Dynamics of Change



The winners do not assume change agents and advocates can deal with any implementation problem that would arise without special training. They prepare their change agents and advocates in the skills required to approach their task in a structured manner.

Effective change agents are skilled in a complex combination of characteristics that can be brought to bear on a change project:

• The ability to work within the parameters set by the sponsor.

• Understand the psychological dynamics regarding how indi­viduals and organizations can modify their operations and how these dynamics can be applied toward developing and execut­ing plans for major change efforts.

• A Change Agent's performance is optimized when value is placed on the human as well as the technical aspects of the change project.

• Identify, relate to, and respect the diverse frames of reference of sponsors and targets.

• Generate diagnostic data regarding the organization's resis­tance to change and convert this information into a coherent and usable plan of action.

• Capable of developing and sustaining "synergistic" working relationships with and between sponsors and targets.

• To select and utilize alternative styles of interpersonal com­munication in order to effectively announce the change and respond to questions.

• Continually assess the level of commitment from both sponsors and targets and be prepared to take the necessary actions to bolster faltering support.

• Agents must be skilled in dealing with resistance to change.

• Use power dynamics and influence techniques in a manner that reflects a capacity to achieve results, a concern for ethical boundaries of behavior, and a sensitivity for human dignity.

Professional behavior is used here to reflect a capacity to subordinate (when necessary) one's personal agendas, desires, and tendencies toward the change project so that it will succeed.

Key steps to successful advocacy include the following:

• Define precisely what you want to change and how you would measure success.

• Identify the key targets who must accommodate the change.

• For each key target or target group, identify the initiating and sustaining sponsor that must support the change.

• Evaluate the current level of sponsor commitment.

• Develop pain management strategies to gain sponsor commit­ment.


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