Monday, January 12, 2015

How to Empower Change Agents?

The true empowerment breakdowns the out of dated rules and crack down the anti-digital minds.

Change is at the heart of the modern organization and in the mind of forward-thinking business leaders, however, more than two-thirds of change initiatives fail to achieve the expected result. Besides applying the latest technology tools and optimizing business processes, first things first, how to recognize your change agents and how to empower them to make "impossible possible"?

Empowering the change agent is critical to real change: There will be bumps and roadblocks along the way, mainly they are those anti-digital mindsets, such as silo thinking (refuse to have cross-functional collaboration); polar thinking (we are right, they are wrong); non-critical thinking (reflexive, not reflective), stereotypical ('looks' like leader, not think as a leader), small thinking (locally right, globally wrong) or simply those 'resistance to change' mind. At the same time, the change agent needs to build meaningful relation until you begin to look inside self to value the strength you never knew you had. 

Changing Management requires a real commitment by the organization and visible, persistent executive sponsorship as well: The spirit of the organization comes from the top. Executive team members need to have unified, unwavering commitment to the change. In some situations, it will also be necessary to remove 'the old way of doing things' in order to make progress. It will also be necessary to remove people unwilling to change, those standing in the way or those who turns to be “roadblock” for the changes and transformations organizations need to achieve.

Winning hearts and minds with genuine concern and meaningful action open doors for the change agent's agenda: How to crack the nuts of those non-digital thinking mindsets. Change agent network plays a vital role in this, as they are from the culture to be changed. Find out what people’ real concerns are. Listen, ask tough questions. Be there when the difficult problems pop up. Dealing with the real concerns of those who can put up roadblocks. Sometimes implied power carries the day, but more often solving real problems and winning hearts and minds with genuine concern and meaningful action opens doors for the change agent's agenda. When they like you, trust you and know your ideas will make the company more “healthy” and profitable and make the society more prosperous for the long term, they can live with the disruptive pain of change.

Creating positive change is a joint effort, a joint responsibility: Keep in mind good managers make tough decisions. If the end state is desirable it is highly probable tough decisions will need to be made. Creating positive change is a joint effort, a joint responsibility, that goes beyond the inspirational change leaders and the relentless change agent. It needs to involve your entire team at all levels. That comes from having the right culture, not a one-time change, but exhibiting positive thinking and proper behaviors at all times, every day, to commit to the values and expectations you have for the organization. The change will not happen quickly, but can and should, and will happen over time, regardless of what you do or don't do. You don't just lead change, you live with it.

Sponsorship and empowerment goes hand in hand with any change initiative. Whoever the sponsor is, it has to be okay for the change agents to fail, but fail forward and learn from failures, so the empowered change agents can take bold steps to drive the changes, from incremental improvement to leapfrogging digital transformation.   



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