My preferred models and strategies for facilitating large-scale change

Jason Yip
7 min readJun 21, 2020

Simultaneous “air and ground war” (but it’s mostly a “ground war”)

The “air war” is establishing and controlling a narrative through inspirational speeches, videos, education sessions, etc. Essentially propaganda.

“Air war” means controlling narrative

The “ground war” is influencing person-by-person but also, more importantly, modifying policies and systems.

“Ground war” means influencing person-by-person behaviour

Many, if not most, people assume change is just an air war and are surprised when they control the narrative and yet nothing actually changes. The goal is not to change stories and symbols. The goal is not even to change minds. The goal is to change behavior.

Controlling narrative is useful only inasmuch as it provides cover to enable policy and system change, which in turn enables behaviour change.

Reference: Scaling Up Excellence

Simultaneous coordinated and opportunistic change strategies (but if I can’t do both, I’ll choose coordinated)

I generally like having two general change strategies happening simultaneously.

Simultaneous, coordinated and opportunistic change strategies

The first strategy is highly coordinated, targeting high leverage initiatives. The second strategy is de-centralised, grassroots, and opportunistic.

The first strategy is intended to create a significant impact, faster, while the second strategy is intended to create long-term engagement and innovation.

The first strategy is about focusing and directing power while the second strategy is about enabling mass power.

If I can’t do both, I will choose a targeted change strategy over a mass change strategy.

Think like a Commander

When you expose apparent experts to unanticipated situations, you’ll notice that some…

Jason Yip

Senior Manager Product Engineering at Grainger. Extreme Programming, Agile, Lean guy. Ex-Spotify, ex-ThoughtWorks, ex-CruiseControl