- Don't have all the answers.
Change ‘agents’ have a tendency to outline the entire change. They see the change as something they ‘own’ and must, therefore, dictate the exact ‘solution’. A system written with the users input will ALWAYS have a better chance of success than a solution foisted upon them by an isolated IS. The role of a ‘change agent’ is to make change possible, not to define the change to be adopted.
- Support empowerment
Empowerment means giving the target audience the option to make decisions. The flip side is that you, the change agent, must give up the desire to make all the decisions. The more you leave in the hands of the target audience, the more you build their sense of ownership.
Related Article: Implementing Change - Phase 1 - Understand the Change
- Don't ask for 'buy in’
When you ask for ‘buy in’ you’ve already failed. It means you’re presenting them with both a need to change and the ‘solution.’ To be more precise, you are presenting them with your solution. You’ve invalidated any empowerment you may have created.
- Seek out their 'vision'
Again, this meets their need for ownership in the change. We resist change most when it leaves us powerless when we have no control over our future.
- Identify influence leaders, early adapters, and resistors
Influence leaders are those whom others look to for guidance; they are not necessarily those early adapters that take to a new change first. Your time is best spent getting influencers to change, rather than catering to the early adapters or resistors. (Of course, sometimes you’ll be in a situation where the biggest resistor is also the biggest influencer.)
- Change thinking: 'Change Agent' vs. 'Inflictor of Change'
The term ‘change agent’ creates an image of a person on a mission. Another phrase more in keeping with the reality that change hurts is ‘change inflictor.’ It forces you to keep in mind your primary task is to disrupt the status quo. When you think like a ‘pain inflictor’ then you have one strong objective - reduce the pain. Consider your local dentist. His single goal is to minimize the pain experienced during a specific ‘change’. By showing concern for people’s reluctance to leave their status quo behind, you also reduce their resistance to the proposed change.
© 2015 Peter de Jager – Reprinted with Permission.