How Do We Establish Good Sponsorship?

To train or not to train? Is this the only question?

The discipline of change management has become more and more recognized as a business critical competency. As a result, LaMarsh Global thought leaders are asked to train larger numbers of employees to be Change Agents. A well-designed and executed organization-wide training strategy for these Change Agents certainly is part of a realistic approach. But it is insufficient. Good sponsorship is really the critical success factor. Your change approach must include training Change Agents as well as Sponsors and insuring both are willing to serve designated roles. A better question to ask is “How do we establish good sponsorship?” 

In my experience, your organization will be more successful managing change when Change Agents and Sponsors clearly understand their roles, have the required skills, and demonstrate they are willing to perform the assigned responsibilities. Sponsors need to lead change. Change Agents need to identify who is impacted and the resistance they have to the change and develop a plan to mitigate that resistance. The clarity of roles and execution of responsibilities in this partnership is critical. Sponsors and Change Agents have to be willing to step up to the risks, challenges and responsibilities of their roles in the change process.

No matter how skilled or how willing the Change Agent is, the ultimate responsibility for successful change implementation falls to the Sponsor. The commitment must be to:

  • Define the change
  • Lead the change through words and actions
  • Provide the necessary resources, skill and expertise
  • Address resistance to change openly and honestly
  • Create and implement a comprehensive resistance mitigation change plan


What has been your experience preparing Sponsors to lead change more effectively?

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