Successful Change Management and Effective Sponsorship

One of the critical success factors for successful change management in organizations is effective sponsorship. It seems like most Sponsors, however, believe that appointing the project team, providing sufficient resources and approving the project plan are all that they need to do. Effective sponsorship is about being visible, not just at the start and the end of the project, but throughout the project.

How do we help Sponsors realise this without making them feel/think that we do not understand that they have other priorities and commitments? How do we let them know that their project team needs them to be around every now and then without having to be asked, and most teams do not ask. They do not want to look incapable or they view the Sponsor’s time as too valuable for their internal deliberations.

I recall in the first BPR project I was involved in, the Executive Sponsor (who was the CEO) asked to be put down as a Core Team member as well of one of the working teams. While he did not attend all the team meetings, he made it for the important ones – the ones that required critical decisions. It made all the difference. The team felt empowered and seemed confident about making recommendations that would radically change the way services were to be delivered to customers. It turned out to be one of the more successful project teams when it came to implementation as well.

What do you think?

2 Comments so far

I think that if you don’t have good leadership in any change management exercise, you might as well not start it at all. However, good leadership is hard to come by, not because there aren’t many good leaders, but because there aren’t many leaders who know the real culture of the organisation. In his article, Leading from the Jet Stream, Patrick talked about how leaders in Singapore’s public sector organisations get rotated from one organisation to the next, and each is moved on even before the seat is warmed. In the few years that they’re helming the organisation, they have to get acquainted with its culture. But how much of it can they really know if, right from the start, they’re sitting at the office on the top floor? They will need to depend on their deputies who have been in the organisation long before them, but which version of the culture will their deputies tell them? I think we all know the answer.

Posted on April 21, 2006 at 09:53 AM | Comment permalink


This is an issue, not just for projects, but also for KM strategy and policy for the whole organisation. It’s incredibly difficult to get very busy senior managers to do more than give the go ahead and sign cheques. In this case, it’s not so important to get them to put their money where their mouth is, but to put their mouth and their behaviour where their money is.

In fact, I think this is such an important challenge, we should do a research project on it! Let’s find out wht the different challenges are, the experiences of other KM teams (successful and unsuccessful) and see if we can identify strategies to overcome it!

Posted on April 21, 2006 at 10:34 AM | Comment permalink

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