« I should not have lost so much time trying to convince the recalcitrant. » – Jack Welch
The “allies strategy ” is the central concept of sociodynamics. Sociodynamics is a method of driving change, invented and developed by Jean-Christian Fauvet in the 1970s.
Its purpose is to manage the energy deployed by the actors on a change project. This energy can be both positive (it calls it “synergy”) and negative (called “antagonism”). It is not enough to say that a particular actor (or group of actors) is for or against a project. The reality is more complex: it can be for and against both … or neither.
An actor can be both more antagonistic and more synergistic than another: that is, developing both more energy for and more energy against a project. An “ally”, in the sociodynamic sense of the term, is therefore a player injecting more synergy than antagonism.
According to this principle of energy, the strategy of the allies has a double objective :
- In terms of synergy, it aims to increase the synergy of the actors in place and / or the number of synergistic actors.
- In terms of antagonism, it seeks to limit or even reduce antagonism (or the number of antagonistic actors).
The 3 principles
Inventory of actors
First, it involves taking inventory of the actors, and identifying the nature of the energy they inject (or not) into the change. This work is done with the “partner card “. The map allows to visualize the degree of synergy and antagonism of the actors. Often, we realize that if there are eventually opponents, there are also few allies, in any case few declared allies. It must therefore be created, aroused. Allies strategy is fundamentally a move to increase the number of actors putting energy into change.
Then you have to accept a certain amount of antagonism from your allies, that is to say, not wanting, in every respect, the same opinion as you. The important thing is that they inject energy into the project. A large part of the success of the project will depend on the talent and the listening of the pilot of the change, of his capacity to integrate, in the project, what is important for them.
Devote more time to allies than to opponents
Finally, we must devote more time to the allies than to the opponents. Principle a priori of common sense, but often forgotten so strong is the propensity to deal with actors who make noise and to look where it is “enlightened” ( Lamplighter Syndrome). Business news and public reforms are full of examples where change pilots are more concerned with opponents than with allies, with the effect of showing all actors that antagonism is a more profitable strategy than synergy. Devoting time to its allies means associating them with the work, giving them responsibilities, decision-making power, information, recognition, making them work together, mobilizing them, giving them an important role … a word, show that it pays to be synergistic.
It is the allies who make the success of a project, much more surely that the opponents do not fail.
J. C. Fauvet (2004) – L’élan sociodynamique
O. d’Herbemont, B. César (1996) – La stratégie du projet latéral