The change agent must develop good relations with key members of the system and assist members to relate better among themselves to the point that they are capable of collective action. Clearly this does not all happen quickly. Rather, as the change effort proceeds, the change agent reaches out to more and more members of the system, and, as members come to grips with the concern and the challenge of problem solving, they become more interconnected and more able to collaborate.
A strong creative relationship can carry a change program through the most difficult obstacles. Your relationship with a prospective client system must be carefully planned and thought through if you are going to succeed with a project. This stage provides some specific criteria to help you assess your relationship with a client. If you know where you stand and know how your client sees you, you will be in a better position to build this relationship as the change effort progresses.
One. Understand the client as a social system, how the people and component social parts relate to one another, and to the larger social world in which they are embedded, and
Two. Understand and manage your relationship to the client.
RELATE Sub-Stages: Nine Things for the Change Agent to Consider
What the Change Agent Needs to Know Most in the RELATE Stage
Unquestionably, the successful relationship is the key to successful planned change. We hope that this chapter has provided a useful introduction to the essential features that make up such a successful relationship. We recognize, however, that the chapter cannot stand alone. A good relationship continues to build as it goes along. It will be strengthened by a successful collaborative effort in diagnosis and resource acquisition, and in selecting and installing the innovation. It will also be heavily dependent upon the personality and the skill of you, the change agent, and upon how clearly and adequately you have defined your own role.
To learn more about the RELATE stage, download the full Chapter on the RELATE stage from the Change Agent's Guide eBook.
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