The no ! secrets to effective Change Management is…. effective claer Sponsorship
This presents the top six contributors to success identified by participants in the 2012 benchmarking report:
Active and visible executive sponsorship
Frequent and open communication about the change
Structured change management approach
Dedicated change management resources and funding
Employee engagement and participation
Engagement with and support from middle management
Each tutorial in this series will address one of the six success contributors and will present findings, implications for change management professionals and additional data on the topic available in the 2012 edition of Prosci’s Best Practices in Change Management benchmarking report.
Module 1 of the series presents success contributor #1: Active and visible executive sponsorship
Success contributor #1: Sponsorship When prompted to identify the greatest overall contributor to success, participants cited active and visible executive sponsorship. In each of Prosci’s seven benchmarking studies over the last fourteen years, sponsorship was the top contributor to success identified by study respondents.
And sponsorship is not #1 on the list by a small margin. In the 2012 report, sponsorship was cited four times more often than any other contributor. The image below shows the top six contributors to success, with font size scaled to show the frequency of responses. Effective sponsorship provides legitimacy and authority to the change. When senior leaders are engaged and present, people notice.
When they are talking about the change in public and private, people notice. When they are demonstrating their commitment in both words and actions, people notice. Employees in the organization will evaluate and judge the importance and priority of a change based on what they see and hear from senior leaders, which is why sponsorship is so critical.
, if senior leaders are absent, disappear after kicking off a change, abdicate their role or delegate sponsorship responsibilities to others, people notice that too. To be effective, senior leaders need to actively and visibly participate throughout the project.
They need to communicate directly to employees about the need for change. And they need to build and maintain an engaged and supportive sponsor coalition of their direct reports and other key leaders throughout the organization.
The success of the project (and conversely the number of obstacles faced) relates directly to the quality of sponsorship on that project. Sponsoring change does not happen behind closed doors or with a pen signing checks and charters. Sponsoring change takes involvement, and it requires commitment and action from senior leaders. “Sponsor” is an active role, not simply a title.
The change management professional’s role is to support and ensure that the role of sponsorship is being fulfilled. Implications for change management professionals
1. Know who needs to be involved A critical output of Phase 1 in the Prosci 3-Phase Organizational Change Management Process is the sponsor assessment diagram. Using a bottom-up approach and a series of assessments, the sponsor assessment diagram is a graphical depiction of which leaders need to support the change with their parts of the organization.
The sponsor assessment diagram gives change management professionals a structured approach to identify who needs to be involved in sponsoring the change beyond the primary sponsor that launched and funded the change. This work is especially important for changes that originate from one part of the organization (say, IT) but impact employees across other parts of the organization. The output of this work is an important aid for change management professionals as they guide and focus sponsor activities.
2. Make your requests concrete One of the most important contributions of change management professionals related to sponsorship is making the role concrete. Rather than saying “I need you to sponsor the change,” you need to be clear and concrete with your requests. Your job is to move “sponsorship” from a fuzzy concept to a concrete set of steps. Most senior leaders have the ability to be great sponsors when provided with the specific direction and action steps you need from them: “I need you to have a one-on-one with this resistant senior manager, I need you to do a 15 minute kick off for this group, I need you to send an email with these three points to this group.”
In Phase 2 of the Prosci 3-Phase Process, a sponsor roadmap is created to document the specific activities required of the sponsor. This formal deliverable becomes part of the change management plan. Learn how to create a sponsor assessment diagram and a sponsor roadmap at a Prosci’s 3-day certification program or in the do-it-yourself methodology tools: hardcopy Change Management Toolkit ($389) or online Change Management Pilot Professional ($489).
3. Make it as easy as possible for them The 2012 benchmarking report includes a new section on tactics for creating active and visible sponsorship. One of the key lessons that comes out of the research is that change management professionals need to do the leg work for sponsors. Depending on what you need from your sponsor, this could mean a variety of things including getting them on calendars, writing the emails, creating the presentations, capturing the talking points, etc.
The easier you make it for a senior leader to be a sponsor, the more likely you are to get the level of sponsorship you need to drive project success and outcomes.