An unspoken but tacitly accepted expectation is that a good leader should also be a change ambassador (we wrote about this in more detail in an earlier article) and not only should they be change ambassadors, but they should also inspire and support others to initiate change. After all, the more people a change ambassador "infects", the easier it will be to make change happen.
Create the right environment!
One of the most important things is to provide a space where team members feel safe, where there are no prejudices and where they can learn and adapt to change at their own pace. Team members should not feel that once they 'fail', that label stays with them forever - they should be given the right amount of opportunity and time to achieve their change goals, and this should be done with respect and patience. In other words: slow down so that change can really accelerate.
Work as a team!
A change ambassador should never work alone - working together can not only 'infect' others, but also inspire and support them. In fact, they can inspire and support him or her to initiate change. Working together also provides an excellent platform for learning the technical tools and the theory of change.
Solve it now or accept it!
As change ambassadors, we want to solve everything (which of course is neither possible nor expected). When you've just solved one challenge, you'll have another, and another, and another, and another. These challenges are often taken on by change ambassadors, especially at the beginning of their careers, and they become psychologically involved in the situation, problems and difficulties of the company. This in turn can lead to burnout and possibly burnout in the long run. This can be true not only at an individual level, but also at a team level. We also need to teach the team that not everything can be done at once - the key is to always do the best we can, depending on the situation, and if something fails, focus on the next challenge.
Plant the seeds!
Long-term sustainable change usually starts small. With an article sent to a colleague, a workshop, a brainstorming session or just a chat over lunch. The job of change ambassadors is to plant these seeds. The more seeds you plant in the organisation, the more people you get the crumbs of change to, the easier it will be to then implement change at an organisational level, as people need time to accept change and new traditions/habits take root.
The question of ego
Just as the ego is an issue in the Change Agent Manifesto, it is not absent here. When a person's ego reaches a level that can no longer be controlled, it can manifest itself as arrogance, ignorance, pride, perhaps insecurity or jealousy. Egotists often believe they know everything, that they work harder, are smarter or better than others. They make excuses and blame others when things don't go as planned or expected. This is true not only for team members, but also for change ambassadors - as change ambassadors, it is even more important to keep our ego in check and make sure that the outside world sees it that way.
Solutions instead of problems
Don't sell solutions, sell problems. If you "sell" the problem (or, from a positive perspective, the challenge) to the team, rather than the finished solution, team members will be more involved in the solution and value creation process and will be much closer to the customer, which can lead to a faster, more efficient and customer-friendly solution.
Don't be afraid to ask!
“Need help? Can you please help me?”
Two questions that even professionals with decades of experience are often afraid to ask. We are afraid to ask for help because we think we will look weak and forget to ask if the other person needs our help. We shouldn't be afraid to ask any question, because not only can it make change easier, but it can also give us a huge emotional charge.
Experiment instead of change
Often we don't think about it, but the wording makes a big difference, especially if we want to make an organisation-wide change. A significant proportion of people don't like change and certainly not in the workplace. That is why an easy tip to apply is to choose the right wording. Experiment rather than change is the key word, because people are much more positive about experimental things, because they still have a sense of temporary, reversible, as opposed to change, which sounds very permanent. And if you have that, it's best to get volunteers to take the first steps.
Courage, humility, curiosity
These three qualities are the lifeblood of a change ambassador:
Be courageous to inspire others to be courageous.
Be humble to create space for all team members and their ideas.
Be curious so that you can learn and come up with the best possible solution.
We hope these nine tips will help you become a better change ambassador! This article is based on a video from Scrum Ukraine, available at this link.