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The Two Key Responsibilities of a Change Sponsor

The Two Key Responsibilities of a Change Sponsor

Once we’ve accepted that efficient sponsorship is the key success factor of change, what do we do? While many managers are eager to play their sponsor role to the fullest, many are also wondering what this means in practical terms. Where to start?

In a previous blog,  we discussed the importance and the means to get a manager fully engaged in his role of sponsor in times of change. Let's now look at practical steps to put this role into action. Based on my experience, the sponsor has two key responsibilities: to get involved and to mobilize. Let’s review them.

To get involved

A sponsor who understands and accepts his role will rearrange his priorities to be actively involved in change. This means he will:

  • Take ownership of change: Take the time to understand it well in terms of drivers, objectives, scope and impacts.
  • Influence change: Participate in meetings and express his ideas and needs.
  • Manage change: Make the decisions required for his unit to prepare for change.
  • Model change: Set the example by making decisions and expressing views that reinforce the desired changes.

To mobilize

As the sponsor of the change in his unit, the manager implements the required actions to mobilize his team for change:

  • Communicate: Hold meetings and open dialogues to inform, listen and explain.
  • Coach: Be present to team members in order to understand their concerns and put into place mobilization activities.
  • Prepare his team: Provide the necessary training and support so that everyone is ready to integrate changes.
  • Support his team: Provide support, coaching and reinforcement during the integration period.

Knowing and understanding these key responsibilities is the easy part. Knowing how to implement them efficiently in an ever-changing environment is a genuine challenge. This explains why many managers appreciate being coached in this undertaking to better play their role as sponsor.

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