Principle: Trim Tabs

Trying to change an organization can be daunting. With all its mass and inertia, how do you move an entire organization?

The rudders of some large ships are designed with little or no mechanical force behind them. No pneumatics, no motors, nothing that would physically swing the rudder from side to side. Instead, they have trim tabs: small control surfaces that direct the force of the ocean against the rudder, which then moves and turns the ship. 

In any organization, there are influential people who can be thought of as trim tabs. They aren't necessarily managers and supervisors, but they are definitely leaders in their own right. Rather than trying to move an entire organization, first find the trim tabs.

The trim tabs in an organization are the Innovators and Early Adopters.

For more on Innovators and Early Adopters, check out Simon Sinek's Start With Why and Chris McGoff's The Primes

I first heard the metaphor of trim tabs from Laurie Durnell of the Grove Consultants.