Photo by iam_photography via Flickr
Being a change agent is not a convenient way to live. It's risky, because there is no recipe. You think about it a lot - it becomes a kind of life goal, even though you know the situation is only temporary.
So why bother? Because I don't feel alive unless I've taken a side. I always think about victory. What would it be like to carry that football, outrun the other team, and hit the pigskin to the other side?
I think I would be bored if everything were calm at work. I have this inner need - to make order out of the chaos.
Clearly it's psychological. It's me. Which is why it's silly that pop management culture tends to lionize change agents as somehow better than everyone else.
It is true that doing change well takes a lot of skill. You face resistance no matter what. You often feel like you've had the s**t kicked out of you, frankly.
Because at the end of the day there's this double bind:
Make things better - but don't make people upset in the process.
I have seen some creative solutions to that.
- One is to simply implement the change on the ground and not tell people that it's happening until it's nearly over. It's a pretty neat trick, if you can get away with it.
- Others put the policy through and count on the fact that most people don't take much time to read anything when it's their turn to do a review. This goes over a little nastier - but people tend to get over most things that don't directly affect their lives.
- Another way is to have a leader proselytize for change through intensive communication. This can work well, but you've got to use an army of people to carry it out, and you must have support from the opposing camp. Because the opposition is always steep.
Often thinking about how to move things forward, I check my Blackberry first thing in the morning.
But who knows, maybe I am just a statistic.
* All opinions my own.