What does it mean to be a successful change agent?

May 31, 2016 | Posted by admin in Faculty Talk   No Comments »

A change agent is someone who guides or brings about a change in an organization.

It can be an external or internal source. A change agent may be a consultant who finds solutions to organizational problems (businesses in need of organizational change often appoint a Six Sigma team to assess and initiate the change). Or, it could even be a manager who reinvents business processes. A trainer who hones the employee and business skills necessary to achieve the change too qualifies as a change agent.

According to Dr. Uday Salunkhe, Group Director, Prin. L.N. Welingkar Institute of Management Research and Development (WeSchool), social entrepreneurs act as the change agents for society. They seize opportunities that others miss, improve systems by discovering new approaches, and create solutions to uplift society.

“This summer, Welingkarites interning at TCS and YES Foundation inspired us all with their dedication and performance of duties as social change agents. They led innovative start-ups and came up with new solutions to social problems. They then successfully implemented these solutions on a large scale for social benefit,” informs Dr. Salunkhe.

So, what is it that makes a change agent successful? According to William C. Morris and Marshall Shaskin, the effective change agent is, “an extrovert, has considerable interpersonal skills, is creative and takes risks and is good in organizing activities.”

We decided to dig a little deeper and came up with a comprehensive list of characteristics and situational factors that contribute to a change agent’s success:


  • Has interest of stakeholders at heart
  • Possesses clear vision and enthusiasm for sustainable change
  • Involves employer in decision-making process
  • Takes responsibility for solving complex challenges
  • Displays courage and confidence
  • Exercises influence
  • Patient yet determined
  • Open to suggestions
  • Approachable and reliable
  • Empathetic and understanding
  • Builds a culture of leadership and learning
  • Encourages communication within teams
  • Defines and sets realistic goals
  • Delegates clear responsibilities
  • Leads by example
  • Motivates and empowers others to become change agents and drive action
  • Remains effective and unfazed under pressure situations
  • Doesn’t shy away from tough conversations


  • Credible
  • Explores and researches best practices
  • Keeps up-to-date on industry thinking, market conditions, and emerging technologies
  • Politically aware
  • Taps into resources and strengths of organization
  • Designs strategy and evaluates feasibility of plan


  • Communicates well across all organizational levels
  • Possesses team building, negotiating and networking skills
  • Builds trust and strong interpersonal relationships
  • Creates a sense of identity, purpose, and joint ownership
  • Mobilizes efforts of others
  • Able to tolerate uncertainty and ambiguity
  • Identifies and resolves conflicts and concerns
  • Acknowledges and manages resistance to change


  • Hemophily: Similarity between change agent and organization members; leads to higher acceptance of the change agent
  • Proximity: Physical or psychological closeness between change agent and organization members; enhances interpersonal relationships
  • Linkage: High degree of collaboration between change agent and organization members; improves productivity and chances of change


  • Culture of openness and collaboration; promotes interdependence and productivity
  • Low existing workload; frees time to adapt to change
  • Ample capacity of organizational resources; ensures change occurs without disrupting ongoing business processes
  • Potential rewards of change; motivates members






Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved. Designed by Singapore SEO SEO Blog  SEO Web Design  Mind Movies