Achieving Change Excellence: Building a Winning Sponsorship Coalition

Andy Andrews

Organizations face the challenge of embracing new technologies, responding to market shifts, and navigating global disruptions like the recent pandemic. Successful adaptation is not a choice but a business necessity.  Achieving effective change goes beyond just changing our processes – it hinges on active executive sponsorship. This blog post explores the critical role of executive sponsorship in change management and practical strategies for fostering it.

The Power of Executive Sponsorship

At Lexonis, we champion “active and visible executive sponsorship” as the linchpin of change success. Prosci, a renowned change management authority, concurs. This isn’t just about mere endorsement; it encompasses active support throughout the project’s lifecycle, involvement in change activities, and influence among peers.

Conversely, the absence of senior leader engagement and advocacy can become the most significant barrier to change management. This insight is drawn not only from our extensive consulting expertise but also from Prosci Change Practitioner training and ongoing research.

Source: Prosci Best Practices in Change Management

Attributes of a Change Leader

The primary sponsor plays a pivotal role in change management. What distinguishes a great change leader? Here are some of the critical competencies required:

  • Vision and Communication: Articulating a compelling vision of the future.
  • Alignment: Harmonizing change objectives with the organization’s direction.
  • Prioritization: Determining change project priorities for resource allocation.
  • Conflict Resolution: Addressing conflicting operational goals.
  • Sponsor Coalition: Assembling robust support among key leaders and stakeholders.

Building a Support Coalition

However, change leaders can’t go it alone; they need a coalition of support. Here’s how to foster it:

  • Compelling Case: Evoke excitement by showcasing change benefits, costs, and risks.
  • Tailored Conversations: Address specific concerns and motivations.
  • Commitment Analysis: Assess alignment and commitment for tailored actions.
  • Data-backed Advocacy: Use evidence to bolster the case for change.
  • Capacity Building: Equip the coalition to champion change.

Engaging Reluctant Senior Leaders

Reluctant leaders are common in change initiatives. How can you get them onboard? Engage them with these strategies:

Demonstrate Benefits and ROI: It begins with unveiling tangible benefits and return on investment (ROI). Highlight the practical advantages of change, shedding light on its path to heightened success and competitiveness. Transform the theoretical into practical results.

Engage Personally and Foster Open Communication: Make it personal by engaging senior leaders in candid conversations. Open channels for honest discussions where leaders express their concerns, doubts, and aspirations. Creating a receptive environment is crucial for addressing their reservations and strengthening their support.

Increase Involvement and Leverage Success Stories: Encourage senior leaders to actively participate in change initiatives. Involve them in the initial design phase, seeking their input. Share success stories of peers who have embraced similar changes, fostering a sense of friendly competition among transformation champions.

Provide Support, Training, and Resources: Bolster the change journey with comprehensive support. Offer coaching, knowledge, training, and resources tailored to their specific needs. Workshops, seminars, and hands-on learning experiences build their confidence and equip them with the skills to champion change. Provide them with the necessary tools, techniques, and effective communication methods to support the change.

Establish Formal Feedback Loops and Celebrate Achievements: As the transformation progresses, establish formal feedback mechanisms. Create channels for sharing observations and feedback. Celebrate and reward the efforts and achievements of leaders. Publicly recognize their contributions and acknowledge their role in advancing the transformation journey. Let this resonate as a unifying and motivating force throughout the process.

Incorporate these strategies to engage reluctant senior leaders and elevate change management success.


In conclusion, active executive sponsorship is the linchpin of successful change management. Nurturing change leadership attributes, fostering a coalition of support and engaging reluctant leaders empower organizations to navigate change confidently and achieve their goals in today’s dynamic business landscape.

If you are interested in learning more, click here  to register for our free webinar on November 30th, ‘Successful HR Tech Implementation: 5 Key Change Management Tips’.

Lexonis offers support services, including coaching the executive sponsor and facilitating engagement strategies. If you are interested in seeing how we may be able to help you to successfully implement and embed your HR technology, contact the Lexonis team today!

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