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How To Align Organisational Change Agents To Common Goals

The Role of Change Agents in Organisational Design Initiatives

When running an organisational change initiative, there are some aspects to consider to be successful.
One of te two prominent ones are

  • to establish a so-called Change Steering Group (CSG) ((Some, like Mike Cohn call this core team Enterprise Transition Community (ETC),  others – in the context of process improvement, CMMI and ISO 15504, call it "Software Process Engineering Group, SPEG".)) which drives the social, cultural, or behavioral change;
  • to institualise Change Agents which intentionally or indirectly cause or accelerate the change within your organisation.

At the internet, you will find a wide-spread range of definitions for change agents and their responsibilities.
The defined responsibilities range from to form, to establish, and to moderate the change steering group up to only being cross-functional multiplicators and promoters of the change on all hierarchical organisational levels.

Whatever which definition of "change agent" you may choose, the following is always true:

Change agents are to your change steering group stronger or loosely connected promoters, multipliers, and itinerant preachers of your change initiative and its goals and objectives.

To be effective, your change agents, have to have to burn for the change. Striving for the change should be one — no, it must be the only one — of their personal goals.




Unfortunately, personal goals change over time. If you are the sponsor or the stakeholder interested in the change's success most, it is your responsibility to help your change agents to align their goals to the overall goals of the change initiative regularly.

Believe me or not — having more than 10 years experience in organisational change management initiatives — you have to have to assure to align your change agents with your overall change strategy continuously, especially when the agents are loosely connected — which is, however, a bad setup of your change initiative.

Ok, let me focus to this mediocre change setup and allow me to improve it to a higher level one.
In most cases, the function of change agents is loosely connected to the change core team only. The change agent sees their own responsibility to promote the initiative in their social and business networks and to offer help and support needed by relaying to the core team only.
The change agent doesn't work personally with the people needing help.

Ok, change agents with this self-understanding, may feel quite well for themselves — however others, wanting to do more — not.

Here are my suggestions to improve this issue:

Improvement 1: establish meetings on a regular basis with all change agents and the core team to discuss future perspectives, problems and possible mutual solutions.

Improvement 2: establish "strategy workshops" within the group of change agents on a regular basis to align their personal goals with the goals of the change initiative.

I start from the following pre-requisites to offer my proposal for Improvement #2:

Pre-Requisite 1: all change agents should share their opinions in the workshop on an equal base.

Pre-Requisite 2: the workshops shall be as short as possible.

Pre-Requisite 3: the workshop outcomes should be implemented at the workplace immediately.

Here is my proposal: run a LEGO Serious Play workshop to align potentially differing goals!

Why LEGO Serious Play?  — Because:

  • LEGO Serious Play is a general management method for problem-solving,
  • LEGO Serious Play is suitable for complex problems,
  • LEGO Serious Play is suitable best for vaguely stated problems,
  • LEGO Serious Play achieves possible solutions when solutions are totally unclear.


Workshop Structure

The following workshop schedule is only a suggestion. Adjust the times to your own depth of reflection needed.


Introduction to the workshop method: warm-up


The participants become acquainted

  • that playing with LEGO bricks in business  is not evil — it opens the creativity instead.
  • to express themselves in stories and metaphors.



30 min

„Image my worst/best experience being a change multiplicator: in which situation I failed/worked well in the past?"

Each participant may choose one of these questions alternatively.


The participants reflect and share their positive & negative experiences promoting the change:

  • What was the situation?
  • Which technique/strategy was successful/failed?
  • Which strength/weaknesses each participant has?
  • Was the participant able to use her internal strength/weaknesses? — If yes, how?




30 min

„What is my own meaning of «Defining the goals (myself) self-responsible?»“


Participants realise that there might be different interpretations being valid to reach a goal.


30 min

„What role do I want to play personally in the change initiative planned?“


Participants reflect their personal relatedness to the change initiative.


Personal Relatedness


60 min

„What is our (among all change agents) common/ shared goal?“


Starting with their personal goals, the participants create common and shared goals of their commitment to the change initiative.




60 min

„How can we reach our common goal(s)?“


The participants identify possible next steps — actions, responsibilities, resources, deadlines — to implement the decisions immediately (starting with the next day).


60 min


If you are on a the road of an agile enterprise transition, be aware that Agile is all about self-organisation. The Agile Manifesto reminds us about the collaboration of individuals and interactions across all business and development silos.

Your change agents are your most prominent representatives in your change initiative. They have to show and prove that trust, face-to-face conversation, self-organisation works. Thus, their overall job is to organise themselves as a team, do teams reflecting, tuning, adjusting on their own continuously and in a way transparent for everyone in your organisation.

If you plan to work on the team values and norms of your change agents in more depth, you should best consider using my Team Charter Canvas (Free!).