/CHānj/ /’ājənt/, n.
Someone who helps transform an organization, or even industry, through organizational effectiveness, improvement and development.
In the entrepreneurial realm, everyone wants to be a change agent. With disruptors like Elon Musk — who brought us Tesla and the concept of terraforming Mars — raising the stakes on the definition of the word, the startup landscape is overflowing with wannabe-visionaries claiming to change the world.
But, what does the term really mean?
Leslie Bosserman knows a thing or two about being a change agent. As the owner of Lead with Intention, a coaching practice that specializes in leadership, training and strategy, she has worked with both individuals and Fortune 500 companies. In fact, Nike even hired her for a consultancy stint to help facilitate change at its corporate headquarters in Oregon.
“In life we have moments where we can choose, or maybe default, to be transactional versus transformational and someone who is a change agent, I believe, is intentionally transformational,” she says.
According to Bosserman, transformational change isn’t something that magically happens while otherwise maintaining the status quo. “Transactional interactions perpetuate a system and may keep it going, but not necessarily growing,” she says. “Whereas transformational interactions create exponential possibilities for growth and positive change because they inspire us to be more and believe we can reach our goals or set new ones.”
She says that with transformational change, one notices a need and responds intentionally to it and says, “Hey, I have skin in the game and I’m willing to do something about it.”
Bosserman says that making positive transformational change can be challenging, but it all comes down to how much control one has over their motivating force. Is it based in obligation or inspiration? “When considering how to lead change, I think it’s essential to first identify what locus of control you’re operating out of: external versus internal,” she says, adding that those with internal motivations are more invested in transformation change.
That understanding of one’s agency is key, says Bosserman, because it reveals where your opportunities are for being an effective change agent. And Bosserman is putting her agency where her mouth is. Her new venture, The Makers Place, is largely a byproduct of her experiences as a working mom and the limitations of arranging childcare for the short windows of her time spent at traditional coworking spaces.
Set to open in 2018, Bosserman’s coworking space puts a twist on traditional models by offering onsite childcare while parents work. The children’s program is complete with guided activities, free time, and a mini-makerspace where kids can learn through play.
Bosserman says, “When you take ownership of what change needs to happen, you’ll use your strengths to make it happen.”