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
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
• 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
• 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
• Evaluate the current level of sponsor commitment.
• Develop pain management strategies to
gain sponsor commitment.