Changing from within

I’m a change agent.

Or at least I was. Now I am meant to be a strategic observer of change agents at work; no longer meant to get my hands dirty at the coal face of change.

But it’s hard. Stepping back. I still want to be the one to galvanise, to direct — to push the pace like the PE teacher of older; shepherding the less able students around the cross-country route. I want to cajole, support — ensure we all get over the line together. That line where we transform what we do.

I work in system and business process transformation which will impact how Healthcare Research can be… always pause at this part. I want to say ‘managed better’, but often we are not quite there yet. So I say ‘supported more effectively’ as a fall back mechanism, and ask you to watch this space.

System transformation is the easy part. Machine A is dying, Machine B is outdated so let’s build Box C and our world will be a rosier place. Business process transformation tends to be harder — because, quite often, Rosie and Jim have always worked in a particular way. Their way works; in their eyes at least. They don’t want to change the way they work because, well, it’s not always easy to define. The lazy term used is ‘scared’. They are scared of learning new things, being left behind or being replaced by a system/machine that can do the job they do — but better.

Though they’re not always scared. Sometimes they are comfortable, experienced, reliable, supported. They have confidence, which may erode if you take the comfort factor — what they know — away.

So it is. Sorry. So it was my job to convince them otherwise. Now it’s my job to watch how others transform, and that’s the piece of the strategic puzzle I was always missing. Watching a member of the team or workforce rise up and face the challenges of change, and embrace the fundamentals of ‘The New’ offers an amazing, underappreciated sensation in the workplace: joy at others ‘getting it done’.

And now I hear phrases like “we need a better understanding of when things will happen” or “I’m not sure I can work that way, anymore” and it rings calling bells (as in church) rather than alarm bells in my head. I want to be part of their congregation, for I know that by having them onside, their infectious passion for the reason why we are changing will start to rub off on others. They’re not change agents in the strictest sense, they just want to do things differently. They want others to do those things differently as well. They now control how we change.

I may no longer be hands on, but my hands rub with glee and anticipation the minute I see the first sign of that transformation occurring. The touch paper is alight. We are moving. We have changed.