lunes, 4 de febrero de 2013

The eight typologies of change agents

Innovation, communication, advertising

Let us talk now about the change agents. “They are persons or organizations that facilitate a planned change”. This definition, that is a modified one from Havelock, indicate us that the change agent must have some specialization and that applies his experience to manage a change that has been planned, this means, that has been defined and prepared conveniently. There are many typologies of change agents. Each one of them differentiates on the tasks they afford and the results hoped to achieve.

Catalyst:  A person will adopt a change because he/she is unsatisfied about the current situation or because no changing brings him/her some cost, physical or psychological. People do not use to forecast the need of a change. Here it is precisely the mission of the catalysts; they will bring up the dissatisfaction inside system. We suppose that dissatisfaction does exist but no one knows how to express it, that is, we are facing a diffuse dissatisfaction. The catalyst is not the one who objectifies, but the one who shows what the change planner has objectified. The objectification of the discomfort must be correct, since otherwise, the catalyst agent will suffer a strong discredit.

The solutions giver is another kind of change agent. He will choose among different possible solutions to get the change happen. He/She has the experience to know when, where and whom must offer solutions. The solutions giver has deep knowledge of the system he is working in, because otherwise he will produce “occurrences” that will disconcert the components of the system and will make the change ungovernable. It is usual to the politicians to confuse the figure of the manager or change planner and the solutions giver figure. A politician can tend, and sometimes they do, to play both roles generating bad consequences for people.

The process assistant is a person that knows the consequences that change process will produce for the organization and people. His/Her mission is to structure and manage the institutional information. He/She has to be a specialist in communication, someone who knows how to approach to people and how to communicate efficiently with them, someone that transmits the messages in the best moment.  He/She has also the mission to teach people how to make things in the new situation.  He/She acts in all the change steps and its figure is essential in the change phases in which people has to adopt new ways to do things that demand learning, because many people will not be able to learn without some help, but will not admit it. The process assistant will become his friend, confident and ally. 

The resource linker is a change agent that provides the system the necessary resources to make the change. He must have a planner mentality. In a military strategy is the one who provides food and materials to the operative’s unities. The resource linker tries to minimize all kind of costs detecting and implanting the synergies that can appear in the system during the change process.

The specialist in research utilization is a change manager who knows how to do a system adopt the results of basics or applied researches. We know, that many success research works, that generally have a high cost for the public sector, are “left in the closet” and do not become in patents or in practice uses. The mission of this highly qualified agent is to make this not happen. This agents use to be organized groups that works between the research organisms and commercial companies. Sadly, there are not many of them.

The trainer of trainers is a specialized change agent that recycles trainers with the target that they not become obsoletes. In change processes, they are who train and prepare the process assistants. They are very specialized figures with a deep knowledge of the systems and methods for updating people.

The counselor  is a solutions giver with a generic vision. Because his generic character they have a great disadvantage competing with solutions givers. His fit in the change processes is difficult and the system use to reject them. They can help to the change planner in the beginning. 

The conflicts managers are expert people that give solutions to the interpersonal and inter group conflicts that use to be usual in every change process. These conflicts use to have its origins in the power redistribution that the change produces in the system. He is a key figure that must own leadership characteristics and must have a high prestige inside the system.

Skill Head