- Make the group the guru. Champions are important, but in the positive deviance model, the community owns the problem and the solutions.
- Reframe through facts. First grasp the problem's conventional presentation, second find out if there are exceptions to the norm, third reframe the problem to focus attention on the exceptions.
- Make it safe to learn. People get attached to the status quo even when it isn't good for them. Only when people feel safe enough to discuss a taboo and when the community is sufficiently invested in finding a solution can the prospect of an alternative reality appear.
- Make the problem concrete. A firm grasp of reality obliterates vague assumptions and helps focus attention on what's really working.
- Leverage social proof. Use support groups for your innovations.
- Confound the immune defence system. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. When you fan the embers within a community rather than rely on firebrands from head office or outside the group, change feels natural. The trick is to introduce existing ideas into mainstream without excessive use of authority.
The leader's new role. The positive deviance approach requires a role reversal in which experts become learners, teachers become students and leaders become followers. Leaders must relinquish to the community the role of chief discoverer.