to be done…right the wrong…fight the fight? It takes action, but help is right around the corner, hiding in plain sight, waiting for a LEADER.
Be that leader for your community and your industry today, and then COMMENT BELOW and tell us what action you took.
Now go be GREAT.