Overallocated Sponsorship

Corporate life can be pretty stressful, and expectations for performance are high.  One of the pitfalls you may run into is a sponsor who is over-committed and barely able to keep their head above water, much less be able to fully support and sponsor your change effort.  This is a tough scenario for the change team.

Ideally, when you don’t have full sponsorship, you can cancel or postpone the change effort until the timing works better.  Sometimes this may not be possible, so you need to understand the motivation for the sponsor to keep the effort going, even when they can’t be there for you.

  • Your change effort may have been established as one of their performance goals and they’ve made a committment to their management that this will be done.  This motivation is very much about the sponsor’s compensation, and about keeping their job.   In most cases, when this is the underlying motivation, the change effort will continue on and you’ll have to do the best you can with the level of sponsorship you can get.
  • The change effort is actually their idea and something they feel passionately about.  If this is the case, the sponsor really has motivation to be involved and be the full sponsor that they need to be.  There may be something else that got assigned to them as a higher priority that is getting in the way of their involvement in your effort, or some other impediment has surfaced.  You’ve got a possibility here of being able to cancel or postpone the effort.  When the time is right, if your sponsor still has the passion for the change, it can kick off again.
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