Daryl Conner

March 30, 2010

How Influential Can a Change Agent Be?

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The sponsor-agent relationship is so important that just about everything we can hope to accomplish hinges on it. Without that relationship, our knowledge and skills are underutilized, poorly allocated, or worse, not called on at all.

It’s true that we work with and support the targets of change initiatives. We also work with advocates who want change but don’t have the ability to make it happen on their own, as well as with other internal or external agents. While our relationships with people in these roles are necessary and valuable, our key function is

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March 23, 2010

Addressing Sponsor-Agent Relationship Issues (free download)

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In the two previous postings (What Kind of Change Agent Are You? and Set Expectations and Build Relationships With Sponsors), I suggested two factors that can keep us from the level of influence we want with sponsors—rapport breakdown (partner vs. vendor implications) and poorly established expectations around what we and our sponsors look for from each other.

I’m sure we all have our preferred ways of addressing these issues when we’re involved in

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March 16, 2010

Use These Principles to Set Expectations and Build Relationships With Sponsors Early in the Process

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Although most of us prefer partnerships with our sponsors, this is not always possible. Sometimes, all the sponsor wants is a vendor-type transaction in order to accomplish a narrow change objective. What is most important is to avoid a rapport breakdown (i.e., operating as a partner when the client wants a vendor, or the reverse). You can accomplish this by establishing a clear “line-of-sight” understanding with your sponsor regarding what you should expect from each other.

Establishing clear expectations with sponsors about the nature of our working relationship (partner/vendor) is not, however, always an easy thing to accomplish. Part of the challenge is that sometimes either we or the sponsor lack a proper grasp of what is involved.

As change practitioners, we’ve probably all developed guidelines to help our clients understand what’s involved when establishing expectations of each other. The following is a list of principles I use

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March 10, 2010

Which Type of Change Agent Are You?

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As seasoned change practitioners, we wouldn’t have survived long enough to gain deep knowledge and skills if we didn’t have a capacity for establishing and maintaining strong relationships with clients (those we serve, whether inside or outside our own organization). However, many of us are frustrated that we don’t have more access to, respect from, and influence with the sponsors we work with.

There are many facets to a good working relationship with a sponsor. I’d like to examine two in this series—

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March 2, 2010

Understanding the Key Roles in Significant Change

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I hope you had a chance to read the series I just finished on the characteristics of resilient people and teams. Resilience is crucial for individuals and groups dealing with the stresses of change.

Now I’m going to pick up again with the sponsor-agent relationship, building on two previous series, sponsorship and agents. First, though,

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