Monday, November 14, 2011

How Charisma Could Help Occupy Atlanta and Other Protestors Accomplish Their Goals

To bring about fundamental changes within an industry requires a few rules of engagement:

1. Choose a leader who has compelling speaking skills and can articulate a vision that even opponents can respect. Protestors must be media conscious in selecting a leader who speaks with passion and uses imagery and logic to make a case for the mission. Opponents of protestors will listen and modify behavior if they feel a charismatic leader is a threat to their interests.

2. Create an “Angel vs. Villain” storyline. If financial institutions are the villains, protestors should protest the actual locations of financial institutions or affiliates. For protestors to attack public parks causing destruction where tax payers are on the hook produces enemies. Protestors should use the playbook of historical movements. By updating and replicating the success of past demonstrations shows knowledge of history that is progressive and applicable to current organizational needs.

3. Monetize the organization as well as the event. The perpetuity of a crusade necessitates a nexus between grass roots support and long term financial sustainability. Any organization that does not have a financial and marketing component to its operations is doomed for failure.

4. Begin as a fringe organization, but ultimately become mainstream. Americans typically are socially liberal and fiscally conservative. Consequently, a movement that does not take on some of the characteristics of established institutions will be dismissed as a passing fancy. Protestors, no matter how committed, will not gain credibility if they do not professionalize the organization and the movement.

Charismatic leaders are effective at embodying the message and mission of a crusade as well as creating a detailed strategy. Converse to the idea of charismatic leaders being visionaries, they are excellent strategists in meeting the internal needs of protestors and the general public. Occupy protestors will fail if a leader does not emerge with the star appeal of a Barack Obama and the marketing wisdom of a Steve Jobs.

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