There he or she is, lurking in the shadows, collecting sensitive information, influencing the environment and acting on behalf of "the director". This Jason Bourne or Mrs Smith is your secret agent, your 007 and maybe your reason as to why change has a chance in your organization.
Your secret agent is your change agent. This hand picked person, released into the wild of your workforce is sowing the seeds of positivism. You understand the power of social influence and herd behavior. We have said it before, but it bears worth repeating, 5% can move 95%. That's correct, a small number of well placed change agents in your organization can mobilize the majority to follow. They are the grease that makes the wheels turn.
Funny comparisons aside, change agents are key to a successful change initiative. In order to use this tactic correctly, leadership has to follow these key principles.
The change agent is not management (only in rare cases)
The agent has tenure in the organization (in most cases but not all)
He or she is well respected by his or her peers
The agent has a voice and is willing to speak up
He or she understands the current company culture
The agent has to be a good communicator
He or she has to understand the vision or the direction behind the change
The agent has to know what is really going on.
These rules are essential in setting up your change agent for success. The last point is really key here for you as a manager. Involve the agent in everything! Make sure that he or she really understands the vision, the reason and the scope of the change. If you are delivering half truths you will fail. Use the secret agent to your advantage, because like 007, he may just save the day.