On Sponsorship – strategy, execution and accountability.

Posted: August 16, 2021Category: Sponsorship

On Sponsorship – strategy, execution and accountability

You've come up with some great strategies to help your organisation in it's next phase of growth.

You've kicked off projects to help realise those strategies.

You've appointed some of the most reputed project managers to help execute those projects.

You've championed allocation of funds to those projects.

Yet you feel like you are sitting on a projects minefield, not knowing which landmine (project) will blow up next. And what will it take with it?😱🥶

And...unfortunately you are not trained or experienced in landmine detection and diffusion.🥺

Sponsoring multiple projects can look like this....If this is you, read on.....

Project sponsorship is a key discipline within the world of projects. It is key to executing strategy via projects. Yet, while there are a plethora of avenues to develop project management and other disciplines within a project, there is almost nothing equivalent for project sponsorship.

And we are talking about probably the most important leadership role on a project that could mean the difference between a successful strategy and massive failure.

Often when I walk into to help clients rescue troubled projects, I talk to the sponsor about their role and I find a lot of them struggling to understand their role as sponsor and how they could help.

So what are the foundations of great project sponsorship?

While there are multiple aspects, I think 3 is a great place to start.


Here's what I reckon:


Investment - The sponsor must be personally invested in the outcomes of any project they sponsor. There must be a real benefit that will be realised for them and their team as a result of the project.

Enable that investment to really flower by allocating the right people and supporting them.

And like any investment, they will also be accountable for the risks and impacts if the project didn't go to plan.

It's very difficult to stay interested if you are not invested. 


Involvement - Dear Project Manager - The sponsor has 30 minutes available in 4 weeks time. If that works for you, please send an invite across. If it doesn't then the next available slot if 15 minutes in 7 weeks time.

As a sponsor, your involvement is key. If you are indeed the sponsor, you cannot be switched off and isolated from the project manager and the team.

They need you....to provide a vision they can aim towards, to provide guidance when they have dilemmas, to unblock issues when they are stuck and to be a sounding board when they need one. And...to provide that word of support when it is most needed.

For holding someone accountable, you must be present.

If you are missing in action at this point, guess what will they do?


Influence - It's all about you and it's more than that. Projects are complex creative endeavours that need engagement from multiple people and teams to execute successfully.

Your role as a sponsor is to influence these people by helping setup an environment where they feel like engaging.

This involves engaging with your peers to make them feel excited about the project and feel like contributing to it. Interventions to resolve deadlocks, guidance to support progress and leadership to protect from failures are all areas for using your influence.

It's like organising a music concert. Just putting up one banner outside the venue will not make it a success.


In summary, projects are a direct representation of the sponsorship and the environment created.

Great sponsorship is what enables brilliant execution. And...if you are still thinking of how involved a sponsor needs to be...just remember:

Accountability placed retrospectively is blame......and lame.

Have a wonderful week ahead.


PS: When you are ready, here are some ways we could take this conversation further:

1) If you would like to book time with me to have a conversation about your project, please follow the link here - HERE

2) If you liked this article, you may want to sign up to my newsletter - Projects on Friday where I share thought provoking content and ideas to help organisations be more effective with projects and individuals live the joy of projects. Newsletter

3) My first book REBOOT is still going strong on Amazon. It also made to Amazon Australia no. 1 best seller in the project management category. If you haven't got your copy yet, you can get it here: REBOOT

4) For more of who I help and how, you can visit my website www.ganapathyiyer.com.


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash