You Need a Champion, Not Just a Mentor

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Key Traction-Point:

Research shows that sponsorship can give up to a 30% boost
in stretch assignments and pay increases.


Want to really excel at work? Then get yourself a sponsor. A sponsor is, basically, a power broker who will endorse you in closed door meetings, supporting you in stormy times and championing you when it matters most.

Case in Point: Back when I was being considered for an officer-level position at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the COO (who was my boss’s boss) called me to say he was preparing to submit my name to the Executive Committee. “But I will only do that if I know which Board member will stand up for you and sponsor your promotion.”

Okay, I replied, as I racked my brain thinking about who on the Board would advocate for me like that. When do you need an answer?

“Now – the meeting starts in 10 minutes. And,” he continued, “if you cannot give me a name right now, I will withhold my recommendation and remove your name from consideration.”

Sheesh! So I took a breath and guessed a name.

“Are you sure?” he asked.

Yikes! Yes, I am, I replied – even though I really wasn’t.

Turns out that several Executive Committee members motioned on my behalf – including the one I had named – and the deal was done!

I hadn’t realized the importance of Big Dog sponsorship at the time, so I got lucky. Taking a more proactive approach to garnering high-level support is what this article’s all about.

Continue reading at Quartz.

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