Overview: Change agents are individuals or groups who find and manage change across your organization. While they can be internal or external, change agents share the qualities of flexible thinking, a broad knowledge base, a results focus, positive influence in an organization, a willingness to take ownership of the change process, and strong communication skills.

Where Do I Find Change Agents?

There are multiple places where people driving change in your team are visible, inside and outside your organization, and you’ve likely already met them. A few examples:

  • Customers and clients who frequently offer feedback, request features, or regularly take surveys.
  • Team members looking to solve an issue in a process or help others work more efficiently.
  • Managers and leaders looking to upgrade systems or provide new tools internally to stay competitive or get ahead of the industry.
  • Peacemakers and facilitators working to resolve interpersonal conflicts and keep the team on the ball.

The definition of “change agent” is broad enough to include activists at a protest and politicians drafting laws. But on an organizational level, a change agent is really just somebody who wants to tweak or redesign in order to help out. This could be a heavy lift like revamping internal systems, or it could be somebody who campaigns to get the break room snack machine repaired. Change agents tell you who they are, in ways big and small.

Group having a discussion.

What Are Some Traits Of A Change Agent?

  • Strong Communication Skills: Change agents are good listeners and able to synthesize what multiple stakeholders tell them into an easy-to-understand package. They’re often able to bridge the gaps between different departments and groups with these tools and may be called on to mediate disputes or coordinate cross-department or cross-organization initiatives for that reason.
  • Positive Influence: Change agents are generally people who are respected and taken seriously within and without an organization. This doesn’t necessarily mean they have a leadership role, just that when they make a point or ask a question, most of the organization pays attention.
  • Flexible Thinking: Change agents tend not to be restricted by thought processes like “This is the way we’ve always done it.” They may come to you with unexpected solutions or even build one themselves. At a small scale, some will just implement them in their own workflow to demonstrate their effectiveness.
  • Broad Knowledge Bases: Change agents tend to have a broader knowledge base to draw from when developing solutions. They may come to your organization from other industries, other departments within the company, and so on. This tends to offer a fresh perspective, seeing the forest where others are focused on the trees.
  • Strong Institutional Knowledge: A change agent will know your company well. This can sometimes manifest itself in surprising ways, such as a client’s ability to deduce what financial software you use based on the invoices they receive.
  • A Focus On Results: They generally care most about results and see how an approach delivers those results, going hand in hand with flexible thinking and a broad knowledge base.
  • Taking Ownership: Not every idea is a winner, and if an idea doesn’t come together, change agents will be focused on what they could do better next time. Look for people who actively step up to discuss their role and are willing to have the hard conversations.

Smiling woman typing on a laptop.

Change Agents Are Made

Perhaps the most important lesson is that change agents are made, not innate to an organization. While some people are more outgoing than others or have different skills, everyone can drive change if given the tools and encouragement. That means, however, you often have to nurture the tendency to initiate and take the lead on change by creating a culture that encourages being a change agent.

Here are a few ways to find, and encourage, an interest in driving change in your organization:

Make Offering Feedback Part Of Your Culture

Using an online innovation platform, having an open door for staff to make suggestions, asking for recommendations in meetings, or even just setting up a suggestion box in the breakroom, all of these are good cultural approaches to get people to speak up. When everyone knows that you’re listening and taking suggestions, they’re more likely to make them to you and others.

Have A Transparent Process With Ownership

Make it part of your process to regularly check-in when launching a new initiative, product, or project, and as much as possible, lay out what you’ve done, why you’ve done it, and why you didn’t pursue alternate avenues. This helps the change process by clarifying where the key issues may be organizationally and demonstrating taking ownership of both achievements and challenges.

Smiling group having a discussion.

Encourage The Broadening And Deepening of Knowledge

Find ways to have employees share what they’ve learned. This could be a lunch and learn where people who use certain programs like Excel get together and show how they make use of its functions, a program to encourage more studying, or an ongoing, staff-curated playlist of podcasts relevant to your industry for everyone to listen to. It can extend to lifelong learning and tuition remission policies, a library of self-guided courses on topics, or more.

Model The Skills You Want To See

When you show the characteristics of a change agent, people will tend to follow you. When you focus on results, take ownership, and think flexibly, the rest of the team will take note and do the same.

Highlight Positive Change And Those Behind It

Often one of the key concerns about being a change agent is that many don’t know what kind of change others want to see. Regularly highlighting forms of positive change in your organization offers a path for those who aren’t sure where to start.

Keep An Eye Out

If somebody is regularly asked to represent their department, if you keep running into them at internal meetings, if they keep offering helpful suggestions in emails, they’re either already a change agent, or on the way to becoming one, and you can encourage it.

To learn more about driving change, innovation culture, and change strategy, request a demo.

Let the ideas flow.

Launch Your IdeaScale Community Today!

Schedule a Demo

Overview: Change agents are individuals or groups who find and manage change across your organization. While they can be internal or external, change agents share the qualities of flexible thinking, a broad knowledge base, a results focus, positive influence in an organization, a willingness to take ownership of the change process, and strong communication skills.

Where Do I Find Change Agents?

There are multiple places where people driving change in your team are visible, inside and outside your organization, and you’ve likely already met them. A few examples:

  • Customers and clients who frequently offer feedback, request features, or regularly take surveys.
  • Team members looking to solve an issue in a process or help others work more efficiently.
  • Managers and leaders looking to upgrade systems or provide new tools internally to stay competitive or get ahead of the industry.
  • Peacemakers and facilitators working to resolve interpersonal conflicts and keep the team on the ball.

The definition of “change agent” is broad enough to include activists at a protest and politicians drafting laws. But on an organizational level, a change agent is really just somebody who wants to tweak or redesign in order to help out. This could be a heavy lift like revamping internal systems, or it could be somebody who campaigns to get the break room snack machine repaired. Change agents tell you who they are, in ways big and small.

Group having a discussion.

What Are Some Traits Of A Change Agent?

  • Strong Communication Skills: Change agents are good listeners and able to synthesize what multiple stakeholders tell them into an easy-to-understand package. They’re often able to bridge the gaps between different departments and groups with these tools and may be called on to mediate disputes or coordinate cross-department or cross-organization initiatives for that reason.
  • Positive Influence: Change agents are generally people who are respected and taken seriously within and without an organization. This doesn’t necessarily mean they have a leadership role, just that when they make a point or ask a question, most of the organization pays attention.
  • Flexible Thinking: Change agents tend not to be restricted by thought processes like “This is the way we’ve always done it.” They may come to you with unexpected solutions or even build one themselves. At a small scale, some will just implement them in their own workflow to demonstrate their effectiveness.
  • Broad Knowledge Bases: Change agents tend to have a broader knowledge base to draw from when developing solutions. They may come to your organization from other industries, other departments within the company, and so on. This tends to offer a fresh perspective, seeing the forest where others are focused on the trees.
  • Strong Institutional Knowledge: A change agent will know your company well. This can sometimes manifest itself in surprising ways, such as a client’s ability to deduce what financial software you use based on the invoices they receive.
  • A Focus On Results: They generally care most about results and see how an approach delivers those results, going hand in hand with flexible thinking and a broad knowledge base.
  • Taking Ownership: Not every idea is a winner, and if an idea doesn’t come together, change agents will be focused on what they could do better next time. Look for people who actively step up to discuss their role and are willing to have the hard conversations.

Smiling woman typing on a laptop.

Change Agents Are Made

Perhaps the most important lesson is that change agents are made, not innate to an organization. While some people are more outgoing than others or have different skills, everyone can drive change if given the tools and encouragement. That means, however, you often have to nurture the tendency to initiate and take the lead on change by creating a culture that encourages being a change agent.

Here are a few ways to find, and encourage, an interest in driving change in your organization:

Make Offering Feedback Part Of Your Culture

Using an online innovation platform, having an open door for staff to make suggestions, asking for recommendations in meetings, or even just setting up a suggestion box in the breakroom, all of these are good cultural approaches to get people to speak up. When everyone knows that you’re listening and taking suggestions, they’re more likely to make them to you and others.

Have A Transparent Process With Ownership

Make it part of your process to regularly check-in when launching a new initiative, product, or project, and as much as possible, lay out what you’ve done, why you’ve done it, and why you didn’t pursue alternate avenues. This helps the change process by clarifying where the key issues may be organizationally and demonstrating taking ownership of both achievements and challenges.

Smiling group having a discussion.

Encourage The Broadening And Deepening of Knowledge

Find ways to have employees share what they’ve learned. This could be a lunch and learn where people who use certain programs like Excel get together and show how they make use of its functions, a program to encourage more studying, or an ongoing, staff-curated playlist of podcasts relevant to your industry for everyone to listen to. It can extend to lifelong learning and tuition remission policies, a library of self-guided courses on topics, or more.

Model The Skills You Want To See

When you show the characteristics of a change agent, people will tend to follow you. When you focus on results, take ownership, and think flexibly, the rest of the team will take note and do the same.

Highlight Positive Change And Those Behind It

Often one of the key concerns about being a change agent is that many don’t know what kind of change others want to see. Regularly highlighting forms of positive change in your organization offers a path for those who aren’t sure where to start.

Keep An Eye Out

If somebody is regularly asked to represent their department, if you keep running into them at internal meetings, if they keep offering helpful suggestions in emails, they’re either already a change agent, or on the way to becoming one, and you can encourage it.

To learn more about driving change, innovation culture, and change strategy, request a demo.

Let the ideas flow.

Launch Your IdeaScale Community Today!

Schedule a Demo

Overview: Change agents are individuals or groups who find and manage change across your organization. While they can be internal or external, change agents share the qualities of flexible thinking, a broad knowledge base, a results focus, positive influence in an organization, a willingness to take ownership of the change process, and strong communication skills.

Where Do I Find Change Agents?

There are multiple places where people driving change in your team are visible, inside and outside your organization, and you’ve likely already met them. A few examples:

  • Customers and clients who frequently offer feedback, request features, or regularly take surveys.
  • Team members looking to solve an issue in a process or help others work more efficiently.
  • Managers and leaders looking to upgrade systems or provide new tools internally to stay competitive or get ahead of the industry.
  • Peacemakers and facilitators working to resolve interpersonal conflicts and keep the team on the ball.

The definition of “change agent” is broad enough to include activists at a protest and politicians drafting laws. But on an organizational level, a change agent is really just somebody who wants to tweak or redesign in order to help out. This could be a heavy lift like revamping internal systems, or it could be somebody who campaigns to get the break room snack machine repaired. Change agents tell you who they are, in ways big and small.

Group having a discussion.

What Are Some Traits Of A Change Agent?

  • Strong Communication Skills: Change agents are good listeners and able to synthesize what multiple stakeholders tell them into an easy-to-understand package. They’re often able to bridge the gaps between different departments and groups with these tools and may be called on to mediate disputes or coordinate cross-department or cross-organization initiatives for that reason.
  • Positive Influence: Change agents are generally people who are respected and taken seriously within and without an organization. This doesn’t necessarily mean they have a leadership role, just that when they make a point or ask a question, most of the organization pays attention.
  • Flexible Thinking: Change agents tend not to be restricted by thought processes like “This is the way we’ve always done it.” They may come to you with unexpected solutions or even build one themselves. At a small scale, some will just implement them in their own workflow to demonstrate their effectiveness.
  • Broad Knowledge Bases: Change agents tend to have a broader knowledge base to draw from when developing solutions. They may come to your organization from other industries, other departments within the company, and so on. This tends to offer a fresh perspective, seeing the forest where others are focused on the trees.
  • Strong Institutional Knowledge: A change agent will know your company well. This can sometimes manifest itself in surprising ways, such as a client’s ability to deduce what financial software you use based on the invoices they receive.
  • A Focus On Results: They generally care most about results and see how an approach delivers those results, going hand in hand with flexible thinking and a broad knowledge base.
  • Taking Ownership: Not every idea is a winner, and if an idea doesn’t come together, change agents will be focused on what they could do better next time. Look for people who actively step up to discuss their role and are willing to have the hard conversations.

Smiling woman typing on a laptop.

Change Agents Are Made

Perhaps the most important lesson is that change agents are made, not innate to an organization. While some people are more outgoing than others or have different skills, everyone can drive change if given the tools and encouragement. That means, however, you often have to nurture the tendency to initiate and take the lead on change by creating a culture that encourages being a change agent.

Here are a few ways to find, and encourage, an interest in driving change in your organization:

Make Offering Feedback Part Of Your Culture

Using an online innovation platform, having an open door for staff to make suggestions, asking for recommendations in meetings, or even just setting up a suggestion box in the breakroom, all of these are good cultural approaches to get people to speak up. When everyone knows that you’re listening and taking suggestions, they’re more likely to make them to you and others.

Have A Transparent Process With Ownership

Make it part of your process to regularly check-in when launching a new initiative, product, or project, and as much as possible, lay out what you’ve done, why you’ve done it, and why you didn’t pursue alternate avenues. This helps the change process by clarifying where the key issues may be organizationally and demonstrating taking ownership of both achievements and challenges.

Smiling group having a discussion.

Encourage The Broadening And Deepening of Knowledge

Find ways to have employees share what they’ve learned. This could be a lunch and learn where people who use certain programs like Excel get together and show how they make use of its functions, a program to encourage more studying, or an ongoing, staff-curated playlist of podcasts relevant to your industry for everyone to listen to. It can extend to lifelong learning and tuition remission policies, a library of self-guided courses on topics, or more.

Model The Skills You Want To See

When you show the characteristics of a change agent, people will tend to follow you. When you focus on results, take ownership, and think flexibly, the rest of the team will take note and do the same.

Highlight Positive Change And Those Behind It

Often one of the key concerns about being a change agent is that many don’t know what kind of change others want to see. Regularly highlighting forms of positive change in your organization offers a path for those who aren’t sure where to start.

Keep An Eye Out

If somebody is regularly asked to represent their department, if you keep running into them at internal meetings, if they keep offering helpful suggestions in emails, they’re either already a change agent, or on the way to becoming one, and you can encourage it.

To learn more about driving change, innovation culture, and change strategy, request a demo.

Let the ideas flow.

Launch Your IdeaScale Community Today!

Schedule a Demo