Sponsors: The New Corporate Heroes
Forget the Mentor Get A Sponsor
By Dr. Sathya Menon
If you are stuck in the corporate maze, the best way to negotiate it might be to cultivate a long-lasting relationship with a sponsor. Mentors are instrumental in building self-esteem and providing a safe sounding board to all your ideas—but they might not necessarily help you navigate your way to the top.
What you need instead is a sponsor--a senior-level champion who believes in your potential and is willing to advocate for you as you pursue that next raise or promotion.
Sponsors have the power to deliver you to your next destination and they are the ones who make the vital difference between good talent and real outcomes in an organization.
Sponsorship is however a two-way programme. Protégés have to deliver, too: through stellar performance, loyalty to the sponsor and the organization, and by offering “value-added” services that helps to strengthen the sponsor’s brand across the organization.
In the Middle East corporate culture, finding a courageous sponsor might be a difficult task, a person who believes in your talent so much that he is willing to put his reputation at stake to sponsor you.
But increasingly senior and middle-level managers are emerging as corporate sponsors and are being hailed as “heroes” for making a huge difference to the careers of young individuals and also to the bottom line of the company.
“The head of the organization must be the change leader, the evangelist,” K.V. Kamath, Chairman, Infosys Technologies, went on record saying.
Worldwide research has revealed that those who are advancing in a satisfactory pace in their careers are individuals with a sponsor. A book authored by modern day economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett and titled “Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor: The New Way to Fast-track Your Career” shows that 81 per cent of multicultural professionals need navigational help at the workplace.
If mentors help define the dream, sponsors are the dream-enablers. Sponsors deliver: They make you visible to leaders within the company and to top people outside as well. They connect you to career opportunities and provide air cover when you encounter trouble. But sponsors also demonstrate commitment and expect the same from their protégés.
· It needs courage and commitment to be a corporate sponsor
· Young and multi-cultural professionals need sponsorship to navigate their careers.
· Protégés must display stellar performance to show loyalty.
Dr. Sathya Menon is the Academic Director of Blue Ocean Academy, Dubai.