The reality of globalization means that institutions and communities need a new kind of leadership capacity—a capacity to deal with uncertainty, inspire others to transcend old habits and mindsets, orchestrate adaptive and creative problem solving, manage the stresses and losses associated with change, and produce results with others that go beyond what is currently imagined or foreseen. This kind of leader must be a dynamic change agent.
A change agent uses creativity, power, and authority to intervene and mobilize people to face tough realities. One does not have to be the boss to be a change agent. Leadership is an activity, not as a position. A change agent must be able to stimulate a process where people tackle essential issues and modify their values, habits, practices and priorities in order to make progress. This deep learning and problem-engagement process can be difficult, painful, and even dangerous—but it is necessary if a group, team, organization, community or nation is to progress.
The Global Change Agents: Leading with Commitment, Creativity and Courage Executive Education program at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government provides an in-depth understanding of this leadership model as well as important insights about the personal qualities involved in serving effectively as a change agent. In particular, this program addresses how to:
- Strategically intervene in a system to get attention and mobilize resources
- Determine key adaptive challenges the team, organization, or community faces
- Diagnose the psychological, emotional, and behavioral demands of a specific change
- Manage defensive routines, resistance, and work avoidance dynamics
- Orchestrate creative problem solving
- Use personal and formal power wisely and responsibly to attract and sustain attention
- Harness personal talents, predisposition and style in a productive manner
This intensive five-day program is designed to get participants to explore deeply held assumptions, perspectives, and beliefs about leadership, power, influence, and what it means to effect change and make real progress. It demands full engagement and commitment by participants.