As a change agent, you probably feel pulled in multiple directions. The reason? Implementing change in organizations is a delicate balancing act. There are (at least) three dimensions you must continually monitor. Go too far in any one direction, and your initiative may topple.
As you design and implement change in your organization, consider the following factors carefully:
Amount of Change
Change agents regularly encounter more things they can change in the organization that affect the main initiative. Organizational culture, processes in other departments, and activities in other parts of the system impact what you are trying to do. The question is: how much should you attempt to change? Change too little, and you keep too many obstacles in the path of your initiative. Change too much, and you may bite off more than you can chew.
Level of Control
As a change agent, you probably have a vision and a plan in mind for how the change will happen. You must decide which aspects you need to control, and which items you can give up control to others. For those that are required, you lean toward compliance, setting expectations and making sure they are done. Items that are more flexible invite participation by those going through the change, so they can design it for themselves. While engagement drives the feeling of ownership, if everyone is doing change his own way, you lose alignment.
Type of Influence
You must also select how you influence people in your organization. Personal influence works at an individual or small group level, where you can work with people directly to determine how to best facilitate them through the change. Structural influence methods, on the other hand, are the tools, programs and other systems you create to influence multiple people at once. Since organizational change happens one individual at a time, personal influence has the most impact. At the same time, you are only one person, so you must leverage tools that have a broader, yet shallower, reach across the organization.
As a change agent, you regularly make decisions along all three of these dimensions. Keep each of them in balance, so your initiative remains standing.