With all of the news hype about our “Government shutdown” lately in the news, I have been very interested in seeing the relationship between how individuals act by themselves, and how a group of people act when they are together. More specifically, which is easier to affect? For us marketing people, affecting people is our job–so it’s important to know how this works!
We often think of groups of people as these large, slow, ambiguous beings that take lots of motivation to get to do anything. That’s because changing the whole group does take energy, but some groups respond to changes faster than others. Why? I have found that changing the group momentum is all about changing the momentum of the people with the most influence within that group. The question becomes not so much about how you affect people, but who.
Here’s an interesting video I found that shows 32 metronomes started at random times that end up syncing up. I think this video not only shows the power of group momentum how much influence each metronome has on the group.
This experiment has these metronomes lined up on a grid, and having about the same amount of “effect” on each other. It takes about 2 minutes for half of the group to do the same thing, and by 3 minutes they are all together. It’s amazing how they all “want” to do the same thing, and how the two metronomes in the corner affected the entire group.
Here’s another clip from Bug’s Life that talks about what a benefit–or threat–one individual can have over your group:
Key Take-Aways about group momentum:
- Never under-estimate the power of what one person can do (for good or bad!)
- People want to be in “sync”
- Change the right people–change the group