What to look for in your Executive Sponsor
An Executive Sponsor should follow these 10 key activities to be effective during a change program
The position of an Executive Sponsor continues to grow in importance, but the need to choose the right person to fulfil that role is now even greater in ensuring success of a change initiative. Usually an Executive Sponsor is a C suite member who runs a business unit and is in charge of meeting project deadlines; however, reporting structure matters less than the person’s ability to command respect, motivate and harness the capabilities of stakeholders across the organisation.
- To be effective during a change program, an Executive Sponsor should follow these 10 key activities:
- Set, maintain and express a simple and compelling vision for the transition, demonstrating how it relates to the strategy of the company.
- Gain senior and line management commitment and participation. Employees want to learn about the transition from senior management and their immediate boss.
- Championing improvement, building and maintaining a sense of urgency and the need for change as a priority.
- Confronting those who block the transition, and paving the way for it to succeed.
- Acting authentically as a role model for new habits and setting new expectations.
- Consistently communicating about the transition, using a variety of media and delivering platforms for successful two way communication. Be open to listening and receive feedback.
- Mentoring and coaching management and being open to them during the transition. Creating and keeping a healthy alliance of leaders promoting the change.
- Ensuring that there is funding to provide training and resources to enable the change. Make sure you are investing and providing all the tools to ensure success.
- Enable the alignment of the company’s compensation and rewards programmes with specific success associated with the change.
- Ensure that the specific program is consistently aligned to other organisational change programmes and with the overall strategic objectives of the organisation.
The primary obstacle to progress is lack of effective support from corporate sponsors and senior leaders. Sponsors who are inactive or invisible, who are not at the right level, who do not agree with other leaders around the move, and who waver in their support give rise to more opposition and slower progress in achieving the desired results of the company.