Best Partners: First Followers

This week, I was introduced to the concept of First Followers, for the first time.

In essence, a leader may look ridiculous to the general public but when the first person has the courage to step forward to give social proof that the leader has something worth following, that first follower turns a leader’s ideas into a movement. The concept is easy to understand in this YouTube video on First Followers,but it gives me reason to think how this concept has played out in my various work projects.

My best first followers–and my best partnerships in the work world–have been with people who outranked me.   It may seem that a first follower would be a highly respected subordinate, but for me, it’s almost always been someone who is an equal or superior.  Many of my ideas have been a little off the wall, but once a highly respected, well-known colleague outranking me gave a sign of approval or even became an obvious public fan of my work, everyone else jumped on board.

I’ve seen the same in my writing career and other projects.   The best collaborations have been when someone more respected, by me as well as by others, has become an instant and fervent supporter.

And then?   Same as in business.   We’ve been able to move mountains.