Sponsor Contracting: Get What You Need from Sponsors…

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“It was a truly inspiring afternoon! We listened and talked, shared and challenged, brainstormed and collaborated. Kate Duchene, President & Chief Executive Officer of RGP (top middle among the ACMP SoCal board members) opened the meeting with a praise to collaboration and ongoing learning. And boy, did we learn from our keynote speaker, Don HarrisonPresident and Founder of IMA (bottom left, with the soon-to-be certified in AIM grand prize winner, Sari Syeda). And there was networking, happy hour, and more prizes.
I am truly grateful for the opportunity to meet and work with such talented group of change management professionals. Thank you all!

Anka Pruszynska-Garcia
Vice President, ACMP SoCal Chapter

Notes from Don Harrison’s presentation
by Michelle Saykally, Director of Membership, ACMP SoCal Chapter

On Friday, September 15, our ACMP SoCal Chapter was fortunate to host an experienced guide and mentor speaking about the Art of Sponsor Contracting, Don Harrison, the principle designer of a systematic and business-focused approach to predicting, managing and accelerating implementation success, the Accelerating Implementation Methodology (AIM).

Don shared real-life situations in which we could reflect on our own challenges in building that critical relationship with project sponsors – whether their role is an authorizing sponsor for resources and money or a reinforcing sponsor at a more local level. No matter what the sponsor role, Don took us through the roadmap for how we might improve the potential for project success by learning how to contract with Sponsors. Don made it clear from the start, “Sponsorship is the single most important factor in ensuring fast and successful implementation.”

Why do we need sponsor contracts?
 This is the most important tool in your change toolkit!
 Get sponsors to do what we need them to do throughout the lifecycle of change
 Communicate most effectively even when you have difficult messages to share
 All failed Projects can be traced back to poor Contracting

The CAST of Implementation Roles: Champions, Agents, Sponsors, Targets
Think about your last meeting with your Sponsor…
 What went well and what did not?
 What commitment did you have when you left the room

The Value of Contracting

  • Ensure Sponsors are clear on what is expected of them
  • Help drives consistency across sponsors in what they say and do.

Contracting Guidelines

  • Use “active Language”
  • Use non-qualified language
  • Preserve your Sponsor’s currency

Preserving Your Sponsor Currency

  • Their Time, Energy, Money, Reputation

Will your sponsor interaction be a written or formal discussion?

  • What is your past history working with this sponsor?
  • What is the Sponsor’s level of commitment to the project?
  • Perception of risk of the Sponsor not following through
  • Comfort level in providing feedback to the Sponsor

Prepare for the discussion

  • Expressed: what should be expressed and to whom? What does he or she need to tell her direct reports?
  • Modeled: what decisions do you need the sponsor to make? What access do you need? What meetings should the sponsor attend?
  • Reinforced: How should the sponsor recognize and reward efforts? What cannot be tolerated? How will progress be monitored? How will success be celebrated?

For more information about the Art of Sponsor Contracting, please check out IMA’s website blog (click here).


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