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Ensure the success of your next change initiative by considering each of these critical roles. Often, one person may support multiple roles. In an ideal scenario, each role will have at least one person. People managers and change agents will be multiple people and the number is determined by the scope of the change and the number of stakeholders.


The critical role of a sponsor can often be overlooked. A sponsor should be chosen deliberately and thoughtfully to ensure success and ease of the change.

  • The sponsor is in a position that has authority and decision making power over the impacted people, process or systems. 
  • The sponsor can communicate the reason for the change and the benefits to the organization.
  • The sponsor is visible throughout the lifecycle of the change and delivers the required engagement and communication tactics, such as celebrating, addressing resistance, and maintaining relationships.

Project Manager

  • The project manager is responsible for the project life cycle, ensuring there are clearly defined objectives, scope, milestones, schedule and allocated resources
  • Collaborates with the change expert and project team to ensure timelines & resources are planned for
  • Develops and delivers the project with employee adoption and use as a measure of success

Change Expert

Often, this change expert role will be filled by the project manager, people manager, or a combination of the two. Sometimes, the scope of this role may fall to Human Resources specialists, communications roles, or any employee-focused role. In larger organizations, there may be dedicated resources to fill this role.

  • The change expert develops the strategy and tactics for stakeholder engagement
  • Trains and coaches others in change roles
  • Collaborates with sponsor and project manager and updates the change plan as the project progresses

People Managers

People managers have many roles as change managers. They are the closest to their people and have communication, advocate & support responsibilities.

  • People managers must share employee feedback with project team
  • People managers must manage employee resistance
  • People managers must coach and support employees through change

Change Agents / Change Makers / Change Champions

Amplify the momentum and change ability of your team by enlisting advocates of the change. This can be an informal or formal network of colleagues who can help to communicate and support their peers through the change transition.

  • Be a voice of peers and area responsible for and raise feedback to project team
  • Be a voice of the project team and communicate openly and often with area of responsibility
  • Role model the change by demonstrating behaviors
  • Be a resource for area of responsibility
  • Support slow adopters
  • Encourage a mindset of keeping an open mind and exploring new ways of working



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