The Agile Change Agent

Flexibility and Identity

As a continuation of the previous post about making time to be more strategic, I’d like to focus the idea of flexibility.  This was also introduced in the post about building Personal Agility. I really like the concept of personal agility; it’s a natural interest area for me because I’ve worked extensively around the Agile methodology in software development and I have also studied and adopted some Lean practices, both of which appear to be influences on the concepts in personal agility.

In a Lean management practice, a leader learns to start with a vision and then to allow an organization and its processes to develop organically around that vision.  It seems that in a more traditional practice, leaders can sometimes focus too much on managing processes (read: micromanage) and in doing so, they spend a lot of their time focused on things other than the big, important goals of the organization. In other words, leaders sometimes focus on the wrong things. In Lean, the only thing that really matters is the vision and the progress made toward the vision. So, if the organization needs to change to better support the vision, a Lean organization will recognize that and will be willing to make the necessary change.

So, it’s about flexibility but it’s also about identity. If you’re a student of Lean – or a practitioner of Personal Agility – you will learn to identify as an agent of change rather than some static version of yourself that is consistently in need of being changed. I hope this makes sense because it is really important. The key to Personal Agility is building an identity around change – being an agent of change.

Furthering the Concept of Change Agent

This is, in my view, a deeper definition of the term Change Agent that we sometimes hear about. It is often mentioned as one who goes out into the world and causes positive change to happen. You can certainly do that and I certainly think more people should do that, but this definition doesn’t quite capture the nuance of what I’m saying here. Whether you create the change or not, some change is going to happen. Reflect back on the posts about Paradox in Change and Growing the Roots of Change. Change is a constant but how we react to change makes all the difference, and how we react to change is largely dependent on our attitudes about change. So in this way we see that an “Agent of Change” is not just someone who creates change, but also someone who responds to change in a productive, meaningful way that advances them toward their vision even when the experienced change is unplanned or less than ideal.

If you can tease your identity in the direction of loving change rather than resisting it, then you’ve really found some powerful territory to explore. This is what I mean by Change Agent and this is the concept I really wish to explore more as I continue learning about and researching Personal Agility.

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