1. Sponsoring Successful Change: Your Role as Change Agent
2. Sponsoring Successful Change: What is Sponsorship?
3. Sponsoring Successful Change: Sponsorship—Does it Matter?
4. Sponsoring Successful Change: What are the Keys to Effective Sponsorship?
5. Sponsoring Successful Change: What Does Success Look Like?
6. Sponsoring Successful Change: What Kind of Sponsor Would You Be?
Over the past several weeks we posted five blogs on the topic of Project Sponsorship.
- In What Is Sponsorship? we explained what a sponsor is and why significant change projects require one.
- In Your Role as a Change Agent, we discussed the importance of the sponsor accepting responsibility for the success of the project.
- Sponsorship—Does it Matter? provided two examples of how sponsorship matters.
- What Are the Keys to Effective Sponsorship? identified specifics about ways the sponsor must engage throughout the change project.
- In our latest post, What Does Success Look Like?, we talked about key characteristics of successful project sponsorship.
Now, we would like to ask you to consider how you might approach such a responsibility if you are called upon to sponsor a significant change project. What kind of sponsor would you be?
For the sake of our discussion, let’s say that Halley Consulting Group performed an operational assessment of your medical group and the key recommendation was to implement a culture of operational governance in the group. Such a change is transformational and requires a great deal of focused effort on the part of many people over a significant period of time. To give this transformation a reasonable chance of succeeding, it should be the primary focus for all affected parties and not be sidelined by the pursuit of other “shiny objects,” for example, implementing the latest and greatest management theory. This seemingly simple point is highly difficult to achieve. We all know how many challenges leadership faces daily. Making the commitment to focus attention on implementation of operational governance requires setting priorities and sticking to them. Other priorities must then be delayed.
Answering the question, “What kind of sponsor will I be?” starts with a conscious self-examination about both your willingness to fulfill the role and your commitment to the desired outcome. This means you must answer the question, “Do I believe in the goals of this project and am I committed to seeing it implemented successfully?” Similarly, you also need to examine your ability to fulfill the role. This isn’t about your skill set but about your other commitments and responsibilities. They won’t go away. Will you be able to carry out those tasks and to lead the project? If not, you should seriously consider another sponsor who can. Next, will you be prepared? That is, when you are called upon to participate in project meetings, will you a) show up; b) show up on time; c) have read the materials sent in advance, including the agenda, and d) have prepared and organized your thoughts about the items to be discussed? As we’ve previously mentioned, all of these elements must be in play if your organization is going to achieve the goal.
In addition, you must consider at key times when the need for the sponsor to give guidance and leadership or to make crucial decisions is highly likely, will you be available and willing to make the commitments or decisions needed to keep the project progressing on track and on schedule? If resources are needed that weren’t anticipated initially, do you have the ability either to grant them or to get them from your own leadership? Finally, if subsequent events occur which either require that this project be delayed or even abandoned, will you be able to communicate this change and the reasons for it effectively and in a timely manner to all parties? Will you be able to wind down the project appropriately?
Your belief and focus are critical to the success of any project. Are you willing to go the distance and maintain the rigor necessary to achieve your goals? In the absence of this commitment, any project is doomed to failure. Dedication, preparedness, and the willingness to stay the course and adjust based on any obstacles will lead your organization to success. So, we ask you . . . what kind of sponsor will you be?