As member of a board – no matter whether it is a management or the non-executive board – whether you have one or two tier boards we have the responsibility that the strategy follows the vision and the tactics the strategy.
The role of being a sponsor within the organisation is not new and there are many different forms and terms for that specific and important role.
Especially when it comes to project management, we often see the approach of having a c-level sponsor which is part of the steering committee.
When we take a closer look to the projects which are rather related to Corporate Culture, Corporate Integrity – which also includes the actual discussion around ESG or the Social Development Goals – the sponsorship on board level is on a lower maturity level - if existing.
Why? Because a sponsor makes sure that the defined goals – not matter what the project relates to – are aligned with the overall strategy and supports when it comes to the lobbying within the different boards.
For me it is unquestionable that a sponsor on board level is key to successfully build, live, and improve Corporate Integrity.
And when I listen to the new generation of leaders – it is clear to them too.
Sponsorship – correctly done - has huge impact.
The sponsor delegated to the initiative – in this case Corporate Integrity – represents the tone at the top which will have significant impact to the companies’ journey.
Therefore, it is important who will be the sponsor and how is that delegate being identified. That needs a serious discussion within the board.
Criteria’s which could be discussed are:
It is not given that all board members are the perfect match to an initiative only because of their role as a board member. This needs to be discussed to ensure the initial decision is not hindering the successful sponsorship.
From experience, a sponsor should encourage the project leader to speak up transparently. Depending on the constellation it will need courage from a project leader, but it is necessary that such a relationship can successfully work for the organisation.
The leadership skill active listening is crucial for every board sponsor. You want to understand – therefore you first must listen and then to ask the right questions. Which is an additional skill required to be an impactful sponsor.
In addition to that the board sponsor does good not to be involved in the daily operations to keep the perspective of an additional – often more objective – level.
The professional sceptism needs to be kept over the entire lifetime of the initiative.
A wisely identified and selected sponsor for Corporate Integrity is one of the key drivers to make the initiative a success. Having the wrong one will rather negatively impact the undertaking.
The two questions when it comes to your next decision-making about accepting a sponsorship are:
Thank you for joining me on this episode of THE HUMAN FACTOR – Corporate Integrity Matters.
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