Lessons Learned as a “Change Agent”

I have experienced two major technology shifts in my career: the web in the late 1990’s and social media, cloud and mobile in the last few years.  In both periods, I have been fortunate to have been given opportunities in my organization to be an early adopter/implementer of these technologies.  Along the way, I learned some lessons I carry along with me and I share with my team  in how to have some success when it comes to leading change.

  • You need champions/advocates and adopters. You need allies.
  • Distribute the work AND accolades.
  • Recognition should be the byproduct, not the goal.
  • Don’t ignore detractors, but don’t let them stop you either.
  • Turn your detractors into your allies and you may have your strongest advocates.
  • Learn to know when to ask for forgiveness and/or permission.
  • You’ll need a plan, but don’t let the plan stifle progress.
  • Better to make mistake moving forward than stagnate and do nothing.
  • Embrace ambiguity.
  • Know that you will make mistakes from time to time. Don’t dwell on them.
  • Learn. Always Learn.
  • Politics do matter.
  • Develop thick skin. You will be criticized.
  • Speak in the language of those you’re trying to convince.
  • Ask why would folks want to invest time and resources.
  • “No” is not permanent.
  • Have fun. Hard to sustain energy for a long time if you’re not having fun.
  • Anticipate tomorrow’s needs and build solutions for them.
  • Look outside your organization/industry to gain perspective, inspirations.
  • Dream.
  • It’s more than technology. It’s about people and culture.


In your experience, what else would you add?


2 thoughts on “Lessons Learned as a “Change Agent”

  1. Kristen Abell

    This: “Politics do matter.” This: “Speak in the language of those you’re trying to convince.” And this: “Turn your detractors into your allies and you may have your strongest advocates.”
    I think we often forget these very important aspects to being a “change agent.” It is important to take into account those additional perspectives and find a way to incorporate those into our planning and advocacy.
    Great post, Joe!

    1. Joe Sabado

      Thanks Kristen!

      I realized long time ago I could not make any changes by myself, that’s why building relationships and getting others to buy into what I try to do (have them co-owners of the idea) are two areas I really put a lot of efforts into. Plus, doing it solo is not much fun. I think I get more satisfaction in being able to open doors and watching others who are willing to follow me go through the doors with me. Conversely, when others have ideas, I try to help them out using whatever influence I may have.


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