To lead anything of significance is to need help. If you lead a department or division within an organization, there will be times when you will need organizational sponsorship. If you are leading a new endeavor, attempting to create something that has never existed before, you need sponsorship.
But what is sponsorship? And how do you get it?
The role of a sponsor is to increase awareness, help build the brand, and build the propensity toward purchase.
Organizational sponsorship is about platform. These principles apply to any leadership effort, not just marketing or advertising. If you have been tasked with resuscitating a dead department, you need the leaders above you to trumpet awareness throughout the rest of the organization. If you are creating something new, you need other leaders to create a buzz around your brand.
The necessary benefit of organizational sponsorship is buy in from those within and without.
Without organizational sponsorship you could waste a lot of good resources vying for attention, and you will eventually grow weary in leading. Without organizational sponsorship it will be difficult to attract good leaders, create an innovative atmosphere, and set an environment of hope for the future. Without organizational sponsorship change will be capped.
How do you get organizational sponsorship?
If you have been picked to revive or create a leadership environment you have to show up with a fresh vision and a good start up plan. You have been given your role for a reason. People are banking on you. Therefore, go to those who commissioned you and demonstrate that you have the will and the heart to see this effort all the way through. As you do, be sure to secure three commitments from leadership above you:
1. A commitment to a place at the leadership table. If you are leading something in need of great change, be sure you have a place at the leadership table. You must be included into the decision making process at some level that matters. You have to have a voice into directional issues. If not, you will never gain the necessary platform to succeed.
2. A commitment to shared resources. If you are not being entrusted with vital resources then you are not being trusted. And you are not empowered to lead in such a way to succeed and navigate change. To be truly sponsored is to have access to vital resources–funding, manpower, and tools. It often takes more resources then less to see sustainable change.
3. A commitment to success being the end game, and not a simple timeline. Be sure that the leaders above you are committed to effectiveness and success. Resuscitating something old or creating something new can take time. If you are given a short leash it will be difficult to succeed. Ensure a commitment to ultimate success. I don’t mean an environment without accountability or clear markers of success. But be sure the leadership above you gives you enough time and freedom to try, fail, learn, and try again. This will be the path of effectiveness.
These principles of organizational sponsorship are essential for leading in a for profit company or in leading a not for profit initiative. Where do you need organizational sponsorship? Do you have a clear plan to obtain it?
What are your thoughts? What have you learned?