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Briefly describe the competencies required for a change agent and discuss the diverse roles of a change agent. CHANGE AGENTS Change is enevitable in the history of any organizations. Organization that do not change or keep pace with the changing environment suffer from entropy and soon become defunct. Organizations have an internal environment, but exist in an external environment. The internal environment is in terms of the task, structure, technology, social (people) and economic variables, while the external environment is in terms of the larger social, political, economic and cultural factors. To function effectively, organizations have to achieve an equilibrium within the internal variables in active interaction with each other and also with the external environment. However this equilibrium is not static but dynamic. Hence organizations have to modify and change to adapt to the changing internal and external environment. Thus no organization can stand still and ³tread water´ for very long. ROLE OF CHANGE AGENT Some professionals consider three main roles of change agents, of course somewhat overlapping and with varying focus and emphasis. Main roles are: y Consultant y Trainer y Researcher Sub roles are: Catalyst Process helper / facilitator Solution provider Resource linker stabiliser COMPETENCIES OF CHANGE AGENTS Competency is an underlying characteristic of a person that results in effective and/or superior performance (Boyatzis, 1982). After going through various roles of Change agents, it would have become clear that they have to be master of many competencies. It needs to clarify here that it is not possible for a particular Change agent to be the master of all skills / competencies, that is why, Change agents also engage other Change agents / Consultants. It is very difficult to make an exclusive list of Change agent competencies ² the roles themselves indicate many of them. The competencies include knowledge, skills, attitudes, traits, value, motives and it is difficult to draw a line between theses. A skill is used for applications or working for performing a task / satisfying a role, which is a result of a number of visible and invisible competencies. In general, competencies for Change agents may be broadly classified into : y Cognitive Competencies

y y y y y

and Investment analysis. Anticipating obstacles and thinking ahead about future / next steps Using a mix of analytical techniques to identify several solutions and weighs the value of each. i) The complexity of thought processes and their originality ² ranging from µusing basic thumb rules¶ to µcreating new theories explaining complex situations¶. ii) The breadth or the size of the problem analysed. Analytical Thinking Enables a person to understand a situation by breaking it apart into smaller pieces. Cognitive Competencies Cognitive competencies are required for perceiving and thinking and are again a combination of a number of competencies. Analytical thinking. Functional/Technical Competencies These are the skills required to perform effectively in a particular discipline. functional or technical area such as ² Heat Treatment. Comprising of all the above mentioned competencies is also essential for Change agents. Breaking down systematically a complex problem / task into manageable parts. Corrosion. Conceptual thinking. conceptual or inductive reasoning for applying the existing concepts of defining novel concepts.y y y y y y y Functional Technical Competencies Personal (Effectiveness) Competencies (Interpersonal Competencies µConsulting¶ / Problem solving competency. there are four main dimensions to Functional / Technical/ Professional competencies: i) Depth of Knowledge and ii) Breadth of Knowledge and Skills iii) Expertise Acquisition Motive y y y y . Conceptual Thinking It involves understanding a situation or problem by putting the pieces together and seeing the large picture. It includes identifying patterns or connections between situations that are not obviously related and identifying key or underlying issues in a complex situation. According to Spencer and Spencer. or tracing the implications of a situation in a step-by step causal way indicators of µAnalytical thinking¶ dimension in a person are: Setting priorities (for tasks) in order of importance. Conceptual thinking uses creative. Identifying / recognising likely causes of events or different consequences of actions.

the following personal / self management skills are quite essential. doing things that no one has ordered or requested. in making decisions. actions even amidst environmental difficulties and pressures. It also includes the individual¶s expression of confidence in highly challenging situations. Listening. Inter-Personal Competencies These competencies are essential for dealing with other people effectively. A few of the important communication skills are Speaking. Flexibility Ability to adapt to and work effectively in a variety of situations with different individuals or groups. Inter-personal competencies are a bunch of different skills largely overlapping with each other. A positive self-concept perpetuates self-confidence. Questioning. Self Confidence It is an individual¶s belief in one¶s own capability to accomplish a task. priorities and goals indicate organizational commitment. y y y y y . Improving or enhancing the results and avoiding problems or finding or creating new opportunities on one¶s own without anybody¶s orders or instructions are indicative of initiative. Organizational Commitment The individual¶s ability and willingness to align one¶s own behaviour with the organizational needs. Asserting.iv) Distribution / Dissemination of Expertise Personal (Effectiveness) / Self Management Competencies: These competencies help a person to be effective in achieving his goals. doing more than is required or expected in the job. Initiative Initiative indicates a preference for taking action. forming opinions and handling failures constructively. Writing. It is very difficult to clearly enumerate all such slots. Self Control It is the ability to keep emotions under control and retain / enhance one¶s effectiveness even when faced with hostility and severe stress. Communication There are three purposes of communication: i) Ensuring that the message conveyed has been fully understood ii) Ensuring that the conveyed message has been accepted by the receiver iii) Ensuring that the receiver of the message has got motivated to act fordoing what he has accepted to do. For effectiveness of Change agents / Consultants.

Consulting Competency Although Change agents are also considered to be Consultants. warm and trusting relationship with people and need work within and outside one¶s organization for achieving work related goals. a person is able to build and maintain friendly.y y y y Paraphrasing. Relationship Building With the help of this competency. General Skills These skills are necessary for selecting and expediting different roles as a consultant. By these skills. These are needed to complete the various phases of a change project and adapting the consulting role as needed for a variety of situations. in this section. a person is able to focus his / her efforts on discovering. Influence and Impact These skills help in expressing an intention to persuade. Giving feedback. a desire and capability to understand other person is essential. Understanding and Using Power Dynamics For developing effective inter-personal relationships. and Empathising. Help / Service Orientation These competencies are oriented towards a desire to help or serve others to meet their needs. the understanding of the prevailing power relationships in the organization or between people is essential. Negotiation This competency also is referred as a cluster of traits and competencies and enables an individual or groups with differing / opposing wishes or views to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement. understanding and meeting the other person¶s customers¶ or clients¶ needs. Inter-Personal Understanding For having effective inter-personal relations. Receiving feedback. convince influence or impress others in order to get what one wants to get from them or getting them support oneµs agenda or the desire to have a specific effect on others. this is being taken as a specific competency of Change agents. however. Contracting Skills .

System Analyst . procedures after change. Data Analyst .Evaluator Consulting Role Model.Diagnoser . evaluating skills are necessary. Maintenance Skills Creating a sense of responsibility. Confronter. passion for the new system. Sensing and Diagnosing Skills Ability to gather and summarize huge volumes of complex data and to involve the client in understanding and interpretation. Evaluating Skills For determining the success or failure of a change initiative / project.It is the skill needed for building a verbal agreement with a client. Problem Solving and Decision-Making Skills Using a variety of techniques for creative problem solving. Diagnosing Action Researcher . Relater.Survey Designer. Implementing Skills These skills are essential for successfully carrying out a project of planned change. Expert in Processes.