There is no role more central to organisational transformation than Change Agent or Digital Guide. There are roles that may be more strategic, but the change agent is woven into the fabric of transformation, they are the ones in the trenches, helping the organisation change one person at a time.
But what techniques can help digital guide get started?
Internal Networks: Often starting out as the organisation’s connectors, change agents share characteristics such as being hyper-networked, providing a bridge between disparate areas of an organisation, being driven, having an entrepreneurial spirit, a willingness to champion and advocate for change and a deep understanding that failure is a great teacher. Research indicates that position in the hierarchy has little relationship to effectiveness as a change agent, but rather position in the network – network centrality has a far greater influence on adoption of change initiatives.
But being a change agent is also, at times, a lonely job. We meet many frustrated change agents who feel isolated, under-appreciated or unsure due to lack of support inside their organisation.
External networks: One of the most effective ways to protect against being overwhelmed by the occasional isolation of being a change agent is to grow a robust and healthy network outside of the organisation with other change agents and thought leaders. A strong external network can help bring new ideas and inspiration, expose you to new case studies and can provide strong supportive relationships that sustain you through the challenges and frustrations of changing big organisations.
Power of small ideas
People facing multiple change initiatives in organisations, often resist letting go of control, letting go of the way things are done because the alternative is overly complicated. In order to simplify, successful change agents know how to leverage the power of small things – focusing on small changes made often will deliver big changes without the overhead and resistance of a single big change. Transforming the way team meetings are run or how you share best practices in every area of your organisation will quickly pay dividends and allow success to be recounted across the organisation.
Continuous learning is the hallmark of the knowledge economy, and as more roles become automated, the only way to move forward is to keep learning. For change agents, learning is an essential element of the work – bringing new ideas and stories to the organisation, being a continual source of inspiration for teams trying to change, tactics from other industries, success stories from other organisations and lessons learned from others failures are a solid basis for understanding and simplifying the complexity.
These links focus on lessons and stories from change agents across the world: