Are you drowning in job frustration? Surrounded by a bunch of inefficiency? Feel like you’re stuck in the dark ages at your company and know there are ways that your organization could be performing better? Well, you should be sitting down as you read this – I know I was shocked to find this out about myself: You’re probably frustrated because you’re a CHANGE AGENT!
A Change Agent is a person who acts as a catalyst for change. There is a well-researched correlation between the speed of change at an organization and the person who is leading the charge. Organizations that have Change Agents helping to push the boundaries of what can be done RACE to improved performance through a larger amount of “buy-in” from peers and management. Malcom Gladwell discusses this concept in his book “Tipping Point”, and Seth Godin eludes to this idea in his book “Tribes, we need you to lead us”. There is far too much good stuff about Change Agents in those publications to discuss in this blog, so I’ll just recommend them as good reading.
So you’re a change agent – you’re the 20% in the 80/20 principle for your organization or department. You can see (and probably hear all the time) that inefficiency is slaying your productivity, and you probably have some ideas that could stop the bleeding. Save time, save money, make more money – essentially in the mind of a Finance person: BE MORE PROFITIBLE. The most valuable people at any company are those who make or save the company money – and we’ve just handed you the gold star you need to get started!
We think there are a few key components to being a successful Change Agent, and while you may not own each of these by yourself, it is understood that you probably have a network around you that can help you fill in gaps.
- A Clear Vision
- You have a yearning for sustainable change that is meaningful to others and the organization
- You may not be the person with authority, but you have clear ideas
- You’re able to communicate your ideas clearly (prepare for discussions)
- Understand there’s more than one way to accomplish the goal, so ask for ideas
- Able to identify strengths in others to assist in getting things done
- Is Patient AND Persistent
- Meaningful and lasting change does not happen overnight
- Ability to help others buy into your vision: Build your team
- There will be many steps to the goal, each is important
- You’re committed to making sure people and steps are moving forward
- Ask tough questions
- You’re accountable to see this through – your team must see and feel that to back you
- When people have an emotional connection to the change, they are motivated
- Challenge the status quo (possibly the scariest part)
- Knowledgeable & Leads by example
- Articulate the change you want to see, but also show it to others
- Upper management has sometimes lost touch, their buy-in is important, but you and your team have the expertise and are closest to the areas that need change
- Strong relationships built on trust
- This is a “we” project, not a “me” project
- People will not want to grow if they don’t trust you
- Approachable & reliable
- Tough conversations ALSO build trust
Lodestar is seeing an increasing number of clients asking for our expertise in helping them find Change Agents to add to their Business Analytics organizations. We hold regular seminars to support and grow the work of Change Agents for our clients. We have even been asked (repeatedly and recently) to look over clients’ job postings to help them invite Change Agents to interview for open positions in their Business Analytics organizations.
Your Change Agent status is probably VERY important to your company…they just don’t know that you’re there! So now that you’ve been dubbed a Lodestar Change Agent, your first order of business is to make your ideas known! Start gathering attention and folks that can help you get things done! Call a meeting, rally the troops – this is going to be big because who doesn't want to reduce or eliminate job frustration.