The Model

Solid Theoretical Foundations

The Tipping Point Simulation and Workshop are based on the Tipping Point model, first developed by Dr Andrea Shapiro and published within her bestselling book “Creating Contagious Commitment”. Andrea’s work draws on a range of leading change models, including the work of Kotter, Lewin, Bridges, Conner, Weisbord and Rogers as well as many others. 

In addition to drawing on the best of the established and contemporary theories of organisational change The Tipping Point model draws on lessons learned from public health, using the analogy between the spread of epidemics and the spread of ideas. In recent times many of us have learned  more about epidemics than we ever wanted to know. Turning that knowledge on its head, think how powerful it would be if we could turn our change programs into positive epidemic that excite and enthuse everyone who comes into contact with them.

The Tipping Point model was also designed based on Systems Thinking. It therefore it provides a dynamic representation of the way ideas spread within organisations. 

Finally, the model was developed with an appreciative and positive perspective. Leading change is therefore viewed as something to be energised, facilitated and supported rather than something that should or can be imposed. The key implication is the differentiation between seeking to achieve commitment rather that simply chasing compliance. 

The Tipping Point model – An introduction

At the heart of the Tipping Point model lie seven ‘Levers of Change’. These levers provide an invaluable mental model for understanding the way change can be supported and encouraged. The model also defines change in terms of the way individuals’ attitudes develop as they learn about ideas. Four mindsets are defined, namely: Advocates, Incubators, Apothetics and Resistors. 

As people learn about and experience change their attitudes towards what is proposed evolves and they move between the four attitude groups, as indicated in the diagram below. The goal of any change programme therefore is to create an environment that encourages people to move towards becoming Advocates of ideas, and away from feeling Apothetic or Resistant to them.

  • Advocates
    People who recognize the value of the change. They have expertise in the area to be changed, experience with the change, and enthusiasm for it. Thus they are able to explain the value of the change to their colleagues
  • Incubators
    People who know about the change but are not Advocates. With experience and support from leaders they could become Advocates. Without support for the change they might also slip back into Apathetics or become Resisters.
  • Apathetics
    People who are unfamiliar with or uninterested in the change. Perhaps they have not heard of it. Perhaps they think it is unrelated to their job or that, if they ignore it, it will go away
  • Resisters
    People who actively work against the change, either covertly or overtly.

The seven Levers of Change relate to decisions and actions that leaders can take to engage employees in a change and harness the knowledge and enthusiasm of those already engaged. In other words, the levers represent areas that require attention and planning for successful change management.

The Seven Levers of Change

The Seven Levers of Change are:

  • Fostering personal contacts between advocates of the change and others
  • Marketing, communication and training activities to promote awareness
  • Hiring expertise externally
  • Responding to resistance from within the organisation
  • Providing the requisite tools and infrastructure
  • The extent to which leaders lead by example or “walk the talk”
  • Rewarding successes in implementing the change

None of the levers alone are proposed as a “silver bullet”, they all have costs and some have unintended negative consequences. Used properly however they can reinforce each other to create synergy that moves the change forward. There are many examples of specific actions that fit into each lever, which will vary across organisations and changes.

The Tipping Point Model enabled me to see practical applications of new concepts.

Worshop Participant

The discussion with my teammates on the interaction between variables was valuable.

Worshop Participant

The Tipping Point Model – Summary

The Tipping Point model provides a flexible basis for exploring, planning and reviewing change. For every change, we need to carefully evaluate each lever and apply it as needed. This flexibility also means the model transcends cultures and generational changes. Moreover, working in combination the levers can make any important change programme effective, cost-effective and sustainable. 

The Tipping Point model, supported by the simulation and workshop therefore provides a basis for shared understanding, dialogue and the effective leadership of change. The combination of solid theory, engaging workshop and an opportunity to learn through safe exploration via the Tipping Point simulation provides the basis for best Change Management training available anywhere.

The Tipping Point workshop was very beneficial to us as a team.

Worshop Participant