Whatever industry, profession, community, or culture you are from, we’re certain you have encountered a ‘change agent’ at some time. What is a change agent? A change agent is a person, regardless of age or gender, that lives in the future, is passionate about a purpose or cause; and, can motivate others to believe in and commit to the work of that belief. Change agents usually disagree with current circumstances or maintain the status quo of any situation. These people never seem to run out of energy, even when they encounter resistance against their vision of what the future could be.
Change agents are often in the public view such as Cesar Chavez. Cesar was a self-taught rhetorical genius that inspired Latino idealists to organize themselves into the farm workers’ movement. He called on his people to “Make a solemn promise: to enjoy our rightful part of the riches of this land, to throw off the yoke of being considered agricultural slaves. We are free men, and we demand justice.”
How do change agents motivate others? They use any of the following methods:
- Change agents explain the ‘why’ of their belief. Each change agent has definite beliefs of why the future could be different or better, even if their vision seems colossal in scope. They are able to describe their belief in heartfelt language that all listeners can understand. They appeal to the common denominator of everyone’s life, a place to call home, the love of family, clean drinkable water or even freedom from neighborhood violence. As stated by C. Otto Schamer, “Connect to the deeper forces of change by opening your heart.”
- Change agents convey their vision in ‘loving service’. They are able to demonstrate their vision as a wholehearted offering, not sacrifice, but fulfillment. Then, others recognize this as an outreach of love and enlist into something that is serving a truth for humanity.
- Change agents deliver their vision in multiple formats. They use professional groups to transport their message to larger audiences; and, often use blogs, or Webcasts to reach those that they may not see on a daily basis. Change agents understand that not everyone will understand their message the first time they hear it. The vision or future change may have to be rephrased so that every ‘gets it’ on their own terms