Daryl Conner

December 18, 2009

When You Need to Confront a Sponsor

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So here we are with all this knowledge (see my three previous posts) about what sponsorship is, its crucial role in realizing change objectives, and how it can be effectively applied and yet we find ourselves sometimes not utilizing what we know.

How is it possible that seasoned practitioners, well versed in the theory of sponsorship and its practical application, are reluctant to leverage this information?

Here are some examples of situations when sponsors (or agents and advocates) need to be confronted by us as change practitioners:

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December 15, 2009

How to Spot (and Help) a Good Sponsor

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In the last two posts, we’ve examined things about sponsorship that many of us believe to be true. We’re also looking into why we sometimes stray from these axioms when we design interventions and/or interact with sponsors.

In my work, I’ve found that the most effective sponsors display a common set of characteristics. Of course, they’re expressed differently depending on the organization, the circumstances, and the personality of the sponsor, but in general, highly successful sponsors are purposeful, attentive, committed, decisive, and resolute. I’ll break these down into very specific statements and actions.

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December 8, 2009

The Geometry of Sponsorship

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Let’s continue to explore what we know about sponsorship, and examine why we don’t always act in ways consistent with what we know. In addition to the axioms I talked about in my last post, there are certain relationship dynamics that offer us reliable ways to interpret events and help the sponsor.

The majority of the strategies used to manage the change process depend on certain relationship configurations that exist between sponsors, agents, and targets. The most common among these configurations can be described as Linear, Triangular, or Square in nature.

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December 1, 2009

Essential Truths About Sponsorship

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Of the four primary roles in the change process (sponsors, agents, targets, and advocates), none is as crucial to successful realization of change as that of sponsor. Yet, as practitioners, we often don’t bond with these leaders effectively enough to carry out our responsibilities. I think this is the biggest problem we face as practitioners: Even though we know how important sponsors are to successful change, we don’t always do what we could to help them succeed.

Guiding sponsors toward new behaviors and mindsets is the heart of our profession. Maybe it’s time to invest more energy in exploring what we need to learn and what needs to shift in our own actions so we can be more influential with sponsors.

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November 24, 2009

Getting Help for a Project in Crisis (Part 5 of 5)

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The more an initiative’s makeup reflects being “in crisis,” the greater the likelihood of failure, the lower the quality of results and the longer it takes to reach intended outcomes. To compensate for these risks, sponsors who succeed with change typically ensure that more attention/resources (mindshare, knowledge, skill, money, people, courage, and discipline) are allotted to these endeavors.

Fortunately, there is a clear pattern for leaders who consistently achieve their change goals.

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November 19, 2009

The Change Practitioner’s Role in Encouraging the Right Kind of Due Diligence (Part 4 of 5)

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I hope this blog provides all its readers with a vehicle for sharing not only ideas but tools and techniques as well. At Conner Partners, we use an assessment tool to help us evaluate the overall challenge an organization is likely to encounter when implementing a particular initiative. It focuses on the three dimensions I have been writing about:

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November 17, 2009

Assessing Your Initiative’s Degree of Difficulty (Part 3 of 5)

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One of the ways agents can bolster their credibility with sponsors is by not coming across as eager to apply implementation assistance to every initiative that surfaces. This can be accomplished by encouraging sponsors to engage in a Degree of Difficulty assessment and discussion that we as agents help facilitate.

A change is difficult when it falls somewhere between easy and impossible. The “difficulty criteria” is clear (How much change is involved, the desired result, and how crucial it is to succeed). However, determining if a particular project is “in crisis” is not a cut-and-dried calculation.

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