The Champion will be your positive voice to get people on board and excited about the change. This person may be an Owner in the change effort, and it may often be the change Sponsor who is also your biggest Champion!
Having a Champion in upper management in your organization giving the message that they support the effort and how important the results are to the organization will help to persuade people to get on board. Equally important, are the Champions who are in the trenches and who will be able to laterally persuade their peers that this is actually a really good thing happening in their lives. These people are also your Change Agents.
The key to a Champion’s effectiveness is their sphere of influence and their ability to inspire and motivate other people. Look for people to be Champions who are respected by their peers, their management, and their direct reports — and who have demonstrated the ability to influence people’s behavior.
In some scenarios, the Champion may have to mandate the change in order to get the desired result. This may be due to the speed of the change that is needed, or to deal with an impacted group that is resisting. In general, mandating is not a desired approach, but recognize when it needs to be used and apply it appropriately.