Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

How to Start a Movement

Written by: on April 24, 2023

It’s the end of the term and, like the rest of you, my brain is tired. When my brain is tired, I start to revert to what is familiar. So as I was reading Cascades[1] I found myself wanting to anchor the material to an area with which I am already familiar. I will take a few minutes to share this well-worn toolkit and how I felt that Greg Satell’s writing blended with it.

Around 18-19 years ago we introduced the Lean and Six Sigma improvement methodologies for healthcare into my organization. Along with those methodologies came a toolkit designed to support implementing the improvements that Lean and Six Sigma processes identified. It is called the Change Acceleration Process (CAP),[2] and it is the change method that exposed me to the larger field of Change Management.[3] Since I discovered this framework, I have trained literally hundreds of employees in how to implement change using these tools. It’s a simple framing I have learned has strengths and weaknesses, but it is drilled forever into my brain.

There are seven key principles:

  1. Creating a Shared Need
  2. Shaping a Vision
  3. Mobilizing Commitment
  4. Monitoring Progress
  5. Making Change Last
  6. Leading change
  7. Changing Systems and Structures

Whether you follow GE’s CAP methodology, or Prosci’s ADKAR[4], or Kotter’s Leading Change[5], pretty soon, you will start to see some familiar themes in any discussion about transformation and, in fact, I saw themes repeated in this week’s read: Cascades: How to create a movement that drives transformational change.

As I was doing my review of the text, instinctively started the mental game of drawing the line between Greg Satell’s work, and CAP (actually, I first tried it with Kotter, but then found myself going back to my beginning framework from GE(… remember, its drilled into my brain) and found some cursory connection points:

If CAP says Creating a Shared Need & Shaping a Vision” then the connection to Cascades is:

“That’s what really makes change happen… the forging of a common cause among diverse constituencies” and “creating a clear sense of purpose and identifying a keystone issue”[6]

If CAP says “Mobilize Commitment,” then the connection to Cascades is:

 “you must start with a plan to mobilize specific institutions in the Pillars of Support”[7]

If CAP says “Changing Systems and Structures and Monitoring Progress,” then the connection to Cascades is:

“Successful movements survive victory by staying true to their values even after the initial triumph.”[8]

Now, this is not to say that Satell was just cutting and pasting from work that has already been done. In the first part of the book, he discusses networks and emerging models of power dynamics which is an area where I feel that I have more to learn. Frankly, my organization needs to better understand how to leverage networks for greater effectiveness. I will be rereading that portion in the next few weeks to see how many pearls of wisdom can be extracted from his work in this area.

Additionally, it is significant that much of Satell’s discussion is around the effort of leading change in the public arena, which I find compelling and is worth additional consideration. On that vein of influencing the public, and because it’s the end of the academic year, I will leave you with this YouTube video [9] that makes me chuckle every time I see it. Please watch it. It puts a whole new spin on transformation, and followership… and I bet you could use a chuckle, too.

[1] Greg Satell, Cascades: How to Create a Movement That Drives Transformational Change (New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2019).

[2] “Change Acceleration Process (CAP),” Sixsigma DSI (blog), accessed April 24, 2023, https://sixsigmadsi.com/glossary/change-acceleration-process-cap/.

[3] If you go into the industry of Change Management today, and look for methodologies, your search will probably not result in finding CAP, as there are very few that still utilize it, and GE (the organization that developed it) seems to no longer be promoting it. The only reason I can account for this lack of visibility is perhaps a change of personnel within GE, but I cannot know for certain. Critics could contend that it is over simplified, however It will forever be a process that shapes my framework for implementing change initiatives.

[4] Jeff Hiatt, ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government, and Our Community (Loveland, Colorado: Prosci Learning Center Publications, 2006).

[5] John P. Kotter, Leading Change (Boston, Mass: Harvard Business Review Press, 2012).

[6] Satell, Cascades, 121–22.

[7] Satell, Cascades, 146.

[8] Satell, Cascades, 235.

[9] “How to Start a Movement Video – Google Search,” accessed April 23, 2023, https://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+start+a+movement+video&ei=mONFZNr_HsT19APVl5LIDg&ved=0ahUKEwjaq9fgtsH-AhXEOn0KHdWLBOkQ4dUDCBA&uact=5&oq=how+to+start+a+movement+video&gs_lcp=Cgxnd3Mtd2l6LXNlcnAQAzIFCAAQgAQyBQgAEIAEMgYIABAWEB4yBggAEBYQHjIGCAAQFhAeMgYIABAWEB4yBggAEBYQHjIGCAAQFhAeMgYIABAWEB4yBggAEBYQHjoKCAAQRxDWBBCwAzoKCC4QigUQsAMQQzoKCAAQigUQsAMQQzoICAAQigUQhgNKBAhBGABQyANY_QlgywxoAXABeACAAaEBiAGjBJIBAzQuMpgBAKABAcgBCsABAQ&sclient=gws-wiz-serp#kpvalbx=_neNFZJGyI-q80PEPivmj-A4_32.

About the Author

Jennifer Vernam

12 responses to “How to Start a Movement”

  1. mm Jonita Fair-Payton says:

    I loved the video. The lone nut is brave but the first follow turns him into a leader…Oh, I laughed and laughed! Here is my totally non-academic question: Are they starting a movement or are they just a bunch of people on a hill, on a Summer day that have had too much to drink? ; ) Honestly, I’m a little envious of them at this very moment.

    • mm Russell Chun says:

      Hello Professor Jennifer,

      I wonder if Jesus every danced with His shirt off? As I watch bit of Chosen, I see someone who nurtured His first followers. The big 11 – they changed the world.

      Professor Esther talked about the church in Rome that reshaped an empire.

      I am think about the cascade that brought the Berlin Wall down.

      I also can see the LGBQ-T (or whatever) and the abortion movement cascade movements.

      Wow. I am going to take a hard look at your CAP stuff.

  2. mm Kim Sanford says:

    Like you mention, I also noticed that Satell’s focus is on transformational change in business but also in society at large. At your suggestion a few weeks ago, I looked up Kotter’s work and he seems to be exclusively focused on businesses (granted, I spent a very brief time with his thoughts, so I may have missed something). What I was trying to get at in my blog post (but I’m not sure I ever really landed it) was the role of the Holy Spirit in spiritual transformation on a large scale. In other words, I’m not discounting Satell or Kotter’s work, but is something else necessary to apply it to faith-based transformation?

    • Jennifer Vernam says:

      I am not sure. I know that there are truths about how we move through change that I have seen apply in secular and Christian settings.


      I have also seen believers move unexpectedly quickly through changes that should have been much more difficult, and I have always attributed that to the Holy Spirit’s empowering. I guess I would say that engaging with the Holy Spirit applies a multiplicative effect. Thoughts?

      • mm Kim Sanford says:

        Yes, thank you, you articulated that much more succinctly and clearly than all the circular thoughts in my head. (It’s been a long semester, like you said!) Thinking about the Holy Spirit as having a sort of multiplying-effect helps me hold the secular-sacred in tension.

  3. mm John Fehlen says:

    I didn’t click on the YouTube video, but I will put $10 on the table that the video is of the young guy at the outdoor concert that starts dancing and then others slowly join in until there’s a mob of folks having fun together.

    Am I right?


    It’s classic because it so powerfully shows the way an idea cascades from a moment then into a movement.

    Powerful. Reminds me of the seed of the Gospel – planted and producing massive harvests all over the world from its inception until NOW!

    Jennifer, I always enjoy the way your mind works. What a gift you have. The way you connect various dots together is pretty remarkable. It’s been a great semester and I have really enjoyed you and your contributions.

    • Jennifer Vernam says:

      You guessed it!

      Here is my question about this video, and as a fellow PNWer, you might know: doesn’t it seem like this must have taken place in the Gorge? I mean, culturally, its a total fit, plus, the landscape seems right…

      Thanks for the kind words- Looking forward to getting going again in the Fall. (After a bit of mindless summer, that is!)

  4. Travis Vaughn says:

    Jen, thanks for including all of these additional resources in your post! I was familiar with Kotter’s Leading Change — his stuff has been super helpful, especially his material around leadership vs. management. I know his work greatly influenced Matt Perman (I’ve referenced some of Perman’s work in my research), who wrote this article: https://whatsbestnext.wpenginepowered.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/How-Leaders-Accomplish-More-by-Doing-Less-Whats-Best-Next.pdf

  5. Jenny Dooley says:

    That video was a great visual of a cascade! I too thought it interesting that though it took a lot of courage to go first it was the follower that created real change. That kind of blows my mind. But I guess in the age of social media I shouldn’t be surprised. But it does put some weight on the leader to get it right, find a shared need, and be worthy of following as well as the courage to let others run with it and slip into the crowd! I am imagining Jesus dancing with the crowd.

    • Jennifer Vernam says:

      I love that idea, Jenny: the significance of the first follower. Especially when the leader is asking us to do something that might look weird to others!

  6. mm Russell Chun says:

    Hi Professor Jennifer,

    I wonder if Jesus ever danced with his shirt off? As I watch Chosen, I began to see how he nurtured his Big 11, and how they changed the world.

    Professor Esther spoke about how the little church in Rome reshaped an Empire. Wow. We are hearing how the small persecuted underground churches in China are making the Chinese church the fasting growing church in the world (sorry no data on that one).

    I am also seeing the cascade effect in other spaces – LGBTP –(or whatever), abortion, marijuana legalization. Ouch.

    I copied and pasted your whole post and will be digging into the references you provide. Thank you so much.

    I do believe that the churches small and large need to step to the proverbial “plate” on refugees resettlement. The broader topic of immigration is something that I hope to address AFTER my Interlinkt – Linking Internationals to their new Homeland – telephone app is Beta tested by next March 9, 2024 -but I am becoming convinced that it is the cascade effect that will have an impact that happens now to serve the “alien amongst us.”

    Once again, I am so grateful that this semester has been filled with cohort teachers.


  7. mm Tim Clark says:

    Jennifer, you said, “I will be rereading that portion in the next few weeks to see how many pearls of wisdom can be extracted from his work in this area.”

    For me it was lowering participation thresholds and keystone ideas, but I’ve also got this book on the shelf ready to pick it up again in a few weeks.

    It was great to be in the cohort with you. Looking forward to the next 2 years.

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