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Rick’s Reflections | When the Sponsor Has an Identity Crisis

Over the past few months, an incredible team of employees has been working to refresh the LaMarsh Global website and turn it into a fresh, innovative digital change management information and resource center.  I’m so proud of the work that has been done.

From the start, I knew I would be the Sponsor of the change. As a thought leader in change management, I definitely felt confident in my role. I knew that the project team, the overall staff, our clients, as well as you – those who look to us for change management industry leadership and innovation – would rely on me to do my job and to do it well. Most importantly, I had to be able to articulate the reason why this change was necessary — what the desired state would be and how we would get there.  It all seemed so simple. Still, the team was a bit nervous.

The team really is made up of brilliant change agents. They had great insight and knew that even though I strongly supported the change, I would personally struggle with some of the demands and solutions that would need to be installed – the very decisions I would have to make.

The first step was for the team to contract with me as the Sponsor. The lead presented me with the Sponsor Role Description from our Managed Change™ Agent Certification Workshop and made sure I understood. Click on the link below to download the complete Sponsor Role Description, Responsibilities & Performance Checklist:

DOWNLOAD

What I learned was that their instincts were correct and the staff at large did great. They loved the design from the beginning. They understood the technology.  They immediately saw how we would be able to better serve the marketplace through the improvements and innovations being incorporated.  In reality, they made my job as a Sponsor pretty easy.

Sponsors are Targets too…

It wasn’t long before I realized the bigger challenge was my own!  Even though I was a skilled and willing Sponsor, I had personal issues with some aspects of the change.  Tactfully the team reminded me I was also a big Target of this change.  Being expert practitioners, the team shared the InfoMatrix/Resistance Matrix.  There I was – Rick Rothermel, Sponsor – mentioned by name as a Target.  I was both excited and nervous about the website and how it was evolving.  Here is an excerpt of what it said:

  • Anxious that the look and feel is too contemporary
  • Does it clearly present our new focus on building organizational capability
  • Will customers like and use the on-line program registration and payment
  • Does having too many downloadable free tools and resources diminish our value
  • Are we over using social media – are we doing it well
  • Does it still reflect our heritage and 40 years of history
  • Are we over engineering the site – can we be too be visitor-centric
  • What’s the return on our investment of resources, time, dollars to improve site design and navigation
  • Does it still reinforce our business and client service model
  • Will the marketplace like what we have done
  • Let’s not lose any content in current site
  • How will we preserve 40 years of the LaMarsh Global brand

 

Successful change changes everything

Living through the change process of refreshing and re-launching our LaMarsh Global website, I was reminded of the multiple roles many of us play in the life cycle of a change.  I commend my team of Change Agents for delivering an outstanding desired state.  They knew I was the number one Target.  Being great Change Agents, they skillfully informed me, trained me and supported me as they identified and mitigated my issues, challenges and concerns just as they would a LaMarsh Global client.  It was a great personal learning experience.  It takes skill and will to Sponsor change but it takes courage and confidence to deal with your own Target issues. The site launched on October 8, 2014 and today we continue to receive feedback from Targets like you.


If you haven’t explored yet, please do.  We’re eager to hear from you so we can continue to leverage your feedback and make valuable refinements.

 

Rick Rothermel

Rick is CEO and Director of Consulting Services at LaMarsh Global. He is a change management expert, thought leader and entrepreneur and has served as a founding member of the Board of Directors of ACMP. Rick’s previous experience includes Chief Learning Officer at Michigan Virtual University, Executive Vice President of e-Learning at Global Dynamics and Director of North American Education, Training and Development at Ford. Connect with Rick on LinkedIn here.

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