The root causes of poor team performance are often a direct result of actions taken, or not taken, by the sponsor. Sponsors are senior leaders who have the interest and authority to provide the means, resources and guidance necessary for a team or project to succeed.
A sponsor’s responsibilities include guiding the process of creating a team charter so the team gets off to a good start, linking the work of teams to strategic objectives, guiding the team through the process improvement methodology, empowering the team, and recognizing both progress and achievement.
As noted in an article on the qualities associated with an effective sponsor, author and BPI executive Andrew Slaney wrote, “As a sponsor you need to be engaged and continuously involved.”
In that article, Slaney goes on to identify a simple equation:
- Passive Sponsor = Project Failure
- Proactive Sponsor = Project Success
Other qualities associated with successful sponsorship include:
- A genuine interest in the project
- An understanding of continuous improvement methodology
- A willingness to “champion” a project and an ability to influence within the organization
- A willingness to maintain appropriate visibility so as to lead the way through action and not only words
- A willingness to be accountable for the project’s success