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To be a Change Agent

This weekend while having dinner with a friend, we talked about the importance of having change agents in a company. The theme is not new, but it gained more strength this year in which we were forced to rethink companies, redefine processes and reinvent relationships with new ways of communicating that impact the daily lives of people and companies.

Maria Cabral de Sousa
Oct 6 • 3 min reading
To be a Change Agent

In this fast-paced world in which changes defies the speed of light, change agents take on an even more relevant and complex role

A change agent is a person, inside or outside the company, who helps transform the way the company operates. They are leaders or collaborators capable of motivating their peers, influencing teams, aligning them with the strategy and dragging them towards this change with conviction and commitment.

Changing is challenging and forces us to study new things, it implies listening to the market, customers and the world to head in the right direction. “It´s only when we lock ourselves into our comfort zone that growth stops”- said Herby Hancock, Jazz Guru

A company only changes if its people change, it only evolves if its people evolve, it only risks if its people take a risk and it only makes a difference if people want to make the difference.

It is essential to identify the change agents in a company and give them a voice. The characteristics that define them are enthusiasm and passion; leadership by example; the ability to listen to new ideas; pragmatism; persistence and patience; and the respect that is recognized by others.

The role of change agents is critical in an organization and is based on the ability to “do things differently and make others want to do things differently”. They must be able to actively communicate why transformation is a good idea for both the company and the people who work for it.

For people to adhere to change you must:

  • Inform about "what does this change mean to me? ... and how can I personally benefit from it?
  • Motivate by answering questions like “what reinforcements are there for me to be able to change? Will I have support? Will I have more time to get used to the new processes?”
  • Share knowledge to reinvent how to do things
  • Encourage and give confidence to the change in specific projects and give immediate feedback on the performance achieved by them.

In the creative and technological sector, we all like to believe that we are innovative and open minded but in fact, change is a word that causes most people a feeling of immediate disgust and discomfort. Companies are made up of people and new procedures that get out of the routine, the approaches and ideas that emerge to serve a fast market and generate new sources of income, sprinkle the teams simultaneously with enthusiasm and fear.

The ability of a company to reinvent itself is essential, the ability to identify the change agents that stand on the front line to “point the way and pull the boat” is essential.

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