Everyone is on their soapbox chattering about change. However, all the talk can be anathema to effective change. There is an important distinction between marketing change and the behaviors of change. This warrants review of the how one’s perception of their role of change agent can strengthen their ability to navigate and enhance skills. Three key skills for change agents are presented: socialize, ecologize, essentialize (SEE).
Social perception includes networking in person and virtually. This is where the change agent’s observations provide important data. They perceive the climate, key players, strengths and weaknesses. They understand the informal processes better and how they really work. From this data they formulate their plan for change.
With an ecological perception one overviews the entire system. After the change agent studies the social network, its influence and interactions, she begins to strategize transformation. As the field of ecology studies how energy shifts in systems, so change agents evolve the system towards the goals.
The change agent’s ability to perceive the tempo is essential. He knows the terrain, how to the system works and must now determine the pace and placement of change.
The pace of change is dependent on the rhythm of the environment and the urgency of the change. Trying to muscle a stagnant system toward goals external to the norms of their system is ultimately inefficient. Slower steps are necessary. Conversely, a rapid environment may shift easily but, needs consistent direction to make sure that its functions aim towards the goals. Otherwise the activities might wander elsewhere.
The placement of change is determined by the prior steps (socialize, ecologize). The change agent chooses the point that leverages the most benefit toward achievement of the goals. A skilled change agent knows where to intervene with the least disturbance. This maximizes the system’s productivity as it undergoes change.
These indispensable skills (socialize, ecologize, essentialize) are aptly summarized by their acronym “SEE.” Effective change agents focus their perception and take in the human, emotional, tactical aspects of their environments. Then, they deftly apply the needed change towards their intended destination. This vision grounds change without fanfare. This way, change agents maximize the system without disturbing its productive functions. This represents a “SEE Change” from hyped up programs about change that provide dubious substance. The critical difference that makes these change agents more effective is their abilities to SEE with a lack of fanfare.
Marketing how effective you are as a change agent is a different topic, worthy of its own post. Stay tuned for more.
How are your change agent skills?
As a change agent, how well do you SEE?