This excellent question is a growing challenge since most organizations face hyper competition and so seem hooked on instant answers and urgent innovation. Change agents, regardless of their formal authority, face enormous pressure to address everything that stands in the way of reaching the company’s goals. Or they often think they do.
I’d advise that we first clarify roles. Consider the tugboat as our agent of change. Tugboats help maneuver the much larger ship in tight quarters. It cannot succeed if it is at cross purposes with the captain and crew of the ship itself. The tugboat must pay close attention to certain fundamentals while the crew ultimately guides the ship.
So it is with organizations. As a CEO myself, I can confidently say that we count on the change agents within our company (RBB) to fight certain battles, while expecting management to run the business. Keep in mind that the unique culture and goals of each firm play a big part in this. Management steers. Change agents watch out for and fight against common problems that arise when the organization gets off track; they tug us to where we belong.
The organization is counting on you to act when you see these things happen. Left unchecked, each of these situations can significantly erode otherwise remarkable progress. By no means is this a comprehensive list; to those in the org chart without formal authority it can, however, give license to speak up and do something. Be constructive and do your part to help “tug” the company back on course.
Warrior: When you are constructively facilitating the organization through the challenges I’ve outlined here, do so with confidence. You may be the best if not the only person to see the direct impact of these issues on your company’s performance. If not you, who? If not now, when? When the organization sees you fighting constructively and for all the right reasons, you will become the champion of change after all.
In Part 2 I will highlight 5 more areas where change agents like you need not fear to tread. How do you or your organization pick battles? Is there a situation out there that is deterring progress? Send me your questions and let’s continue this discussion!
Bruce grew up in a middle class family in the Akron, Ohio area that, like many families, was deeply affected by a loved one’s mental illness. Overcoming these daily challenges led to the resiliency and resourcefulness that helped prepare him to lead others as an adult.
Bruce counts himself blessed to share his life with his wife Donna and their three wonderful children: daughters Kelly and Kara, and son Kirk. As time permits Bruce enjoys golf, writing and learning how to live in the country.
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