The Awareness Tipping Point

Another important pace of change concept is the 'awareness tipping point'. The awareness tipping point is the point at which an otherwise unknown or unobtrusive effort captures the attention of the masses. Controlling the tipping point represents a significant factor in the ability to accomplish real change.

The ideal strategy for many change efforts is to build as much momentum and buy-in as possible before crossing the threshold of critical mass awareness. By limiting communication to selected individuals and moving forward with as much lower-profile planning activities as possible, an effort can build energy and support with reduced organizational resistance. With the groundwork laid and enough momentum, efforts have a better chance of making it through the natural organizational inhibitors of progress.

By delaying the tipping point, an effort's plans are more complete, the right allies have been brought in, risks are better identified, and the time available for others to develop counter-strategies has been minimized. Without more time to develop reasons not to do something, many obstacles that might have otherwise appeared are bypassed.

  Staying ‘below the radar’ longer helps efforts build momentum without triggering material levels of resistance.

Staying ‘below the radar’ longer helps efforts build momentum without triggering material levels of resistance.

Although many efforts have natural 'quick wins', individuals must fully assess their desirability relative to 'tipping one's hand' too early. Quick wins do help establish momentum and gain broader buy-in, but their early visibility is sometimes a negative to the accomplishment of longer term change efforts. In addition, any early visible issues encountered will likely be used as ammunition by detractors against more substantive efforts. This is not to imply quick wins should never be taken advantage of. However individuals need to think through them like a chess player thinks about future moves. An early strike may ultimately reveal a strategy too soon and leave key pieces vulnerable and out of place.