I recently had the opportunity to host a panel of Executive Sponsors brought together to share their experiences, insights and challenges related to being a sponsor of transformational changes going on in their organizations.
The members of the panel represented companies of a variety of sizes, locations and functions, yet when they shared their experiences related to managing change, they described many of the same challenges as well as outcomes.
Whether we are aware of it or not, change is difficult for all organizations, and I thought it might be of help and comfort to others to share the common concerns and questions voiced at my event a couple weeks ago. Stated as questions, they are:
How do I…
…ensure everyone has the same understanding and interpretation of the Future Desired State?
…make certain the organization understands the priority of the change?
…hold my direct reports and the entire organization accountable for making the change?
…consistently reinforce the Future Desired State whenever I speak or make a decision?
…convince the organization the change is necessary and important to the future?
…decide and communicate the positive and negative consequences of deciding to change or not to change?
…provide the resources and budget to make success possible?
..accept responsibility as the ultimate individual accountable for successful change or failure?
This is an excellent list of important and critical responsibilities all aligned to the success or failure of any change. As Executive Sponsors, leaders must be in front of the change at all times. They must be the architect, the designer, the engineer, the implementer, the ambassador and the advocate. Most importantly they demonstrate through their words and actions that they understand the change and the impact it has on the organization and the individuals. They must be empathetic and supportive of the reactions and emotions of those impacted and assure them that they are valued employees. They need to seek out the help and support they need to be effective sponsors of change and lead the organization efficiently and effectively into the future.
I encourage Executive Sponsors of change and Change Managers to consider these questions above.