There are only two options: make progress or make excuses.
In the post Covid-19 era, sponsorship is more important than ever.
In my eBook, “Activate: 15 Steps to Profitable Strategy Execution,” we talk about the roles of sponsorship and the sponsor network to execute strategy. These are topics we cannot stress enough.
The two primary functions of a sponsor are to communicate with the organization about the change and to hold the team accountable for executing the change.
Communication. This requires more than an email out to the organization announcing a change. It’s also more than holding one town-hall meeting. Leaders must actively communicate on a regular basis about the change, the progress of implementing the change, and realistically discussing challenges. This means speaking regularly and openly. Every newsletter I published last month focused on communication and offered ideas to help focus the effort. Remember also that communication is multi-directional. Leaders don’t just talk about the change, they listen to others and respond or act accordingly.
Post Covid-19, sponsor communication becomes more important. Employees need reassurance that progress will be made regardless of setbacks. They need to know their leaders care about their individual circumstances. They also want the honest truth about the state of the organization. Many are faced with the potential of layoffs. Be honest about this.
Accountability. Sponsors attend project status meetings regularly. They ask questions to assess the status of the project, unearth risks and issues, and understand metrics associated with progress. They appropriately challenge these and inspire greater commitment to overcome barriers. They also hold one-on-one meetings with key project leaders to address individual opportunities and challenges.
Post Covid-19, this role is accentuated. Successful sponsors, particularly those still working in remote environments, will go out of their way to ensure the elements described above are addressed. This requires a balance – sponsors don’t want to be viewed as a pest. It may require additional mechanisms or measures to ensure that project team members working remotely are aligned and focused.
Our world has clearly changed over the last several months. The world of leading successful strategy execution requires a fresh look at leadership, and the focus of sponsorship. Combining the two elements of communication and accountability, leaders have a new opportunity to develop their leadership. Faced with a remote workforce while still trying to meet business objectives, leaders can develop a more human approach. They do this by taking more interest in their employees, directly addressing individual concerns, and finding ways to inspire – one employee at a time.
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Dedicated to your profitable transformation,