Change Agents

A change agent is a per­son from inside or out­side the organ­i­sa­tion who helps an organ­i­sa­tion trans­form itself by focus­ing on such mat­ters as organ­i­sa­tion­al effec­tive­ness, improve­ment, and devel­op­ment. This is, what the dic­tio­nary says. For me, change agents are every­where, and always behind the next cor­ner.

My behav­iour could be defined as my actions based on sev­er­al given dif­fer­ent pre­con­di­tions, such as my envi­ron­ment, my state of mind and health, the time of the day, my recent expe­ri­ences, etc.. We all know that, when we wake up and realise it’s a bright and sunny summer’s day, our very first thoughts and emo­tions are dif­fer­ent to when we are con­front­ed with Novem­ber rain, chilly winds and dark­ness out­side. We expe­ri­ence a sim­i­lar prim­ing when we just learned about the land­ing of a new big con­tract and don’t care at all about the lame dri­ver in front of us who miss­es the green traf­fic light and forces us to stay a minute longer. If we had learned about the loss of a client instead, we would get quite angry at this poor dozy dri­ver.

In any of these sit­u­a­tions, there are change agents. Some­times, these agents come as indi­vid­ual human beings, such as the beg­gar in front of the Her­mès store who reminds us of life’s con­flict­ing nature. Some­times, a sit­u­a­tion can serve as a change agent: when things don’t work out as expect­ed and we have to adapt our plans accord­ing­ly. Most­ly, we don’t like chang­ing plans because this includes choos­ing second-best options; e.g. our favourite restau­rant is closed today and we have to search for an alter­na­tive. Or, a lit­tle worse, our flight has been can­celled and due to a lack of alter­na­tives we are forced to stay anoth­er night.

Sit­u­a­tions As Change Agents

Each of these sit­u­a­tions we expe­ri­ence every day can be regard­ed as a change agent. By acknowl­edg­ing that a change of the orig­i­nal plan is either nec­es­sary or pos­si­ble, we realise that we have dif­fer­ent options regard­ing our future actions. In these sub­tle moments, there lies a fun­da­men­tal oppor­tu­ni­ty for each of us: we realise that we actu­al­ly can decide what hap­pens next. As basic as this sounds, this is, if you lis­ten to con­ver­sa­tions around you, some­thing that many peo­ple aren’t aware of. Many peo­ple feel that they have to act in a cer­tain way, that there is some­thing like a karma that pre­de­fines our actions. There­fore, many peo­ple feel het­eronomous, stressed, and some of us expe­ri­ences burn-outs.

Each new day offers a vari­ety of change agents. My expe­ri­ence tells me to take them seri­ous­ly, to pause for a moment when they appear, and to realise that I have the pos­si­bil­i­ty to decide about the direc­tion of my very next step — ide­al­ly in a pos­i­tive and forward-thinking way. Of course, each of us will have a dif­fer­ent opin­ion of the nature and appear­ance of change agents: it depends on each individual’s per­son­al­i­ty what kind of change agents she will regard as such. And, there is a fifty-fifty chance whether a change agent’s appear­ance results in a good behav­iour. 

The essence of being aware of change agents is to realise that you have an option to decide for the bet­ter.

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