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Intranet Advent Day 23 – Disappearing sponsor

Intranet Advent Day 23 – Disappearing sponsor

23We’re counting down to Christmas with a stocking-filler tip every day.

I’ve had a few projects where there’s been an enthusiastic sponsor and everything has been running great, and then they’ve been re-assigned to another project and the whole thing came to a grinding halt. One sponsor went on maternity leave, expecting the project would all be done by the time she got back. Two babies later and the project was still a work in progress.

For intranets that are doing step by step evolution, senior sponsors don’t always matter. They do matter though if you want to perform a strategic overhaul. There are times when an intranet vision is complex and the business case can’t be expressed with hard numbers. If so, it takes time before people get it and you can’t bring everyone on that journey at once. This is when it helps to have someone with enough influence that gets it early on because they help open doors and maintain momentum etc. The risk is that if they disappear, your project becomes vulnerable to ‘show me the proof’ challenges again.

Disappearing sponsor

My advice, then, is to not pin everything on one sponsor but to cultivate the support of several leaders, even if this isn’t formally as a Steering Group. After all, the qualities of influence, drive, and enthusiasm that make a great sponsor, also make for someone likely to move quickly in their career. In effect you need a sponsor succession plan. An intranet is for life, not just for Christmas.

Check #intranetadvent for a fresh idea each day.

Sam Marshall

I'm the director of ClearBox Consulting, advising on intranet and digital workplace strategy, SharePoint and online collaboration. I've specialised in intranets and knowledge Management for over 19 years, working with organisations such as Unilever, Astra Zeneca, Akzo Nobel, Sony, Rio Tinto and Diageo. I was responsible for Unilever’s Global Portal Implementation, overseeing the roll-out of over 700 online communities to 90,000 people and consolidating several thousand intranets into a single system.

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