Change Agent Strategies


Eileen Travis, Saint John, New Brunswick November 1996

  • Read consistently and continually. Make it your business to know who's who, who respects who, what's what, and what is driving who.
  • Check assumptions — your own and those of others. What you hear or see may not be the reality of the other person.
  • Assess and use the multiple skills of other people. You cannot hold all the skills and time needed for effective investigation of change options.
  • During discussions encourage all the thoughts, needs, and biases of those present at the table — get everything out into the open.
  • Understand the values and socializations of others — each group in society is glued together by visible and invisible histories, norms, and needs.
  • Say nothing unless you can back it up with checkable facts. Your personal credibility is crucial.
  • Play devil's advocate during discussions; if one course of action is proposed, ask what may happen if an opposite course of action was taken.
  • Be single-minded about your goals: being distracted or indecisive won't help you or anyone else keep the desired result in focus.
  • Take a personal stand. Be clear about what you value and want to see changed. Be prepared to claim and defend your decisions. Claim a mind of your own.
  • Be prepared to work, to produce results; rather than talk or make excuses.
  • Teamwork will get you a lot further than going it alone.
  • Key skills for many of the above: keep your focus; have a vision of the end result; praise others when appropriate; and hone your communication skills.