What Kind of Change Agent Are You?

As wave after wave of change splashes across the federal sector, a grim reality is slowly sinking in. It is not a matter of whether you like the change occurring in the federal wetlands. Change is now forever and persistent as the federal swamp slowly drains.

The question is how does the federal government deliver services to taxpayers within the constant churn of volatility, uncertainty and ambiguity that has settled over Washington, DC?

Otto Kroeger Associates (OKA), an organization that specializes in leadership and team development through greater self-awareness has some recommendations on how to negotiate the shock waves reverberating through the land of the Potomac.

They claim that most of us deal with change in one of three ways:

To these kind of folks, it is important that change is incremental. Steady as it goes is their mantra. They are firm believers in the notion that haste makes waste. They tend to welcome change but it has to fit within the current structure of things.

Conservers are Ninjas who value experience, tradition, loyalty and doing things the right way; even if those things involve change.

These practical souls applaud change that explores the structure without dismantling it. They prefer functional change along the lines of mend it but don’t end it. Many of them would say don’t rock the jukebox, just add some new songs.

Pragmatists are Jedis who excel in problem solving and see the big picture when implementing change.

I love these kinds of people. They roll into town and say blow the thing up. They almost always challenge the structure with a preference for change that is expansive.

Originators are Pirates who proudly wear the name tag of risk takers. They are doers not talkers. They don’t mind playing the role of the Grim Reaper. They tell it as it is. Their mission statement is “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.”

Since most of us fall into the category of Pragmatists when it comes to change, OKA suggests it is the Conservers and the Originators that we need to keep our eyes on. They point out that most change conflict occurs between these types of characters.

They suggest Conservers view Originators as imprudent, space cadets, divorced from reality, trigger happy and careless about the details.

OKA believes that Originators see Conservers as old school, boring and resistant to new ideas.

With that being said, just knowing what kind of change agent you are is just the first step in the change implementation process. OKA points out the next stage demands we know our role as influencers of change.

You advocate for change through debate by insisting your ideas are heard by challenging the positions of others.

You advocate by offering a sense of shared purpose and exciting possibilities to a brighter change future.

You advocate by offering reasonable alternatives and rational logic that support your change initiative.

You advocate through compromises, concessions and tradeoffs to reach change outcomes that maximize your greater interest.

You advocate by building relationships and coalitions that bring diverse interests together for a mutually shared purpose.

I don’t think there is one right or wrong way to implement change. The truth of the matter is it takes all kinds of approaches to make real change stick.

Regardless of our orientation to change, we are all confronted with the question to either sit idly by when it comes to change or reach for the freedom change represents.

What are you reaching for today?

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