The Women’s Marches that have happened across the country have been a visible and powerful show of solidarity, but the underlying purpose of them is to stimulate social change. The organizers in Minnesota took steps to make it easier for participants to stay engaged after the March concluded by providing a list of 44 very specific action steps in three areas: Study Up, Show Up and Speak Up.

I have included the list here in the event you wish to increase your own activism, but even if you are not so inclined, there are two key lessons you can learn from how the March organizers structured their efforts to help those marching make a difference.

Organizers enhanced the likelihood of people following through by utilizing two tactics: 1) the action steps were printed on an 11×17 piece of paper. The information would have easily fit on a regular-sized sheet, but that would have made it much easier to “toss on the pile” and for it to get lost among other papers at home; 2) they asked people to make a commitment of what they would do – in the next 30 days – and then sign it. People are often well-intentioned but translating the desire into action is best done with specificity and concrete steps. It is a very different thing to sign your name under the statement “Today I will commit to becoming a Women’s March Minnesota citizen activist. In addition to my commitments [checked] above, I commit to (fill in the blank) in the next 30 days!”

Think of the kind of change you are trying to inspire and ask yourself if you have created a specific infrastructure around it that facilitates further action. Have you handed out a list for follow-up at your company-wide meeting or retreat? Do you provide specific examples of desired new behaviors in your organization’s newsletter? Have you asked people to commit to a specific action rather than relying on general goodwill or the translation of your intent?

Ensure that you put energy into outlining concrete next steps so you obsolete the need to march steps on concrete in the future.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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