Change Agents—Nearly As Important As Senior Leaders

…… Part of The Basics series. First published in November 2016 ……

Following on from my post yesterday about senior leadership almost being on board with digital transformation, it is important to see how the impact from internal change agents has increased this year. It’s quite a counter balance!

I define change agents very simply as “people inside organizations who work to bring about change through actions that may not be within their scope of work and may not even be approved by management.”

The more your organization matures digitally, the more you need change agents. Why?
Because people are getting uncomfortable with change, and you need the activists and rebels to help maintain momentum.

Chart: Factors that impact change

Data from 2016 show that as the Maturing segment advances, new challenges occur. 50% state that internal change agents, activists and “rebels” are a key change factor, up from 27%  for the Maturing segment in the previous report. (Stages of maturity.)

The chart shows that behavior of senior leaders is much more important for organizations at the Starting stage (61%) than is the impact of internal change agents (34%). As organizations mature, we reach a balance of roughly 50-50, which seems healthy to me.

The combination of senior leader behavior and the energy of activists seems like a good balance.