The Stages of Organizational Commitment | Article

By Caroline Sherwood, Everest Group

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Effective change begins with effective sponsorship. Effective sponsorship means that the leadership of the organization has a clear vision, believes that change is necessary, and is willing to commit the time and resources to making the project successful -- the leadership must be actively involved in the change effort. Credible leaders within the organization must publicly and privately sponsor the effort and must show active ownership for the project's intentions from the beginning.

But, strong sponsorship alone will not make the change successful. To reap the benefits of outsourcing over the long haul, each of the employees affected must, over time, become owners of the change. This is done by cascading support and understanding from the sponsor group down through the organization.

Through effective communications, people will understand how the changes affect them and, if feedback loops are provided, they may be very helpful in ensuring that the change includes all necessary components. If given the opportunity through user tests or training, people will test the process out for themselves. As people transition to their jobs, they will continue to test the new process (this is a critical time for managing the change process) and eventually they will buy in to the new ways of doing business. Once buy-in is achieved, it is only a matter of time before people own the change.

It is important to note that different people will go through this process at different rates. Also, the criticality of gaining ownership may vary from person to person. The change team must actively seek out key individuals and help them through the stages of organizational commitment.

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