Change Agents In The Change Management Process

One of the most fascinating components of the change management process is the change agent. The change agent, who can be a leader, manager, employee, consultant, or customer, is a person who is often at the center of the change management process and performs several critical functions in the overall process.

Address the following regarding change agents:

1- Define the concept of a change agent, including the traits and characteristics that best represent a change agent in today’s organization.

2- Discuss the role of a change agent in the change management process (e.g., formal or informal role, position of authority or power, etc.).

3- Assess how a change agent can influence the generation, direction, success, or failure of a change initiative.

4- Finally, assess any challenges a change agent may have in the change process (e.g., not agreeing with the change, management not truthfully sharing the repercussions of the change, etc.) and how these challenges should be addressed.

Your well-written paper should meet the following requirements:

  • Be 4-5 pages in length, which does not include the title page and reference pages, which are never a part of the content minimum requirements.
  • Use Saudi Electronic University academic writing standards and APA style guidelines.
  • Support your submission with course material concepts, principles, and theories from the textbook and at least three scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles.
  • It is strongly encouraged that you submit all assignments into the Turnitin Originality Check prior to submitting it to your instructor for grading. If you are unsure how to submit an assignment into the Originality Check tool, review the Turnitin Originality Check – Student Guide for step-by-step instruction.

Chapter 8:

Becoming a Master Change Agent

Chapter Overview

Change agents are key to the entire change process

Change success is a function of the person, a vision, and the situation

The chapter describes traits and competencies that contribute to change agent effectiveness

Experience plays a big role in skill development

Four change agent types are described: the Emotional Champion, the Intuitive Adapter, the Developmental Strategist, and the Continuous Improver

Internal and external change agents and change teams are discussed

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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The Change Path Model

Becoming a Master Change Agent

Factors influencing change agent success

Change leader characteristics

Change leader development

Types of change leaders

External change agents

Effective change teams

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Awakening

Chapter 4

Acceleration

Chapter 9

Institutionalization

Chapter 10

Mobilization

Chapter 5 through 8

Being a Change Agent

Being a Change Agent

Person

Vision

Situation

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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The Change Agent Role— Is It Worth the Risk?

Being a change agent can be professionally hazardous

It can also prove energizing, exciting, educational, and enriching

You are likely to improve your understanding of the organization, develop special skills, and increase your network of contacts and visibility

Failure experiences, though painful, are seldom terminal—change agents tend to be resilient

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Endothermic and Exothermic Change

Exothermic Change

More energy is liberated than is consumed, by the actions undertaken to promote change

Endothermic Change

The change program consumes more energy than it generates

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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6

The Interaction of Vision and Situation with Who You Are

Later in this chapter, we explore behaviors and attributes common to change agents. Here we ask you to consider why, where, and when you might become more of a change agent.

What purposes do you consider vital? What visions do you follow for which you would make significant personal sacrifices?

What would be a vision that could catapult you into persistent, committed, and even sacrificial (by normal standards) action?

How does the situation you find yourself in affect your desire to become a change agent?

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Essential Change Agent Characteristics

Commitment to improvement

Communication and interpersonal skills

Determination

Eyes on the prize and flexibility

Experience and networks

Intelligence

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Attributes of Change Leaders

Inspiring vision92*
Entrepreneurship87
Integrity and honesty76
Learning from others72
Openness to new ideas66
Risk-taking56
Adaptability and flexibility49
Creativity42
Experimentation38
Using power29

* % of respondents who identified the attribute.

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Attributes of Change Managers

Empowering others88
Team building82
Learning from others79
Adaptability and flexibility69
Openness to new ideas64
Managing resistance58
Conflict resolution53
Networking52
Knowledge of the business37
Problem solving29

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Another Way to Think of Change Agent Actions

Consider their use of:

Framing behaviors

Capacity-creating behaviors

Shaping behaviors

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Toolkit Exercise 8.2—Attributes of Change Leaders from Caldwell

LOW1234567HIGH
1. Inspiring Vision1234567
2. Entrepreneurship1234567
3. Integrity and Honesty1234567
4. Learning from Others1234567
5. Openness to New Ideas1234567
6. Risk-Taking1234567
7. Adaptability and Flexibility1234567
8. Creativity1234567
9. Experimentation1234567
10. Using Power1234567

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Toolkit Exercise 8.2—Attributes of Change Managers from Caldwell

LOW1234567HIGH
1. Empowering Others1234567
2. Team Building1234567
3. Learning from Others1234567
4. Adaptability and Flexibility1234567
5. Openness to New Ideas1234567
6. Conflict Resolution1234567
7. Adaptability and Flexibility1234567
8. Networking Skills1234567
9. Knowledge of the Business1234567
10. Problem Solving1234567

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Toolkit Exercise 8.2—Change Agent Attributes Suggested by Others

LOW1234567HIGH
1. Interpersonal Skills1234567
2. Communication Skills1234567
3. Emotional Resilience1234567
4. Tolerance for Ambiguity1234567
5. Tolerance for Ethical Conflict1234567
6. Political Skill1234567
7. Persistence1234567
8. Determination1234567
9. Pragmatism1234567
10. Dissatisfaction with the Status Quo1234567
11. Openness to Information1234567
12. Flexibility and Adaptability1234567
13. Capacity to Build Trust1234567
14. Intelligence1234567

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Toolkit Exercise 8.2—How Did You Rate Yourself?

How would you assess yourself on the scales that proceed? What areas of development are suggested?

Are you more likely to be comfortable in a change leadership role at this time, or does the role of change manager or implementer seem more suited to who you are?

Ask a mentor or friend to provide you feedback on the same dimensions. Does the feedback confirm your self-assessment? If not, why not?

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Developing Yourself as a Change Agent

Formal study helps develop the awareness and skills of change agents, but experience is invaluable

You are your own best teacher—learn by doing

Accept responsibility and blame no one

True understanding comes from reflection on your experience

Reflection and Appreciative Inquiry are powerful developmental tools for both yourself and those you are working with

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Miller’s Stages of Change Beliefs

Stage 1:

Beliefs: People will change once they understand the logic of the change. People can be told to change. As a result, clear communication is key.

Underlying is the assumption that people are rational and will follow their self-interest once it is revealed to them. Alternately, power and sanctions will ensure compliance.

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Miller’s Stages of Change Beliefs (cont.)

Stage 2:

Beliefs: People change through powerful communication and symbolism. Change planning will include the use of symbols and group meetings.

Underlying is the assumption that people will change if they are “sold” on the beliefs. Again, failing this, the organization can use power and/or sanctions.

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Miller’s Stages of Change Beliefs (cont.)

Stage 3:

Beliefs: People may not be willing or able or ready to change. As a result, change leaders will enlist specialists to design a change plan and the leaders will work at change but resist changing themselves.

Underlying is the assumption that the ideal state is where people will become committed to change. Otherwise, power and sanctions must be used. 

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Miller’s Stages of Change Beliefs (cont.)

Stage 4:

Beliefs: People have a limited capacity to absorb change and may not be as willing, able, or ready to change as you wish. Thinking through how to change the people is central to the implementation of change.

Underlying is the assumption that commitment for change must be built and that power or sanctions have major limitations in achieving change and building organizational capacity.

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Toolkit Exercise 8.3—Your Development as a Change Agent

Think of a situation where someone’s viewpoint was quite different from yours. What were your assumptions about that person?

Did you ask yourself, why would they hold the position they have? Are you at Miller’s stage one, two, three, or four?

Are you able to put yourself into the shoes of the resister?

What are the implications of your self-assessment with respect to what you need to do to develop yourself as a change agent?

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Change Agent Types

Incremental Change

Strategic Change

Vision Pull

Analysis Push

Emotional Champion

Intuitive Adapter

Developmental Strategist

Continuous Improver

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Change Agent Types (cont.)

Emotional Champion

Has a clear and powerful vision of what the organization needs and uses that vision to capture the hearts and motivations of organization members

Intuitive Adapter

Has the clear vision for the organization and uses that vision to reinforce a culture of learning and adaptation

Developmental Strategist

Applies rational analysis to understanding the competitive logic of the organization and how it no longer fits the organization’s existing strategy and the environment. Seeks to alter structures and processes and shifts the organization to the new alignment

Continuous Improver

Analyzes micro-environments and seeks changes such as re-engineering to systems and processes looking for smaller gains instead of giant leaps

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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23

Are You an Adaptor or Innovator?

Are your preferences more aligned with those of an Adaptor?

These individuals are more conservative in their approach and more oriented toward incremental change

Are your preferences more in line with those of an Innovator?

These risk-takers prefer more radical or transformational change

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Toolkit Exercise 8.4—What Is Your Change Agent Preference?

How comfortable are you with risk and ambiguity? Do you seek order and stability or change and uncertainty?

How intuitive are you? Do you use feelings and emotion to influence others? Or are you logical and systematic, persuading through facts and arguments?

Given your responses to the above, how would you classify yourself? Are you:

An emotional champion?

An intuitive adapter?

A developmental strategist?

A continuous improver?

How flexible or adaptive with the approaches you use?

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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The Inside Change Agent Roles

The Catalyst overcomes inertia and focuses the organization.

The Solution Giver knows how to solve the problem.

The Process Helper facilitates the “how to” of change playing the role of third-party intervener.

The Resource Linker brings people and resources together to solve problems.

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Benefits of Using External Change Agents / Consultants

Provide subject-matter expertise

Bring fresh perspectives

Provide independent, trustworthy support

Provide third-party expertise to help facilitate discussions and manage the process

Extra assistance when talent is in short supply and/or time is of the essence

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Selecting a Consultant

Ensure you have a clear understanding of what you want from the consultant

Talk with multiple (up to 5) consultants and/or consulting organizations

Issue a request for proposal (RFP)

Make your decision and communicate expectations

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Characteristics of a Good Change Team Member

Knowledgeable about the business and enthusiastic about the change

Possesses excellent communications skills, willing to listen, and share

Totally committed to the project, the process, and the results

Able to remain open-minded and visionary

Respected within the organization as an apolitical catalyst for strategic change

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Developing a Change Team

Clear, engaging direction

A real team task

Rewards for team excellence

Availability of basic material resources to do the job, including the abilities of individual team members

Authority vested in the team to manage the work

Team goals

The development of team norms that promote strategic thinking

Careful consideration of the personalities and skills of team members, when designing the team

Selection of dedicated individuals willing to give it their “all”

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Design Rules for Top Change Teams

Keep it small—10 or fewer members

Meet at least bi-weekly and require full attendance

Meeting less often breaks rhythm of cooperation and coordination

Frequency is more important than how you meet (e.g., virtual vs. face-to-face)

Everything is your business—no team-related information is off-limits to other team members

Each of you is accountable for your business

No secrets and no surprises within the team

Straight talk, modeled by the leader

Fast decisions, modeled by the leader

Everyone rewarded partly on the total results

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Creating Structures for Team Projects

Consider a change challenge you are familiar with

To create needed structures when forming a change team, consider how you would manage discussions about and gain agreement on the following topics:

Tasks to be completed

Authority—scope of decision-making responsibilities

Roles

Boundaries

How would you use these to help manage the team as you move forward?

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Toolkit Exercise 8.5—Your Skills as a Change Team Member

Think of a time when you participated in a team. How well did the team perform?

Review the characteristics listed by Prosci in Exercise 8.5, Qn 2. Did the team members exhibit the listed characteristics? Did you?

What personal focus do you have? Do you tend to concentrate on getting the job done—a task focus? Or do you worry about bringing people along—a process focus?

How could you improve your skills in this area?

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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FedEx’s Change Team Checklist

Ensure that everybody who has a contribution to make is fully involved, and those who will have to make any change are identified and included.

Convince people that their involvement is serious and not a management ploy, all ideas from management are presented as “rough ideas.”

Ensure commitment to making any change work, the team members identify and develop “what is in it for them” when they move to make the idea work.

Increase the success rate for new ideas, potential, and actual problems that have to be solved are identified in a problem-solving, not blame-fixing culture.

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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FedEx’s Change Team Checklist (cont.)

Deliver the best solutions, problem-solving teams self-select to find answers to the barriers to successful implementation.

Maintain momentum and enthusiasm, the remainder of the team continue to work on refining the basic idea.

Present problem solutions, improve where necessary, approve, and implement immediately.

Refine idea, agree upon it, and plan the implementation process.

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Roles for Middle Management

Linking—with Above, Bottom, Others

Offering advice/help—as a Top, Bottom, a Link

Influence Up

Championing Strategic Alternatives

Synthesizing Information

Influence Down

Facilitating Adaptability

Implementing Strategy

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Advice to Those in “The Middle”

Be the top when you can and take responsibility for being top

Be the bottom when you should. Don’t let problems just flow through you to the subordinates

Be the coach to help others solve their problems so they don’t become yours

Facilitate rather than “carry messages” when you are between parties in conflict

Integrate with one another, so that you develop a strong peer group you can turn to for advice and support

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Rules of Thumb for Change Agents

Stay alive—no self-sacrifice

Start where the system is—diagnose and understand

Work uphill

Don’t over-organize

Don’t argue if you can’t win—win/lose strategies deepen conflict and should be avoided

Load experiments for success

Light many fires—don’t work in just one subsystem. Understand patterns of interdependency

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Rules of Thumb for Change Agents (cont.)

Just enough is good enough—don’t wait for perfection

You can’t make a difference without doing things differently

Reflect on experiences

Want to change

Think fast and act fast

Create a coalition—lone rangers are easily dismissed

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Rules of Thumb for Change Agents (cont.)

…and remember:

Keep your optimistic bias

Be patient

Be ready to seize the moment!

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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Summary

Change management is an essential part of the role of those who want to manage and lead

Becoming a change agent is a function of who you are + the situation + the vision

Change managers and change leaders are differentiated and the stages of development outlined

Four types of change leaders are described: the Emotional Champion, the Intuitive Adapter, the Continuous Improver, and the Developmental Strategist

The use of external change consultants and change teams are discussed. Rules of thumb for change agents are reviewed

Deszca, Ingols & Cawsey, Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit, 4th ed.. © 2020 SAGE Pub.

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