As the saying goes (sort of), “It takes a whole village to create and sustain successful change. One of the most critical “members of the village”is the Change Champion (sometimes referred to as a Change Agent). Embarking on a change journey without the right Change Champions in place is like going on a road trip with a quarter of a tank of gas — you might start out fine, but you aren’t going to get very far! 

What is a Change Champion? 

A Change Champion is a person at the front lines that is called upon to help the Change Team communicate, train, and, most importantly, help navigate their teammates through the sometimes rough waters of change. This means they must be able to connect with the team often acting as a peer coach.

Here are 3 things to remember for new Change Champions:

1/ Personal style 

Change Champions must consider personal style. While some people prefer to work on projects solo, others thrive in a group dynamic. While some are more big picture thinkers, others are more detail oriented. Not only should Change Champions understand their own personal preferences, what makes them tick and how they come across to others they should also be able to identify the style of their teammates. For example, if a Change Champion can identify what motivates an individual teammate, this lays the groundwork for a trusting connection. 

2/ People react differently to different situations

Though we may be on the same team, we are not always in the same boat. Different team members have different needs depending on where they are positioned on the curve of change.  A good Change Champion will be able to identify which stage of the curve each person is experiencing and then adapt accordingly. Here is an example of the six stages of change people experience…

3/ Adaptability to style and stage 

The way a person reacts to the various stages of change is directly influenced by their personal style. A great Change Champion is able to flex their own style in order to accommodate the different situations and styles of others. Because coaching approaches vary depending on style and stage of change, make sure that your Change Champions have practical techniques and tools they can use to ensure their successes as coaches. 

Change Champions who have the right skills and support can minimize interruption, reduce time to adoption, and ensure the stability of your change initiatives.