All great movements follow a general pattern. They begin with the Three, spread to the Twelve, take root with the Hundred, and ignite to change their world.
We like to tell stories about the one man or woman who changed the world. We focus on Steve Jobs at Apple, for example. He did have great impact. But he didn’t do it alone.
Steve Jobs used the computer that Steve Wozniak invented (Apple 2) to start a company. And then he had to build a core team to produce the first Mac (remember, Jobs didn’t actually code or manufacture anything, he just cast vision for those who did).
In fact, you can do this for any story of great success, with a little effort. Of course, at this point, you’re smart enough to notice that the specific numbers aren’t always the same. It may be Two or Four at first (rather than always Three), followed by Ten or Fifteen…I think you get the idea. Three, Twelve, and Hundred are general ranges, not hard rules.
I’m not saying the one leader didn’t have a crucial role to play. I’m not saying Jobs doesn’t deserve some credit. I’m saying that by himself his ideas wouldn’t have changed the world. It was when his “Three” formed that he could then reach his Twelve. It was the work of the Twelve (the first Mac team) that enabled the formation of the Hundred (the Apple company at large). And it was the Hundred who directly changed the world.
You want to be successful? You want to go far in business, art, changing a community, whatever…don’t try to go from your idea straight to the masses. Build in layers.
Who is your Three (or Two or Four)? Find them first. They’re your partners. Your co-creators. They not only “get it”, they help develop whatever you’re trying to do. Can you write their names down? After reading this, would they put themselves in this category, too? If it’s not that explicit, work on solidifying this before moving on.
Who are your Twelve? They’re the people who prove that it can be replicated beyond the founders. They’re the first to fully adopt and turn rough drafts from the founders into practical, polished reality.
How will your recruit and empower your Hundred?This is your first fan base. They’re raving fans who buy into the vision as if they were there from the beginning. The passion of these early adopters is what takes your movement viral, where it takes on a life of it’s own.
This concept first came to me through the excellent book: Culture Making by Andy Crouch. Check it out at: http://www.amazon.com/Culture-Making-Recovering-Creative-Calling/dp/0830833943/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1338830639&sr=8-1