By far the most common form of change agent is the SOLUTION GIVER. Most of us at one time or another feel that we have the best answer to someone else's problem and a Jot of the time we are probably right! We also often think that we know how to get our solution communicated to the client, and on that we are almost always wrong. Clients can be notoriously obstinate, especially when they think someone is trying to "sell" them something.
Some of the things would-be solution givers need to know they can probably get from advertising executives and other experts in the art of selling, but there are some other things that this Guide would like to get across to the solution giver.
Among these are the following:
- Don't ignore the real needs of the client system, and make a sincere effort to find out what their needs are before you decide they need what you've got (see Stage 3).
- Do what you can to adapt innovations so that they are maximally relevant and beneficial for particular clients (see Stage 5).
- Have more than one solution to offer and think flexibly and diversely about the number of ways you might be helpful as a "resourcer" (again, see Stage 5).
- Try to provide help for a client beyond the point of "adoption" so that they can use and continue to use the innovation to best advantage (see Stage 7).
- Help a client to be a good judge of innovations, yours included, so that they can evaluate and decide for themselves when one should be adopted and another discarded. In the short run this may work to your disadvantage, but in the long run it will build trust between you and clients so that they will listen when you have a good solution (see Stages 2 and 7).
- Try to build an open and authentic relationship with your would-be client. Without encounter, dialogue, and knowledge-sharing, neither you nor your client can know your actual helping potential for each other.
- Finally, try to make yourself more than a solution giver by becoming a resource linker.