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How to Become a Change Agent

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How to Become a Change Agent

  1. 1.                 How  to  Become  a  Change  Agent     Key  Points   • Clearly  defining  the  role  of  a  Change  Agent   • 10  Characteristics  of  a  Change  Agent   • Is  Change  project  based  or  continual?       “Change  is  the  new  normal  for  leadership  success  and  all  leaders  must  accept  this   fact.”    (Forbes:  Every  Leader  Must  Be  A  Change  Agent  Or  Face  Extinction)     There  is  a  great  article  in  Forbes  by  Glenn  Llopis  that  reviews  10  key  points  to   challenge  the  capabilities  of  a  Change  Agent.  I  love  this  article  and  in  my  own   research  on  the  topic,  I  have  not  come  upon  anything  more  succinct  than  this.  And   while  developing  my  own  article  on  the  topic,  I  felt  too  drawn  into  his  insight  that  I   could  not  stray  from  his  key  points.  So  with  that  said  and  with  full  respect  to  Glenn’s   research,  I  feel  that  it  is  best  that  I  follow  his  10  key  points  but  give  my  own  view  on   each.     Article:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2014/03/24/every-­‐leader-­‐must-­‐ be-­‐a-­‐change-­‐agent-­‐or-­‐face-­‐extinction/       Art  of  the  Wingman  for  Business  is  dedicated  to  the  businesswomen  and  businessmen  who  seek  greatness  beyond  their  own   and  find  their  successes  through  helping  others  succeed.  The  Business  Wingman  follows  the  path  of  the  selfless  person.  
  2. 2.       1)  Clearly  defining  the  role  of  a  Change  Agent   Defining  the  Change  Agent’s  role  within  a  company  is  different  depending  on  the   industry,  maturity  of  the  company,  and  target  audience.  To  me,  a  Change  Agent  can   be  somebody  who  helps  the  company  evolve/change/transform  itself  through  any   type  of  improvement,  evolution  or  efficiency.     The  Change  Agent  is  somebody  who  can  do  these  things  from  within  the  company  or   from  outside  the  company.  The  Change  Agent  does  not  always  have  to  be  somebody   at  the  executive  level.  The  Change  Agent  can  be  anybody  within  the  company  who   can  effectively  do  these  things.    The  Change  Agent  doesn’t  always  have  to  be  in  a   management  or  leadership  role.  The  output  of  the  Change  Agent  does  not  always   have  to  make  large  sweeping  efforts  to  be  effective.  The  efforts  of  the  Change  Agent   can  be  small,  but  they  must  be  very  effective.              
  3. 3. 2)  10  Characteristics  of  a  Change  Agent   As  mentioned  before,  a  great  article  in  Forbes  magazine  by  Glenn  Llopis  inspired  the   10  characteristics  below.  If  you’re  planning  to  become  a  Change  Agent  or  you   already  see  yourself  as  a  Change  Agent  within  your  company,  then  these  10   characteristics  will  best  define  you  role  and  will  help  you  create  success.     1. Multigenerational  influence   In  a  previous  article,  we  talked  about  Managing  Across  Generations  in  the   workplace  and  that  most  companies  will  have  at  least  3  to  4  different   generations  working  in  the  same  office  building,  some  may  have  five.   Because  of  this,  you  cannot  just  take  comfort  in  your  own  generation.  You   must  be  able  to  work  across  generations  to  make  things  happen.     2. Knowledge  today’s  cultural  influence   To  complement  the  need  to  work  across  generations,  it’s  also  important  to  be   very  well  aware  of  the  cultures  within  your  office  and  the  cultures  that   surround  your  office.  Understanding  and  being  cognizant  of  people’s  cultures   will  allow  you  to  be  more  accepted  when  making  a  Change.     3. Knowing  your  macro  business  environment   If  what  you’re  trying  to  affect  reaches  outside  of  your  company,  it’s   imperative  that  you  are  aware  of  how  to  deal  with  the  current  environment   outside  of  your  business  and  be  familiar  in  how  those  changes  will  affect   your  decisions.     4. Knowing  your  internal  audience   In  order  to  drive  Change  across  your  company,  you  will  need  to  get  internal   buy-­‐in  from  key  members  and  leaders.  Remember  that  the  most  influential   people  usually  are  not  Leaders,  but  mid-­‐level  employees  with  tenure  or   strong  credibility.  Seek  them  out  and  gain  their  support.     5. Building  a  support  team   Every  Leader/Change  Agent  finds  success  through  the  backing  of  a  strong   supportive  team.  As  the  driver  of  Change,  you  are  the  catalyst  that  keeps  the   momentum  but  you  know  your  limits  and  you  know  your  weaknesses.  You   have  to  learn  how  to  scale  your  efforts  by  drawing  from  the  strengths  of   those  around  you.     6. Don’t  fear  the  unknown   With  your  eyes  set  on  the  future  in  an  unknown  environment,  you  will  be   certain  to  find  situations  that  are  unknown  and  with  no  recognized  solution.   Don’t  back  away  from  the  unknown  and  take  it  head  on.  If  this  situation  is  not   one  of  your  strengths,  then  seek  out  a  member  of  your  support  team  for  help.        
  4. 4. 7. Managing  failures   There  are  no  easy  roads  for  a  Change  Agent.  You  will  stumble  along  the  way   and  you  will  definitely  have  your  fair  share  of  failures.    Here  are  some  great   quotes  about  finding  success  through  failure.     “Only  those  who  dare  to  fail  greatly  can  ever  achieve  greatly.”   Robert  F.  Kennedy     “I  have  not  failed.  I’ve  just  found  10,000  ways  that  won’t  work.”   Thomas  A.  Edison     “Success  is  the  ability  to  go  from  failure  to  failure  without  losing  your   enthusiasm.”   Winston  Churchill     8. Promoting  your  vision   Just  like  #4  and  #5,  without  the  support  of  others,  you  will  not  succeed.  But   as  a  great  motivator,  your  enthusiasm  can  only  carry  the  team  for  so  long.   Rather  than  promoting  a  set  of  values  to  them,  promote  a  vision.  Something   that  people  can  latch  on  to.  A  strong  vision  will  always  survive  the  failures   over  time.  A  strong  vision  can  best  translate  to  everyone  involved.     9. Clearly  communicate  milestones   A  common  mistake  with  most  trying  to  affect  Change  is  forgetting  to   communicate  key  successes  or  wins.  Think  of  these  as  milestones.  Whether   it’s  through  email,  phone  or  monthly  lunches,  you  need  to  develop  a   consistent  method  of  communication  with  your  stakeholders.  Without  this,   you  will  be  sure  to  lose  support  along  the  way.     10.You  are  always  selling   As  the  driver  of  Change,  you  will  be  wearing  multiple  hats.  You  will  be  the   leader,  project  manager,  researcher,  motivator,  marketer,  IT  support,  and   every  other  role  that  a  Change  Agent  could  take.  No  matter  what  hat  you  are   wearing  at  any  given  time,  the  one  hat  that  you  will  never  be  able  to  take  off   is  the  sales  person.  Because  you  will  only  be  satisfied  with  your  vision   reaching  fruition.  It  will  take  you  selling  the  hell  out  of  this  all  day,  every  day.         3)  Is  Change  project  based  or  continual?   This  is  a  tough  one  to  answer.  Because  we  earlier  defined  a  Change  Agent  as   anybody  within/outside  a  company  that  can  effectively  make  a  difference,  then  we   should  also  be  able  to  state  that  Change  can  be  both  project  based  or  something  that   is  perpetual  and  continual.    I  think  the  best  way  to  answer  this  question  is  without   truly  defining  an  answer.  And  with  that  I  will  let  this  paraphrased  quote  from  a  great   article  in  the  Huffington  Post  answer  that  question.  
  5. 5.   “Because  the  world  is  changing,  the  market  is  changing,  customers  are  changing  and   the  competition  is  changing,  companies  need  to  embrace  change.  In  order  to  be  a   change  agent  for  the  rest  of  the  company,  everyone  needs  to  be  very  comfortable   with  changing  itself  first,  yet  in  many  organizations  Management  is  not  on  the   leading  edge  of  transformation.”  (Huffington  Post).     …And  because  of  this,  someone  needs  to  stand  up,  take  charge,  and  make  Change.     In  Conclusion   The  world  around  you  is  changing  everyday.  If  you  have  the  passion  to  drive  that   Change  within  your  company,  and  a  vision  for  others  to  follow,  your  successes  will   soon  be  seen  as  great  Leadership.     “Change  is  the  new  normal  for  leadership  success  and  all  leaders  must  accept  this   fact.”    (Forbes:  Every  Leader  Must  Be  A  Change  Agent  Or  Face  Extinction)       Visit  our  blog  at  http://www.artofthewingman.com.    

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