Grassroots, not top-down is the principle of empowering individuals at the bottom, rather than dictating to them from the top (see Table 8.1). It involves embracing smallness and imperfection, to create an environment of scrappiness, agility, and innovation. Grassroots initiatives let great ideas take root and then grow organically over time, to become big.

Table 8.1 Summary of Grassroots, Not Top-Down, Guidelines for Organizations, Leaders, and Individuals

Organizations Empower every individual to contribute and test ideas; pick the best ideas through trial, not judgment.Invest in systems that make it easy to test and measure everything.Start small—really small—with any new initiative and product.Apply collective intelligence to organizational problem solving, decision making, and creation.
Leaders Build teams to create true diversity of thought and perspective.Empower individuals to make decisions by teaching them how the business operates.Foster productive debate within teams.Act as a multiplier, not a diminisher, of your team’s intelligence.Ask questions to help solve problems; don’t direct the solutions.
Individuals Find creative ways to test your ideas quickly. Learn the art of pretotyping.Kick-start grassroots movements for issues you are passionate about.Take initiative to fix what’s broken in your organization.
Everyone Apply the Apollo 13 challenge to organizational problem solving.Embrace mistakes, failure, and imperfection.


1. Collins, James ...

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