- Sponsors - individual or group who can sanction the change, consider possible threats and opportunities, and create the environment for the change to happen on time and within budget.
- Agents - these are people who actually make the change happen or who develop the plan, mitigate risks and execute the change.
- Targets - those who are impacted by the change and need to be educated about it as well as involved in the implementation process.
- Advocates - those who want to achieve a change, but lack the power to sanction it.
The sponsors role is critical to ensure that the change occurs. The good sponsor will have the following key traits: power, a vision, resources, a long view, a public role, monitoring plans (a way to keep track of progress of the change), and persistence. Being a sponsor takes time and effort and therefore a successful sponsor only sponsors a few major change projects at a time. He also says that sponsors need to continue to follow through on the change effort even when the going gets tough.
It is also important for there to be a level of consistency between what a sponsor says and the actions/day-to-day realities of its people (e.g. - if not it is what Connor calls a black hole) otherwise change will fail. He says the remedy for the black hole is to have cascading sponsorship or having the initiating sponsor enlisting the support of other key managers below him/her to support the change. All levels of sponsorship must demonstrate a strong level of commitment to the change in order for it to be successful.
What role are you playing in your change effort? Do you have the necessary sponsorship for the change to be successful? Are you enlisting all levels of sponsorship to truly make sure the change will occur?