Implementation Insights Blog

Implementation Management Associates help organizations around the world achieve large-scale, complex change. This blog discusses our insights into organizational change.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sponsorship is #1 Factor in Organizational Change Management Success

There was an interesting question in the Project Manager Discussion Group on LinkedIn this morning--- what is the number 1 reason for project failure? There are lots of contributing factors, but without a doubt, the top reason for project failure and reduced project return on investment is lack of Project Sponsorship.

If you get Sponsorship for your strategic initiative right, you will be positioned for success. Without it, you are pretty much doomed to fail. We find that despite its critical importance, Sponsorship is one of the most misunderstood aspects of organizational change management. It is an active condition, and it’s based on three distinct behaviors that a Sponsor must demonstrate for the entire lifecycle of the project:
1. What is Expressed by the Sponsor
2. What is Modeled by the Sponsor
3. What is Reinforced by the Sponsor

Since project implementation success is directly linked to adoption of behavioral change, the Sponsor must Express, Model and Reinforce the new behaviors. Most Sponsors have never been made aware of how their own behavior contributes to organizational change management and project return on investment.

This is true for all types of projects and strategic initiatives, including healthcare transformation, business process re-engineering, mergers and acquisitions, and organizational re-structurings.

The good news is that you can measure Sponsorship and train Sponsors why what they model and reinforce is so critical to successful organizational change management. If you want to accelerate implementation, limit resistance to organizational changes, and get to project return on investment, focus your attention on Sponsorship.

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