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  • Writer's pictureIain Fowler

You can leave your hat on...

As we continue on our path to support our partners to deliver their change ambitions, we’re unpicking and gathering more insight on what it takes to deliver change and transformation.

We often hear people (ourselves included) talk about “Change” and “Changemaking” in a very idealistic way, almost as if “Change” is a mythical destination and the “Changemaker” is a wizard who somehow makes it all happen.

In reality, this is far from the truth. It’s much grittier than that. Substantial change often doesn’t happen without several smaller changes or shifts along the way and more often it’s a collective, not one person delivering it.

That said, it begins with a catalyst, a spark, a voice with a vision of what a brighter future looks like. A person or leadership group who set the vision, foster consensus and inspire others towards making that vision a reality.

And individuals and teams are leading change, and getting stuff done, all of the time, everywhere we look.

Of course, major social or environmental initiatives and global movements tend to generate the headlines, but every day change is beginning and being delivered. Local community groups unite to make a difference in their neighbourhoods, councillors fight for support for vital local initiatives, founders with a game changing idea look to engage financial backing to deliver a product that makes our lives better, and in corporate establishments, employees, managers and directors, with a vision of better, transform their companies. Change projects are everywhere, small and large.

At The Change Arc, we focus on these catalysts with a vision to develop and support them in ways to succeed, faster and more effectively. This can be as simple as supporting them in defining a plan and communications strategy to achieve a particular goal, or (as often happens), working with the longer term in mind, developing and refining the vision, creating the roadmap and supporting multiple missions inside a much larger journey.

We tend to do more of the latter than the former because the route to change is rarely simple, it involves twists and turns. Stakeholders, audiences and environmental factors change. There are always setbacks along with successes, so it isn’t just as simple as creating a few nice comms in isolation. It’s about creating momentum with every mission, achieving milestones that help to unlock the next opportunity, being agile and adaptable, whilst staying true to the vision and why you are doing this in the first place. Our partners rely on us not only for tangible project management and powerful communications strategy, but also personal coaching and development. It’s what makes us unique.

This brings me to “Hats” and the cryptic title of this article.

As a Changemaker, you’re probably wearing many hats to achieve your goals. You may be comfortable and competent wearing some and less wearing others. Identifying the important elements required to achieve success is important not only for defining and planning your own path, but also for identifying, building, and inspiring a network to add the required expertise and momentum where needed.

Recently we’ve been building our take on what these hats or roles look like, and converting these into functional project considerations to offer solutions in our work with partners. The thinking isn’t new here, but by putting these hats through our project lens, and leaning on it to navigate our path, we’re creating successful outcomes.

So what hats need to be worn? Or roles that need to be played?

You may have to play the role of…

The Trailblazer

Lead the vision with purpose and passion for the change.

The Strategist

Develop the thinking, plan and route to success

The Influencer

Collaborate and Communicate to bring others on the journey.

The Explorer

Explore new ideas, take Risks and Challenge assumptions.

The Expert

The person with the Knowledge, Expertise and Credibility.

The Optimiser

Keep things on track, optimise and manage the Resources

The Indomitable Force

Display Grit, Courage and staying power despite setbacks

The Ethical Change Agent

People focussed, Values-based and Transparent.

This list could be seen as daunting, and it’s rare for an individual to be confident (or competent) in all areas. You may have to turn certain aspects up or down at different points, but at some point or another they will probably be required.

Inside each of the 8 roles, we’ve defined certain attributes and success criteria which help us to understand your individual profile and how you work, then we can identify areas of development or the roles we may need to fill as the project progresses.

We also keep these roles in mind when conducting our initial “Basecamp” activity, a starter process that brings together an understanding of you - the values you live by, the trigger moments that have driven you into action, the strengths that allow you to achieve and previous experiences that have built your credentials. Basecamp fuels the creation of your core narrative and communication framework. It is the foundation that allows you to take the central role to inspire others.

From there, we set to work.

If you’d like to find out more about how The Change Arc can help you move the needle, please drop us a line through our website, socials or email

As Coaches, Thinkers, Creators and Critical Friends - The Change Arc blends personal development, strategy, insight and communications to support leaders and changemakers to unleash potential and deliver impact.

We’ll be releasing more articles on each of the above areas throughout the coming weeks, so if you’d like to hear more, please subscribe to our content

Iain Fowler is the Co Founder and Managing Partner of The Change Arc, a strategic communications agency and community dedicated to unleashing changemaker potential. After 20 yrs in the media and communications industry, Iain now focuses his time on developing individual changemakers and organisations communication capability and connecting this with strategy to effect positive change.


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