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Engaging & Maintaining Sponsor Involvement

How can we ensure our senior leaders champion the change?

This module demonstrates how the sponsorship of senior leaders in organizations is crucial to the success of change initiatives. The module describes the role of sponsors, typical characteristics that sponsors exhibit and outlines many specific ways that change managers can ensure sponsors are engaged throughout the change process.



12 page facilitator guide
3 engaging training activities
33 slide presentation deck
03:45 min summary video
13 handouts
6 resources in reading guide



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Materials included


Summary Video


Explains concepts in a concise, memorable manner. Includes a bulleted summary at the conclusion and matching job-aid handout PDF.


Facilitation Guide


Comprehensive yet easy-to-follow instructions for facilitating workshops with the above training activities. Includes useful tips and sample answers to questions. No expertise in the topic area is required.


Presentation Slide Deck


For use during workshops in both PDF & editable PPT formats. Slide numbers for each activity are referenced in the Facilitation Guide.


Reading Guide


Useful for participants wishing to deep dive into the module topic with links to the web's best articles, books and tools. PDF format.


Activity Handouts

Everything you need to facilitate successful training activities.

  • Commitment to change postcards
  • Job-aid summary
  • Leading Change from the Top Down – Case Study
  • My sponsorship style (completed example)
  • My sponsorship style
  • Sponsor characteristics flash cards
  • Sponsor characteristics half-page posters
  • Sponsor Roadmap Worksheet (2 pages)
  • Sponsorship word search solution slide
  • Sponsorship word search
  • Terminology flash cards
  • Top Tips for Engaging & Maintaining Sponsor Involvement.txt


Tools & Templates

Used during training activities. These can also be used for change implementation.

  • Sponsorship-style self-assessment
  • Sponsorship-style self-assessment: Completed example
  • Sponsor roadmap worksheet


This module will activate your organization to:

  • embed the knowledge of the critical importance of sponsorship in achieving successful organizational change
  • give change leaders and managers clear examples of activities and techniques that they can use in order to gain and maintain the interest and support of sponsors
  • consider which of the seven ‘archetypical’ sponsor characteristics (or mixture of such) they see in sponsors in their organization, and how they can best coach and engage with various sponsors to promote change success
  • alert sponsors and other managers on the dangers of assuming that all individuals involved in a change are as far along the change curve as they are

This module will empower your teams and individuals to:

  • be aware that gaining high level sponsorship and engagement throughout the change process is critical
  • understand that senior leadership need to live the change themselves in order to best affect action
  • acknowledge the risks of failing to garner sufficient high level engagement in a change process

This module will boost engagement levels during the following change methodology stages:

Pre-implementationDuring ImplementationPost-implementation

Training Activities


Summary Video & Discussion

TARGET AUDIENCE: All learners, however there is an additional reflection question for more experienced learners SUGGESTED TIMING: 20 - 45 minutes

The module subject matter is introduced using a short animated video. The knowledge check and personal reflections questions are then used to explore learners’ understanding and experience before moving on to other connected activities.

Facilitators can make use of a range of techniques such as brainstorming or debates to explore the knowledge check questions.


Case study: Leading Change from the Top Down

TARGET AUDIENCE: All learners SUGGESTED TIMING: 40 - 60 minutes. An additional 20 minutes reading time may be necessary if learners have not done the pre - reading of the case study.

This activity is based on the case study ‘Leading Change From the Top Down: The Importance of Executive Sponsorship’ by David A. O’Brien. Delegates will read the case study and respond to discussion questions about it.

The case study can be sent to delegates prior to the workshop, along with the invitation to read the case study in preparation for a discussion that will be held during the workshop. Alternatively, copies of the case study can be handed out at the beginning of the workshop and delegates given time to read through the case study. Allow 15 to 20 minutes reading time if delegates have not read the case study.


The Sponsor Roadmap

TARGET AUDIENCE: Learners new to change SUGGESTED TIMING: 20 - 30 minutes

In this activity, learners create a sponsor roadmap which outlines the activities which a sponsor should undertake with the project team, other sponsors and senior executives, employees and external stakeholders to support the change initiative.




Compatibility Guide

This module will boost engagement levels during the following change methodology stages:

Change Management MethodologyStage / phase
AIM (Accelerated Implementation Methodology)Generate Sponsorship
Kurt Lewin’s Three Stage Change ModelUnfreeze: Ensure there is strong support from upper management
Prosci Enterprise Change Management ModelStrategy: Engage primary sponsor
Prosci Change Management LeversSponsor roadmap lever
Bridges Leading Transition Model for ChangeNew Beginnings: Model new attitudes & behaviors
Beckhard and Harris Change Management ProcessBuilding the change team
John Kotter Eight Step Model for ChangeCreating the Guiding Coalition
The Change Leader’s Roadmap modelPhase II – Create Organizational Vision, Commitment & Capability
Phase VI – Plan & Organize for Implementation
LaMarsh Change Management ModelPlan and Prepare the Change
People Centered Implementation (PCI) ModelCommitted Local Sponsors
Viral Change Roadmap ModelEngagement
General Electric Change Acceleration Process (CAP)Leading Change