Creating positive change is a joint effort, a joint responsibility!
People are the center of any Change Management, and people are also the weakest link in any change effort as well. Therefore, change agents are critical, as they have been an invaluable source of knowledge, business visions, insight, and support etc. But more specifically, who are proactive change players, and why are they so critical in business transformation?
Change/transformational Leader: He or she is the responsible top executive of the organization, where change has to be implemented. Change the game is a mindset, such transformational leaders can provide the direction as vision, mission, strategy, as well as leadership skills like decision-making, delegation, and monitoring. This role affects most through congruent behaviors, continuous endorsement of the change and regular communication to keep the momentum. 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. Change leader is a key role that should always be part of the team. It represents the political willingness to go for the change. In almost every case, if this role was not functioning, change failed or was at least delayed in a very costly way. The right leaders know what they want, give clear directions, bring cohesive process, and stand by their word and motivate. One of change pitfalls is that even the people who are advocating change are resistant to change, and sometimes leaders do not set a good example to be change players. It is common for people to propose changes that impact others while exempting themselves. This type of approach is guaranteed to be resisted.
Change Champions/agents: Besides change leaders, empowering the change agents at the different level of an organization is critical to real change. Sponsorship & 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. What a Change Agent most often does is harness the skills, talent, drive, passion and enthusiasm for the whole organization and direct that to a unifying and shared goal. The Change Agent needs to build meaningful relation until you begin to look inside self to value the strength you never knew you had. 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. So the real skill of a Change Agent is the ability to play any role and know which to play, and when. At the same time, a Change Agent cannot achieve effective transformation without motivation.
Change Players/Change Network: Change is complex and multi-faceted these days, it is more than change agent alone that are essential for transformation. There are perhaps a number of people usually internal to the business appointed by an organization to work with an external/internal Change Manager and act as the "voice of the business," and be the conduit into the business to help with communication, process, and organizational changes. Further, creating positive change is a joint effort, a joint responsibility, that goes beyond the inspirational change leaders and the relentless change agents. It needs to involve your entire team at all levels.
Effective Change Management comes from having the right culture, not a one-time change, but exhibiting positive thinking and proper behaviors at all times, 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. Every team player becomes a change agent, then change is sustained.