1. Angela

    Thank you, again, George! All of the characteristics you listed above are those I have found in my very best principals! I firmly believe that the relationships, relationships, and relationships set the foundation for true change. Being a “servant leader” requires that base. Also, being a good listener (which goes along with being patient)…so often we want to jump in and fix everything by answering right away, but forcing ourselves to sit back–listen–reflect–then respond, can also be critical in establishing meaningful change. I am trying to be that change agent now, as a teacher, in a very traditional system, and it certainly is difficult, but my patience and persistence will pay off! Thanks, as always, for being the voice of encouragement to those of us stuck on an “island”!

  2. Do we loose the possibility that teachers might be the change agent when we are evaluating in the ways teachers are now being evaluated? Is there a way to measure this or should it be measured? Does everything of value a teacher does have to have a way to be measured so they can prove it?

  3. Ron Ng

    Thanks George for the great precis: My leadership reflection and thinking about things I can and cannot change continues to make me wonder about whether great leadership is indeed also great social constructivism.
    Being resilient, determined, visionary and influential enough to change others, to be prepared to also change oneself and aiming really to change the world and society we live in. We have an Aussie term called ‘bloody mindedness’ and it isn’t meant pejoratively. It is about being focused, refocusing when in adversity and when coupled with true moral purpose, forms the foundation of service leadership, for the greater good. Another Aussie term is that one should not get too ‘full of oneself’, have one’s ego being the end rather than being able to be level headed, outcome focused, ready to laugh genuinely at absurdities.

    • Eric

      Unfortunately too many leaders acquire positions of authority based on work experience and successes they have accomplished as a follower. The art of fellowship, to steer the galley from the rowing deck is probably a lot different that steering it from the top deck as a leader. I like Ron Ng’s point about social constructivism. Maybe we need more trained leaders as change agents, that can influence and direct an organization through its culture, rather than those that acquire leadership without understanding it and expect everyone to follow directions.

  4. Clifton Frolick

    Fantastic article. Sobering thoughts that provides the basis for managers to effect change

  5. Change agents don’t often find themselves in a conducive environment, whether it is the culture of a school or business . For that reason, there has to be someone pushing for a culture shift- many times this is the change that needs to happen so that more leaders can be created. The culture is what continues on long after a change agent has left, as you pointed out in the Steve Jobs example.

    What you have observed in schools is parallel to what I’ve seen in companies . It is most successful when it starts at the top. The smaller the org, the more likely you are to be successful. The larger, the more persistence it will take.

    Great list of insights .

  6. Very good article. I am never inclined to believe that change agents are found at the top, within a school building. Most of the time, those at the very top, are not actively engaged at the teacher level unless there is, of course, a behavioral issue with a student. Change agents will help to create more leaders, in spite of.

  7. twitter_POUSDSupt

    I really appreciated your post. I agree that culture does play a part in either creating the fertile soil in which change grows or culture itself requires care and feeding. I found your comments on the importance of leading by example by showing, not just telling, to be helpful in thinking through the change process. As always, you have pushed my thinking. Thank you for sharing your insights!

  8. pauline curtis

    My experience is that there is a need for us to be taught “how to make change work for us.” Working in an environment where there is a great deal of change those who are on the frontline delivering the core business often feel that they have no control over their careers. What I have found interesting is that when we are encouraged to look for areas where we are able to exercise choice then this realisation can be transferred to how we feel about change in the workplace. For me change has allowed me to bring my passion2work. How have I achieved this? I have noticed the thing that really annoy me and come up with an innovative solution. So yes I am a change agent and as such I have made
    “change work for me.”

  9. Sue Guilfoyle

    Thanks George, after reading your comments I have a new clarity of vision as I head back to school tomorrow for our 2013 school year here in Australia. As principal, we can only serve our communities if we stop, reflect, regroup and redirect. Thanks for the shared wisdom and insight.

  10. Derek Suttie

    Thanks very much George – I must say, I greatly look forward to your blog posts…much to appreciate and enjoy!

    • pammylou

      I like that they use the “Illuminati” one eye picture for the article,and a big one too!The change agent is a sneak!
      It is watching YOU! hahahaha

      Changing things ….just for kicks! They think they are like (clueless) secret agents! Get a real life. =-)

  11. Jill L.

    This is a great article and one every leader should read. As a former teacher, current school counselor, and future administrator, I would like to add a few words about the “power of influence”. A good leader is not someone who micromanages every aspect of teaching and learning but instead, a good leader is one who has the power to influence good teaching and learning by forming positive relationships with staff, empowering others to lead, and looking to improve things that have the most influence over student achievement. The focus of change in any aspect of a school should always be on what is best for the students.

    • George

      Couldn’t agree more…Micromanaging will shut many people down in my opinion, as opposed to make them want to rise up!

  12. DrJay

    Fantastic article. I love your perspective. It is definitely applicable in my world (outside the education arena), but it really makes me wonder how good my kids’ education could be if the administrators would take the handcuffs off of their “change agents”. They are there; contributing as much as they can, but they are too often stifled from the top.

  13. Ernest Esparza

    The Arizona State University Masters of Health Innovation degree is a perfect degree for those wanting to be a change agent. I speak from experience as i am enrolled right now in the online Masters degree right now.

  14. Janice Driscoll

    Just last night I listened to a president of Xerox speak to a room full of educators about this very topic. One word that kept popping up was “disruption” as a driver of change. Do we want to be the disruptor or the disrupted? I liked his message a lot. It was “disruptive” to my thinking.

  15. Kelly Wiseman

    Excellent! Clearing the path . . . Cultural change has to be part of the leadership plan for change to take strong roots.

  16. pammylou

    Change agents are the type of people who have any marketable skill.Anyone can go around complaining about things.The top change agents make the money from the horrible foundations that are ruining the world,and the rest of the useful idiots they enlist have no idea what they are doing.Corporations hire change agents and use them to make it appear as the movements has consent.The ends justify the means which is a dishonest approach.Alinsky was a change agent,and in his last interview ever with Playboy he said he was looking forward to going to hell! He couldn’t wait to organize it! Then he died shortly after.I sure hope he got his wish! And I hope you all can join him for a big party there!It’s where change agents go you know.The whole thing is based on the change isn’t so great,it’s the demonic process of ridiculing the people whose behaviour you so rudely try to change is all the fun! In other words….live it up useful idiots!

    • Zandu

      Oh my ghost! All the faggots are loose and crawling now.

      Change or change agent can never change you, unless you change. And if you change because someone wants you to be changed, you are not living your life. You become a filthy faggot looking for the change. You change to even more filthy, dirty, cheap flies ready with another breed of faggots!!!

      I have leaders with the concept of changing the organization in which we work. Surely they can change but the position and location of stationery and furniture in our offices.

      They can never change us because we don’t want to change the way they want us to be. That is our RIGHT.

      Change to what you think is best for you and others and the institution or organization you work for will see a diverse, creative, and excellent change. Don’t you like to work with a group of people with different styles, qualities, attitudes and mindsets? If you do then just change to the changes you choose for yourself and the changes you look forward to see in yourself. No change is so real than the smallest changes you make in yourself. JUST CHANGE TO CHANGE!

  17. […] Change Agents are people with the vision and skills to implement a change in an organizational culture or business practice. Because there are so many different people involved in every aspect of the digital revolution, it is difficult to have a complete overview of the entire operation. Therefore change agents are looked at to spearhead their particular sector to reach its full potential whether it be in telecommunications, broadcasting, or media and computer programming. […]

  18. Anthony Williams

    For the educated minds, this a great article. It is important to have change agents for the only constant is change. Knowing that, we do realized that things will change. So, change agents are needed to help guide that change in a positive direction.

    Thus, if you don’t like where things are heading, you should become a change agent to help guide change. Don’t be a complainer! We need doers. And the intelligent person knows there are positive and negative to every situation. Let’s become change agents of positive social change; as talk is cheap…

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