Gareth Morgan’s 15% concept

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —January 20, 2005
Filed in Collaboration

In our work to design complexity-based interventions our aim has been to create small initiatives, which in themselves are designed to address specific issues, that when taken together over time have a widespread effect on the broader system (organisation, division, team). Today I discovered Gareth Morgan’s description of essentially the same approach which he calls the 15% concept. Here are a couple of quotes:

Most people have about 15-percent control over their work situations. The other 85 percent rests in the broader context, shaped by the general structures, systems, events and culture in which they operate.

The challenge rests in finding ways of creating transformational change incrementally: By encouraging people to mobilize small but significant “15-percent initiatives” that can snowball in their effects. When guided by a sense of shared vision, the process can tap into the self-organizing capacities of everyone involved.

Gareth illustrates the approach with an example of education reform and the evolving relationship between teachers and parents within a school.

The key point is to get people identifying the 15% initiatives where they can make a difference and the broadscale transformation will emerge.

About  Shawn Callahan

Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:

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