Change is an inherent part of people’s lives, companies, and governments. In the sphere of business, change is a necessary process since enterprises need to evolve with the arising trends to stay relevant. However, while an individual’s decision to bring changes to their life may depend on their decision only, organizations employ many people and have set processes and rules that have to be followed. For this reason, change in business takes more effort from its members, often requiring guidance from internal or external sources. This is the responsibility of a change agent – a person who helps companies to introduce changes into their internal structure, implement it and evaluate its effectiveness. According to Holmes, Hahn, and Perry (2017), people with suitable skills and knowledge can be extremely efficient while advocating for change due to the appeal of their leadership qualities as well as a person-based (not origination-based) approach. Thus, a change agent can play a significant role in the success of any organization that wants to evolve and move forward.
As a change agent, my plan relies on the combination of my experience, knowledge of theoretical principles, and personal characteristics and opinions. To explain my perspective on the critical aspects of change, I will first present the actions that change agents have to take to support the process of change. Then, I will describe the actions and thoughts of other involved people, discussing potential barriers and ways of overcoming them. I will also describe the nature of change, highlighting the theoretical approaches that aim to explain how it is understood differently by people depending on their personalities. Finally, I will present my vision as an agent of change. This plan will incorporate the factors that, in my opinion, contribute to change, my aspirations about my character development, and the description of my actions in some possible situations of change.
Actions of Change Agents
As mentioned above, the central task of a change agent is to introduce change into an organization. Nonetheless, this process is not quick or straightforward, and it often requires one to try out multiple strategies to achieve results. One of the first steps that a change agent takes is making an effort to recognize why change is necessary. This understanding requires one to analyze the existing structure and the potential benefits of new ideas. Moreover, it also creates a foundation for the agent’s stance, which has to be robust to convince others and accumulate support.
Next, the change agent explains the aspects of the proposed change to other people participating in the project. These may include managers, employees, as well as shareholders, and other people who contribute to the organization. Here, the assumed stance helps show people the reasons for implementing the change plan. Change agents need to focus on the tasks ahead of them and layout the steps to assist other members responsible for the changes’ introduction. It is also crucial to address any opposition which may undermine the success of all operations. Change agents communicate with the involved individuals to make sure that a mutual understanding and agreement are reached. These professionals help the company to implement change, using theoretical models and utilizing the resources that are available to them. Finally, after the change has been implemented, change agents need to evaluate what has been accomplished and which goals were or were not reached. This is another vital part of any project since it determines whether the change will be sustainable. As a result, the change agent contributes to all stages, leading each initiative from its start to the end.
Actions of Other People
It should be remarked that people who work with change agents may respond to the proposed ideas differently, which may alter the initial course of action proposed by the organization. For instance, it is the responsibility of change agents to work with people who oppose change. Here, employees or other stakeholders may not understand why change is necessary, be unsupportive of any new ideas, or actively try to return to the old system. As a result, change agents have to be prepared to address both logical and irrational arguments and behaviors and deal with rebellious notions before they disrupt the process.
The example presented in the film 12 Angry Men can be described. Twelve people are led to a change in their decision by one man who addresses rational and emotionally-driven claims with the same level of attention and thoroughness (12 Angry Men, 1957). People respond differently to a new idea, but the step-by-step analysis of the status quo helps the change agent to introduce a new system of thinking and leads to a complete agreement. The main ways to address these problems in the sphere of business will be discussed further.
The Nature of Change
The theoretical approaches to changes in business have been a topic for academic discussion for decades. There exist multiple models of change management, including the steps that organizations are advised to take during this time and people’s approaches to change. It should be noted that each situation may require an individualized strategy due to the range of existing firms’ structures and hierarchies. Nonetheless, popular models such as Lewin’s Method or Leading Change by Kotter outline several similar steps that are described above (Hornstein 2015). First, change has to be introduced to the old structure to highlight the benefits of the former and the disadvantages of the latter. The new plan has to be implemented to move the organization forward. Finally, the system has to be institutionalized to make it the new norm (Altamony et al. 2016). These steps lie at the basis of my understanding of all change projects. Thus, my analysis of the problems at organizations and the development of plans for them will rely on these primary activities.
The next theoretical foundation that has to be considered is the approach to communication during change implementation. Depending on their culture and personality, people respond to different strategies for discussing innovation. According to de Caluwé and Vermaak (2016), change agents’ behavior patterns can be separated into five sections (colors). Each of the approaches has its own strong and weak points, and they all consider some of the aspects of change as the most important ones. For instance, yellow-print thinking is founded on the belief that socio-political concepts are crucial to organizations (de Caluwé and Vermaak, 2016). Therefore, the common interest is at the center of the discussion, and win-win solutions are viewed as the best outcome for change. Change agents to base their philosophy on this approach are likely to form coalitions, negotiate with others, and include as many opinions into discussions as possible (de Caluwé and Vermaak, 2016). The outcome of such change is unknown since any contribution can be significant in affecting the process.
Other approaches focus on different aspects of communication and planning. Blue-print thinking values rational design, red-print thinking highlights the importance of motivation, and white-print thinking is founded on such factors as spontaneity and autonomy (de Caluwé and Vermaak, 2016). My plan is based on green-print thinking that integrates people’s opinions and their inherent ability to learn (de Caluwé and Vermaak, 2016). This method of leading supports the idea that people should develop solutions themselves. However, it also sees change as a learning process that opens new opportunities for people and demonstrates the limits of their potential, making change continuous and internalized.
Personal Future Action Plan
Key Aspects of Managing Change
To use the green-print model in my future projects, I need to outline the basic notions that will help me in managing change. The first one is the importance of understanding each persons’ perspective about the proposed change. I will pay increased attention to people’s opinions and feedback when developing the plan. This does not mean that this information will become the only determinant for change since it may alter the initial course or create limitations if people are opposed to new ideas (Berlin, Berglund & Lindskog, 2017). This strategy, nonetheless, will help me to identify the areas of concern and topics that may be discussed in more detail to alleviate doubt and gain trust. Using the pillars of green-print thinking, this step is also an opportunity to identify spheres that will benefit from workers’ learning.
The next notion is the role of communication in facilitating change. Using my communicative skills, I aim to support people while they are developing change ideas. The use of feedback also allows one to correct the path without completely changing it or encountering pushback based on the lack of mutual trust (Al-Haddad & Kotnour, 2015). As a facilitator, it will be my responsibility to inspire others to become involved in the process. Finally, as a change agent, I will set clear priorities, roles, duties, and vision for the project. The process of introducing and managing change requires some structural support to be successful. Reaching established goals and milestones helps one to see the results of change (Al-Haddad & Kotnour, 2015). Moreover, if people understand their roles and responsibilities, it may be less frustrating for them to move forward and try new practices instead of old ones.
My plan includes not only my understanding of steps that I have to make to implement change but also the qualities and behaviors that I need to demonstrate to gain authority and approval. I will analyze the available information about each change opportunity and understand why change is necessary for this particular situation. To achieve this, I will practice flexibility and enrich my understanding of different disciplines to familiarise myself with the specifics of the business and its system. Furthermore, I will take responsibility and practice autonomy both for myself and others (Nordin & Belal, 2017). Change projects often require their managers to make decisions that differ from others and assume responsibility for the consequences of their actions. They also need to explain the roles in change implementation to others to encourage participants to be accountable as well. Thus, I will utilize my communicative and listening skills to get buy-in as well.
I will also examine the vision for change and make sure that each assigned role is aligned with it. Here, I will maintain focus on the priorities of change and specific milestones that need to be reached. This way of thinking will provide me with the ability to see the big picture and support the company’s goals by improving its internal processes. Overall, I will aim to employ both creativity and critical thinking to achieve that.
Future Change Situation Scenarios
I will strive to incorporate multiple perspectives and consider people’s contributions instead of relying on the company’s internal hierarchy. The hierarchical approach to change may encounter opposition and lower the workers’ desire to participate in the process (Petrou, Demerouti & Schaufeli, 2018). In contrast, a multifaceted approach that integrates a variety of perspectives offers people an opportunity to contribute, thus increasing interest and making the change appealing. In upcoming projects, I will pay increased attention to feedback (de Caluwé and Vermaak 2016). I will examine the issues that may arise beforehand to prevent them from developing.
Increased awareness about potential risks will help to address problems while they are still insignificant and solvable (Somerville & Vella, 2015). Thus, I will practice risk management and prediction, utilizing communication, analysis, statistics, and existing knowledge. The dynamics of an organization can also contribute to or undermine the effects of change management. I will investigate the underlying processes, considering both explicit rules and underlying traditions when designing plans.
My plan as a change agent is based on the most researched models of change management and green-print thinking. I will try to understand and acknowledge the contributions of all stakeholders, using communication and feedback as foundations for building an effective change plan. Furthermore, I will consider people’s disagreements as a learning opportunity that will contribute to the final result, moving the company and its members forward. I will not guarantee outcomes of change, outlining them and guiding others to develop the best solutions. My action plan relies on collaborative but structured efforts that encourage autonomy, participation, and effective leadership.
- Al-Haddad, S & Kotnour, T 2015, ‘Integrating the organizational change literature: a model for successful change’, Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 234-262.
- Altamony, H, Al-Salti, Z, Gharaibeh, A & Elyas, T 2016, ‘The relationship between change management strategy and successful enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementations: a theoretical perspective’, International Journal of Business Management and Economic Research, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 690-703.
- Berlin, C, Berglund, J & Lindskog, E 2017, ‘Change agent infrastructure (CHAI) — a stakeholder analysis tool for ergonomics-and work environment-related change projects’, in JI Kantola, T Barath, S Nazir & T Andre (eds), Advances in human factors, business management, training and education, Springer, Berlin, pp. 715-726.
- de Caluwé, L & Vermaak, H 2016 ‘Knowing yourself as a change agent: a validated test based on a colorful theory of change’, in DW Jamieson, RC Barnett, & AF Buono (eds), Consultation for organizational change revisited, Information Age Publishing, Charlotte, NC, pp. 185-213.
- Holmes, B, Hahn, C & Perry, C 2017, ‘Building the organizational leader brand: change agent, scholar, thought leader’, International Research in Higher Education, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 45-50.
- Hornstein, HA 2015, ‘The integration of project management and organizational change management is now a necessity’, International Journal of Project Management, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 291-298.
- Nordin, N & Belal, HM 2017, ‘Change agent system in lean manufacturing implementation for business sustainability’, International Journal of Supply Chain Management, vol. 6, pp. 271-278.
- Petrou, P, Demerouti, E & Schaufeli, WB 2018, ‘Crafting the change: the role of employee job crafting behaviors for successful organizational change’, Journal of Management, vol. 44, no. 5, pp. 1766-1792.
- Somerville, M & Vella, K 2015, ‘Sustaining the change agent: bringing the body into language in professional practice’, in B Green & N Hopwood (eds), The body in professional practice, learning and education, Springer, Berlin, pp. 37-52.
- 12 Angry Men 1957, film, Orion-Nova Productions, Los Angeles, CA.