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Rick’s Reflections | The Changing Role of Change Agents

We all know what a Change Agent does. Or at least we think we do.

I recently sat at lunch with a group of Change Agents and the topic of their role came up for discussion.  There was a common understanding among them that the Change Agent is ‘the doer’; the person who makes the change happen. But I wasn’t surprised to find that among the eight people at the table there were eight variations on the definition. Some saw the Change Agent having a great deal of authority and autonomy in that role. One person said just the opposite: responsibility without authority. For some, the role is a formal one, a part of the project team with a defined charter. For others it was making change happen ad hoc.  Two of the eight were PMI (Project Management Institute) certified. One confessed to never having used a Gant chart.

There was one thing they all agreed on, however. Being a Change Agent has taken on a new role, one that did not exist in the past: knowing and applying the strategy and tactics of change management.

  • Coaching leadership to lead more complex, ambiguous, challenging and unpopular change
  • Leveraging social media and related tools and technology to gather feedback on challenges or roadblocks to change
  • Applying non-traditional and emerging virtual collaboration tools to communicate, train and reward the people impacted by the changes
  • Rationalizing the volume of change for those Targets of change and helping them to self-manage change saturation
  • Using innovative approaches, techniques and tools to communicate the change

It’s important that Change Agents recognize what’s changing for them and the need to convince management to provide the help and support they need in this new era of being an agent of change.

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