Daily Archives: December 13, 2010

Inspector “Change Agent” from the Pink Panther!


I was having drinks with friends over the weekend.

We were talking about change agents and their role in business. You know how it goes, their impact and longevity and their style.

It made me think of the Pink Panther and the famous and hilarious  “Inspector Jacques Clouseau”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pink_Panther

Imagine the scene:

The telephone rings and the caller desperately asks is “Inspector Agent” there?” I have an urgent business problem that needs solving!”

Hold on the Captain says I will get  “Inspector Change Agent” on the case, I think he can help!

“Hello what can I do for you” in a gruff but welcoming voice replies  “Change Agent”.

“I have a serious business issue which needs your particular skills,” the dejected  CEO replies. “I don’t know what to do!”

Well you can imagine the rest. Much has been said and written about the role of change agents. It seems though we can simplify some of the  “change agent types”.

There is:

Inspector  “Lightening Bolt” – Comes in and has a huge blinding impact, Takes few prisoners and blasts his way through to what needs to be done. Everybody around is “sizzled” along the way.

The problem is that he has a very deliberate and specific impact area, that’s the solution too -focus.

Much is about “doing it to others” not much about engaging those around him.

Let’s face it lightening strikes in a very specific way and where it lands it leaves its deep marks. It also leaves a pretty deep impact on those it hits, but they are few and far between.

He brings the flash of original ideas and brilliance to the problem. The change is immediate and may not be long lasting, or only for a very few months.

Then there is

Inspector  “Drip of Water” This change agent is much more subtle and when he does something it ripples all the way through the organization.

His style is more inclusive and gathers followers who become leaders along the way. His effect is more likely to ripple -reach the far-reaching corners of the organization.

His inclusive style tends to be more lasting and re-generational. Change is more of a step change process, and may weaken as a result.

Then of course you have Inspector “Tsunami”

This is the Change agent who is a combination of both of the above. Has a huge impact and long lasting. But wow everybody either get out of the way or get on board fast. This is one fast and adventurous ride!

What is the most effective “agent” for you will be determined by your culture and how much you need to move and how fast.

The point is that change agents come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and they do not have to be the “kick down the door” aggressive person that is often imagined.

Change agents do just that, they change things! the problem is often not with what or how they go about their work, although it can be.

I believe that the problem often lies with the organizations that think they need the change but are not ready for it!

Picture courtesy of Darklord

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