Multiple Sponsorship

Every change effort needs a sponsor — this role is crucial.  But what happens when you have more than one sponsor?  This requires dealing with your sponsors in a different way.  With more than one sponsor you’ll need to have a defined process and structure established for how decisions will be made, and how the multiple sponsors will remain in unison.

The sponsorship team could be structured with one individual being granted authority to be the decision maker of the group.  It will be important to ensure communication to all sponsors about what topics have been raised for decisioning, and what the decision was.  The other sponsors should all be informed before the information ever goes out to the broader community.

The sponsorship team may decide that they will make decisions as a group, using concensus, or simple majority, or some other method.  The important part is that they have decided and agreed to the decision making method.  For this to work, you will need to have a sponsorship team that is readily available to you when a decision is needed.

You may also encounter a situation with multiple sponsors where they do not all agree to what the change effort should be, or do not all stay on message when they are describing the change.  This situation can create confusion in the organization and will require extra care to handle.

One way to mitigate this is to funnel all communication through only one source, where the information can be confirmed before being published.  Written communication should follow the process laid out in the communication plan, so when checking the message is needed, make sure that step is included in the communication plan.

When information is verbally being disseminated, and different messages are being given, this may need a facilitated session with the sponsorship team to get them all into agreement and alignment.  You could produce a list of common terms or phrases for them to use, that they’ve all agreed to.  Whenever you hear the message start to stray again, bring them back together and affirm alignment.

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