09 Nov The Agency Agency
Agency is the capacity to take action in a given environment; it is often thought of in common language as “free will”. Agency has an important role in mental health and our attitudes towards the world; when we feel our actions have an impact on the world around us and our own health, we are more likely to succeed. When we can divide what we do and don’t have control over, we have a healthier sense of self and a better idea of what our actions can and cannot change. An important concept in the world of agency is the locus of control; an internal locus of control means you feel you write your life’s story, while an external locus of control means you feel uncontrollable forces dictate your life.
We want to cultivate a sense of agency and internal locus of control in all human beings, and it’s possible to start with the members of your organization. The more individuals feel they are in control of their lives, the happier they become; happier people are more productive, and given their understanding of how their actions impact the universe, they can direct their energies in more positive and meaningful directions. There’s a lot of sense to the idea that you cannot change others; you can encourage change within them, but it has to come from their own decisions. This is an internal locus of control.
Most organizations, especially businesses, must pose themselves interesting questions about agency. In some ways, agency must be relegated to particular parties; if all staff could make all decisions, it would be impossible to get anything done with all of the adjustments, overrides, and debates that would occur. Hierarchical organizational structures will inherently grant more agency to certain individuals than others; it’s important to denote who has what power in order to avoid unnecessary conflicts. It’s also key to demonstrate to organization members what agency they have within their own roles, and how they can best utilize it to improve the organization. A customer service representative may feel quite powerless at times, but if the organization demonstrates a willingness to listen to suggestions and provide feedback when the suggestion is implemented, it can very powerfully demonstrate that individuals within the organization do indeed have agency.
As important as agency is, as it relates to power within a hierarchy, it’s equally important to remember how much agency you have at any moment in your life. You can focus on the past or future, or you can focus on the present. You can worry about a million things, or you can focus on your breathing. You can skip breakfast in the morning, or you can get up an hour early. We are constantly faced with a wide array of micro decisions; right now you could decide to stop reading this blog and try to hitchhike across the country, leaving behind your obligations.
At Talent Bureau, we think of ourselves as an agency that is to say, we are a speakers agency that wants to help you give the members of your organization a sense of control. We do this by working with the best speakers around, who have through the power of their own sense of agency created something unique. Every individual on the planet has a unique, irreplicable subjective experience that, when coupled with the power of agency, can make the world a better place. Our speakers have taken that to heart, and changed humanity for the better; you can too.