Change Agents

Some of the fastest growing communities online are organizations geared toward creating change. The groups are acting as change agents. The first time I heard and read about change agents was in the ezine, Fast Company.

The current (from 9/23/2006) definition of change agent from Wikipedia says that a change agent is someone who engages either deliberately or whose behavior results in social, cultural or behavioral change. Wikipedia also lists management stages for change and employee steps to commitment.

Last week when I was researching to see earlier referrals to change agents, I came upon an article from 1999 by Seth Godin. Seth is one of my mentors although we’ve never met.

Fast Company’s prototype issue was November 1993 and one of the main articles was about Gunther Pauli. Pauli as reported in this article was the CEO of Ecover. His concept was using a new business model. His products for cleaning used only natural soaps and renewable raw materials. In the process, he built the world’s largest ecological factory.

One of the earlier referrals to change agent is in the April 1997 issue about Bob Knowling. Knowling helped to transform Ameritech from the old company concepts to new company concepts. As reported, he convinced 30,000 employees to become part of community service, shifted millions of dollars of Ameritech Foundation money into high-leverage community actives, helped to revitalize the Chicago YMCA, and shared his passion to HOPE, Chicago’s largest inner-city manufacturing training center.

In a training guide for change agents, Annie Layne used the basics used by the Peace Corps to show concepts that could be used for any business.

Become a change agent where you are by reducing your beliefs and motivations to a mission statement or a single sentence to give you focus for your planned change.


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