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Six Sigma: Making Good Change Agents

Jul 15, 2008
These people will have to work as change agents and will be responsible for the overall success of the organization's change attempt. Black Belts are generally referred to as Change Agents.

So what is it that Black Belts need to have to make good change agents?

The characteristics of good change agents are listed below:

-The Right Attitude

The candidates for change agents have to have the right attitude to carry out the project, even in adverse and difficult situations. The most difficult part of any Six Sigma project is carrying out the change in the processes as well as the organizational structure.

They have to face problems such as resistance from employees, anger and frustration of colleagues, variant priorities and unforeseen problems. To handle all this, they should have the determination to go ahead while taking everyone together in a convincing manner.

Additionally, they have to be able to diplomatically handle challenging top management, who often underestimates their own duties.

-General Skills

They should have analytical skills, disciplined approach to their area of concern as well as being strong and effective in intense pressure situations. Change agents should also be able to withstand the times of uncertainty and instability during the transition period.

They should be able to break up the operations and rebuild them in such a way that will have visible impact on the financial and political outcomes.

-People Skills

This is one skill which will see the project reach its definitive stage. The success of such projects is ultimately dependent upon the people affected by it. The change agent should have the team building skill, which helps build up interpersonal relationships within the group.

They have to bring out the competencies of the team members to best use and to develop a strong sense of identity and ownership. As change agents, they have to comprehend the resistance that they will face. They have to be empathetic about employees' resistance and acknowledge it.

To reduce this problem, employees have to be involved in the decision-making process.


Appropriate knowledge of the areas of responsibility is equally necessary for the change agents to be credible and respected for his efforts. The general understanding of the business is also expected. They should know about the working of the business, understanding about the money, knowledge about the market, products, product development, marketing, customers, sales and any other aspect of the business.

If the change agent were well connected through out the organization with proper communication and coalition with the stakeholders, then design deployment would be easier.

-Ability To Work On Different Timetables Simultaneously

There is a point in the project when there is a period of disruption due to change. This is called the pity city. Each part of the organization has to go through this. However, executives, managers and employees will be facing this phases at various times. The change agents should be ready to encounter this situation. A tollgate at the end of the control stage will help start the implementation.

Change is never easy. The more efficient the change is, the more profitable the implementation will be. Good change agents can contribute largely to this and make the process a success.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for six sigma professionals including, lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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