1 Manifestos Are Primal

Manifestos are primal


Here’s the first in a nine-part series looking at the Manifesto Manifesto principles with a view to creating your own manifesto.

In his best-selling book, Permission Marketing, Seth Godin describes it brilliantly:

Everything starts with a manifesto.

In other words, manifestos are primal. The words primal and primary mean ‘first’ or ‘most important’.

This means that a manifesto is the first and most fundamental thing you should create. They’re your foundation stone upon which all other things are built. Create them, share them and plaster them everywhere.

Five questions to ask yourself when you sit down to start writing your manifesto…

1 What are you going to do?

What’s your motivating force?

Are you working toward having something happen – like creating a community? For example, the Wikipedia Five Pillars.

Or are you working away from something – like banning the use of pesticides? This is really important because it sets the context for the rest of your manifesto.

2 What is your starting point?

What is your current situation? Are you broke trying to become rich? Are you in a job you hate? Are you just plain fed up with something that you want to change? This is really important because it could define principle #2 for you: Manifestos terminate the past.

3 Who can make this declaration?

Only a judge can sentence a man to jail and have it stick. I can’t, I don’t have that legal authority. And, it sure helps if you’re President of the United States when you go to Congress to ask for money to land a man on the moon.

Are you the right person to be making this declaration? If you’re not the CEO and you want to change your organisation, you can still be the right person – it will just take enrolling others in your campaign. And, that’s the same for all of us. Yes, in some circumstances you may not be the right person to make this declaration. And, the real question here is: Who are you going to be to make it happen anyway? Anything is possible if you’re willing to take a stand for it.

4 Who will you declare this to?

A manifesto in a drawer is just wishful thinking. A manifesto is a public document. To whom are you directing your manifesto at? This is important because it defines principles 4, 5 and 6 – Manifestos trigger communities, define us and antagonise others.

5 What needs to be declared?

A declaration is more than a description of your current situation. It’s a statement of intent, It’s what you want to have happen in the future. Ultimately, what you need to declare is a statement of change. You may declare what is going to end (principle 2) or what is being created (principle 3). Either way, check that you’re not merely describing, complaining or justifying something. Ensure there is a decisive future.

Work through these questions to start writing your manifesto. Share your results and/or ask questions in the comments below.

Next: Part 2 – Manifestos Terminate the Past

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