The Importance of Sponsorship in Change Management


In this second blog in our series on building the effectiveness of your change management team, we look at sponsorship. A senior leader has to champion change and ensure resources are allocated to build the change management team. Who sponsors the change management team in your organisation?


Who owns change management?

Often when building the change management capability of an organisation, there is no natural home for it. One must consider where change management capability best sits within the organisation. Change management is often located in HR or the IT department, and on occasion is part of the CEO’s office. Where will the change management capability be the most effective in your organisation? There is no single correct answer. However, the location of the change management capability efforts will often guide who should sponsor building the change management team and capability.

A senior sponsor

The sponsor will ensure that change management is championed at senior levels within the organisation. To ensure successful outcomes, the sponsor must be senior enough to influence senior leaders and ensure the appropriate allocation of resources to deliver the required outcomes.

The business case for change management

A business case is vital before the steps for building your change management team can be put in place. The business should follow the structure and format of any other business case within the organisation. It should set the business context and outline the business drivers for building the organisation’s change management team, and document the desired future state and business outcomes. The business case should clearly articulate the required financial and personnel investment to build the change management team within the organisation. Ultimately, the business case must make a strong case for investment. What are the expected business outcomes and how will they benefit the organisation? Unless these questions can be answered, it will be hard to ask senior leaders to invest in change management.

The importance of being sponsored

Without an influential sponsor to champion their efforts, there is no guarantee of success for a change management team, no matter how knowledgeable.

One organisation needed to change and adapt to significant upheaval in its industry or risk becoming redundant in its field. Unfortunately, while the company’s change practitioners understood the process of change management, the company leadership did not. As a result, the team had no senior business person to sponsor their program of change.

Without a senior sponsor to champion the necessary change program to keep the company competitive, the change management team struggled to succeed. Major projects lacked the change resources to be truly effective, and the change management team as a whole had no clear plan. This resulted in a lack of direction and senior buy-in

Ralleo’s experience shows that organisations with a clear, senior change management sponsor are far more likely to achieve their change management goals and thrive.


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