A change agent is simply an advocate for change, who follows up on those convictions. He or she not only expresses a desire for change, but also attempts to rally those around them to join the cause. While change agents can be of any rank, they must have influence to make an impact on those around them.
Change agents work best from within the company. Frequently, companies will hire a speaker, or a consultant to help drive change. While this supports the process, it is no substitute for having a management team that is committed to a vision and is helping steer the company towards improvement.
While the term ‘change agent’ is generally viewed positively, keep in mind that the person may not taking the organization in the right direction. In the old adage, “One bad apple can spoil the whole barrel”, the bad apple is a change agent. Be on the lookout for people with influence who are not aligned with the company’s goals.