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Why Sponsorship? The Business Case
- Sponsorship prepares protégés for the complexities of new roles or assignments
- Sponsorship helps protégés meet unique executive challenges
- Sponsorship helps protégés determine where, when and how to make strategic contributions
- Sponsorship helps mitigate perceived risk
- Sponsorship helps protégés recognize the value-add to their career
- Protégés perspectives illuminate company needs in today’s business environment
- Sponsorship results in more committed, more effective leaders and teams
What makes a Sponsor different from a Mentor?
- Sponsor’s role is to find advancing job opportunities; mentors give advice for development
- Sponsor acts as sponsee’s advocate; mentors act closer to role models who help “navigate corporate politics”
- Mentorship can be either short term or long term, where a sponsor relationship is most likely long term
- Sponsor’s role is riskier since the sponsor must feel comfortable “going to bat” for the Sponsee
What does the Sponsor need to do?
- Expose sponsee to advancement opportunities and senior executives
- Improve sponsee’s Executive Presence
- Be a sponsor outside of the organization to be a part of a different culture, experience different perspectives, learn from others’ expertise, explore new companies. This allows you to follow passion you normally would not have time for.
What does the Sponsee need to do?
- Be curious, clarify what you would want from a sponsor, and then find out who will help you most and your possible connections to them
- Determine if multiple sponsors would be most beneficial, or sponsors outside of the company for wider perspective. It would be ideal if the company reorganizes.
- Provide feedback for the sponsor – if relationship is highly beneficial or not working. An unproductive relationship is not going to help anyone. Sponsors who have taken on a sponsee once may be open to the idea again at a later date with someone else.
What should be done corporately?
- Bring interest to company early – allows more thought to go into preparations for changes
- Ensure sponsors’ accountability. Require each partner or employee to have 3 sponcees who are women or professionals of color. Have sponsors create plans of action and evaluate these plans frequently.
- Match sponsors and sponsees in a "match.com" fashion where individuals have similar goals and interests.
- Engage the CEO and push point of “regrettable loss” – if highly talented women feel they are stuck within a certain level, will leave company and go to competition