You Have Agency
Here's how to use it
It almost always happens. Whenever I work with a group of high potential leaders, we eventually get to the conversation about agency. Someone will start talking about all the organizational dynamics that seem to be getting in the way of progress and then others will join in. Before you know it, everyone is talking about what “they” need to do to make things better and by “they” the group usually means the more senior executives in the organization.
After giving folks space to vent, I usually remind the leaders that they have agency and by agency, I mean the definition of the word that is “a thing or person that acts to produce a particular result.” You have agency. I have agency. We all have agency – the capability to act to produce a particular result.
That can be hard to remember when you’re in the middle of a complex organization with a lot of opportunities and challenges. In a situation like that it’s too easy to give your agency away. Nothing good comes from giving your agency away. It’s like a muscle. If you don’t use it, you lose it.
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