Sponsors play an instrumental role in the success—or failure—of change. If a sponsor isn’t whole-heartedly on board with the change or change process, it can have a crippling effect.
When people aren’t on board during a change in your company, it can make the process a lot more difficult than it needs to be. If your sponsor seems reluctant to cooperate, the first thing you have to do is figure out why.
Here are 3 common reasons why sponsors resist change and what to do about them:
1. They don’t agree with the proposed change.
Equip yourself with all the key data about the current state and the desired state, including the reasons for change. Sponsors may not admit they have reservations about the change. If so, you won’t gain anything by forcing their hands. Instead, create a persuasive picture that sets a foundation for them to change their mindset from negative to positive. Be prepared to fully make a valid case for the varied reasons change is required. At the same time, analyze the consequences of not activating the change: fully spelled out, the prospects of these consequences will often prove conclusive. Weigh with reluctant sponsors the consequences of not changing against the consequences of changing.
2. They agree with the change but don’t have the resources that the change requires.
Maybe you’re dealing with shortage of staff. You’ll have to either justify the expense of recruitment or show how existing staff within the organization can be reshuffled to fill the roles available. If you leave sponsors in the dark without the proper resources and don’t explain how the change can still be executed successfully, you’re setting the change up for failure.
3. They agree with the change but don’t have enough time to support it properly.
If you detect a lack of initiative on the part of sponsors, think about the pressures they’re facing. Help your sponsor make the change a priority. If they understand how the change will make their other work more efficient and successful, they will have more motivation to get on board.