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By Jane Logie

There is nothing worse than sitting on the sidelines as a busy executive watching a programme that will substantially alter your business and feeling unable to drive and influence the right business solutions. 

Bad change fails to engage the right people and this lack of engagement results in sub-optimal business solutions that break processes, lead to inefficiency and have a negative impact on your customer experience. 

Engaging the right sponsor for a programme or project who has the knowledge, skills, and experience to do the job well is a must. 

So, what makes a great Sponsor? 

  • They are visionary, able to paint a picture of the future and to make the case for change. They really understand the nature of the opportunity or problem to be solved and can sell their vision to the wider organisation. 
  • They are trusted by their peers; their word matters and they are known for doing what’s right for the business, not just their bit of it. They are great at building a coalition of support for the programme or project that will stand the test of time.
  • They are self-empowered and brave, able to make tough decisions at pace even if their decisions at times may be unpopular and they are brilliant at busting through barriers at pace when issues arise. 
  • They have “skin in the game”. They feel the pain while change is being implemented and the gain once the business solution has been successfully embedded. They know how the changes being implemented impact teams and are brilliant at driving awareness, knowledge, and desire for change.
  • They build great programme or project teams because they know that with the right people the journey will be more successful. They hold themselves and the team to account, making sure that the real business value is delivered and they do everything within their power to avoid delivery of a sub optimal business solution (at times this means knowing when to say that’s enough and stopping).
  • They provide resources needed to do the job well, including but not limited to cash! 
  • They support a learning culture, positively challenging the team to improve performance incrementally while at the same time not meddling in the day to day running of the programme or project.
  • They celebrate success with the team and the wider organisation; it’s just something that isn’t paid enough attention to. 

To do the job well they need time because being an engaged and active Sponsor is not easy especially when we are talking about our most complex transformation programmes or projects. 

If you have the right Sponsor with the right support, then chances of delivery success are significantly higher. At Sullivan & Stanley, we can help your Sponsors be successful through coaching and mentoring at every stage of delivery. Let us know if you would like to partner.

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Written by Jane Logie
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