Ensuring you have the correct sponsorship for any change initiative is critical. People look to leaders within the organization to determine whether or not they should embrace the new or different idea, behavior or system. Typically, to find these leaders, people look at an organizational chart and find someone toward the top with a budget who is interested in the work. And, we don’t disagree. In our work, we’ve found this person to be critically important when helping an organization to embrace something new or different. However, selecting only this person as the sponsor may not be enough.
Taking a network perspective, we also recommend selecting sponsors based on connectedness and influence. Informal network mapping allows you to identify those individuals who may not be at the top of the organizational chart but who are the most connected and often influence the actions and opinions within the organization more than those at the top.
The combination of these two types of sponsors have helped us to effectively manage change.
This video from Leader MOOC illustrates this concept well.