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The Importance of Following

By Peter Lloyd

If you feel passionate enough about something to want to start a movement, you might want to consider a less demanding alternative. Rather than create the movement, you might want to find one you can embrace and jump in as it’s first follower. It’s a less demanding role, slightly more secure, and according to Derek Sivers, a more important role than that of the leader.

Derek Sivers has narrated a video that challenges the preeminent importance of the lone leader. More important than the leader, says Sivers, is the first follower. This from the founder of CD Baby, which Sivers started by accident while doing what he loved—making music. After earning millions, he donated CD Baby to charity.

So I’m ready to listen to this accidental entrepreneur and former circus clown as he narrates a short video First Follower: Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy:

Let’s review the insights Derek Sivers has teased out of this amateur video. If you want to lead a movement, keep these three principles in mind:

  1. Make your movement easy to follow
  2. Embrace your first follower as an equal
  3. Remember, it’s about the movement not about you

Inventors, innovators, and all sorts of creative leaders have always relied on followers and a following. And there would be no inventions, innovations, or creative work without the individual creative passion that drives great groundbreakers from Edison to the first dancer in the video. But without followers to take up causes and jump on bandwagons, the lone leaders would languish.

There comes a point, as the video illustrates, when not following leaves you on the outside looking in. When that happens, it’s time for a new leader and another first follower.

Peter Lloyd is co-creator with Stephen Grossman of Animal Crackers, the breakthrough problem-solving tool designed to crack your toughest problems.
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