10 Important Characteristics of Successful Change Agents (Implementation)

The change agent may be in the form of a consultant who helps the clients find solutions to the organizational problems. It could also be in the form of a trainer who trains the client to achieve a set of skills that could be used in bringing about the change for optimal outcomes.


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This change agent must have certain characteristics which would identify it to be more effective than others. According to Shaskin and Morris, the effective change agent is, “an extrovert, has considerable interpersonal skills, is creative and takes risks and is good in organizing activities.”

The way in which the change agent manages the process of change is indicated by certain factors and characteristics which have been identified by Havelock and Shaskin. The first letters of these factors together spell “HELP SCORES”. These are:

a. Homophily:

It is the degree of closeness and similarity between the change agent and the client. The closer the relationship, the easier and more successful the change. It is similar to listening to our close friend whom we trust and whose advice we seriously take.

b. Empathy:

It involves an understanding of feelings and emotions and thoughts. This sincere understanding leads to improved communications between the client and the change agent which is very helpful in bringing about the desired change.

c. Linkage:

It refers to the degree of collaboration between the change agent and the client. The tighter the linkage, the more likely is the success.

d. Proximity:

The change agent and the client should have easy access to each other. The closer the proximity, the better the relationship between the two and the easier to develop the collaborative linkage.

e. Structuring:

This factor involves proper and clear planning of all activities that are related to change. If these activities are planned in clear cut step-by-step sequential elements, then the implementation of change would be easier.

f. Capacity:

This factor refers to an organization’s capacity to provide the resources that are needed for successful organizational development effort and implementation. These resources must be adequate and must be available when needed.

g. Openness:

Openness refers to the conceptual environment which is conducive to the development of respect and understanding for each other’s ideas, needs and feelings. The degree of openness between the change agent and the client would considerably affect the outcome of the programme.

h. Reward:

All members expect that the change will bring potential benefits. These rewards should be both in the short run as well as in the long run. The greater the potential for rewards, the more determined the effort would be in making the required change.

i. Energy:

Energy refers to the amount of effort put into the change process. This effort involves both the physical as well as psychological energy. The client’s energy must be well spent and channeled precisely into the change programme itself. The energy of the change agent should not be spread over too many clients, for in that case, each of the clients individually may not receive the needed energy.

j. Synergy:

Synergy simply means that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. This means that the previous factors, discussed above, involving a variety of people, resources, energies and activities together result in synergy, if they support the success of the programme, mutually as well as individually, and collectively are as favourable to the programme as possible.

These ten factors whose initials spell “HELP SCORES”, describe the personal characteristics of successful change agents who have profound influence on the organizational development programmes and processes of change.

Submitted by : Dr. Silas, Category : Management, Tag : Business