There are many principles that distinguish people who become agents of change in their work place. Here are just a few of them, from the story of a young man, named Joseph:
- Be ready to go beyond the call of duty
Pharaoh had two dreams that troubled him, and none of his magicians and the wise men of Egypt could interpret his dreams, until Joseph was brought out of dungeon (where he was unjustly incarcerated) and brought before the King.
He was very wise in attributing the interpretation of dreams to God. There would be severe famine in the land (for seven years) after the seven years of plenty. And Joseph suggested to the King to appoint a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. Not only that, but Pharaoh should appoint officers over the land, to manage the resources of the country in the seven prosperous years, so there would be enough for everyone during the seven years of famine.
Joseph’s advice was pleasing to Pharaoh and his servants. And he said to his servants ‘can we find such a person, a man filled with the Spirit of God?” This is the question many companies and businesses across the globe will shortly be asking, in the face of the uncertainty facing the global economy: can we find a person (man or woman) who can help move our company to the next level?
Here is the deal: Joseph not only interpreted the dream, he went a step further, and provided suggestions for dealing with the challenge based on his interpretation of the dream. He could have interpreted the dream and gone away, after all that was all he was invited to do. But no, he was a discerning and wise man, AN AGENT OF CHANGE. This action earned him the top job in the land, Prime Minister of Egypt, and second in command to Pharaoh – from the prison to the palace.
Many of us seek promotion at work, but we only stop where our duty ends.
2. Have Vision and Foresight
In the story above, the young man, Joseph was very discerning. He had deep insights into the situation that would confront the country, Egypt, as well as the possible solution.
Similarly, to be an agent of change in your work place, you must see beyond the now. You must be a person that can look at the vision and the strategy of your organisation and provide a perspective that will move the company to the next level. Of course, this would require that you have taken the time to study the vision and to be ready to offer a perspective that cannot be refuted.
3. Be Trustworthy and Faithful
Employers do take time to observe their employees and they know those with a genuine interest in their organisation.
The young man in our story was an embodiment of trust and faithfulness. Everywhere he was, in the house of his master, Potiphar, he was entrusted with everything in the house, and even when his master’s wife wanted to take advantage of him, he escaped. Although this earned him unjustified imprisonment, even there, he was entrusted with the care of the other prisoners.
You can never become an agent of change if you do not earn the trust and respect of your employers.
4. Be a Fearless and Confident Person
It is possible for a confident and fearless person to be perceived as proud, but this is not necessarily the case. It’s in fact, the opposite. A confident person is often modest, and secure in him/herself. You cannot influence or effect change in your workplace if you lack confidence. All through history, people who became agents of change have been fearless and confident.
The young man in our story, Joseph, is an example of fearlessness and confidence. He was actually incarcerated because he refused the uncomely advances of his boss, Potiphar’s wife, and would not bow to her pressures.
No company would promote a person who is timid and lacks confidence. If there was someone who should have felt intimidated, it should have been Joseph. Imagine being brought from prison straight into the presence of the highest authority in the land. His confidence in offering advice and suggestions for solving an impending problem made an impression on the king, and that earned him his promotion.
You too can become an agent of change.
Elewechi Okike, PhD MPhil MSc BSc FHEA FRSA MNIM is a Visiting Professor at Qassim University.