Your Stretch Assignment: Sponsor a Mission-critical Team Project

Linda Dulye's picture

One ingredient can make or break the success of critical organizational effort: leadership support. The projects that have an executive or other leader standing behind it are the ones best positioned for a positive impact. Leadership support

We're not talking about nominal support. We mean an active management sponsor who has skin in the game.

The most effective management sponsors embrace many important responsibilities and is a key player in ensuring the success of a team effort.

At the same time, there are many benefits to serving as a management sponsor – both for the individual and the business. Here are a few:

  • Be a better leader. A good leader coaches and guides. Being a management sponsor provides an opportunity to do both with a group of people representing the entire business in addressing important business issues.


  • Credibility builder. Working with a group of people from across the business provides an opportunity for the management sponsor to build credibility with the team – and with the rest of the folks on the front line.


  • Barrier breaker. Meeting frequently with front-line members of the action team will help breakdown the "us vs. them" barrier that may exist in your organization. Working with the team over time, titles fade and rank disappears and the common enemy that emerges is the issue that the group is addressing. That new perception can spread, and suddenly people are saying, "You know, I was wrong about (insert your management sponsor's name here). That VP is a down to earth after all."


  • Real business knowledge. Your management sponsor may have the finest pedigree from the best business schools and experience at the premier companies in the land. However, working with a group of front-line employees is guaranteed to provide that individual with an education on how the organization really works and what the real issues are.


  • Shared business knowledge. The knowledge street goes both ways here. By sharing their experience and business knowledge with the action team, the management sponsor schools the team on the business realities of the organization and provides a tutorial on how business works.


  • A sense of accomplishment and pride. Self explanatory … high fives!



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