Gary identifies talented people and develops them into potential senior leaders. He challenges people to stretch their own perceptions of their leadership capability by asking them to take on bold commitments. He believes in people, sometimes more than they believe in themselves. He takes a long term view about their leadership capability. They may not be ready for a big new role today, but he wants to see if they exhibit the key behaviours that will make them a future game-changing leader. Talent alone is not enough in his view. He looks for people who are willing to step outside their comfort zone, deliver on their promises and are open to feedback. If they display these key behaviours he is willing to act as a sponsor for them.
Having a sponsor can make all the difference. Global recruiter Korn Ferry interviewed 57 female CEOs — 41 from Fortune 1000 companies and 16 from large privately held companies. They delved into pivotal experiences in their personal history and career progression in an attempt to crack the code of these women’s success. One of their findings was that, “..when women reach the senior executive level, crucial support relationships shift from mentors, who offer encouragement and advice, to sponsors, who take a hands-on role in managing career moves and promoting executives as potential CEOs. Whether that sponsor was a predecessor CEO, another senior executive, board member, or external CEO, the women discussed the indispensable support — including tough feedback — sponsors provided. Some women mentioned an absence of sponsorship as a hindrance to their career development.”
Sponsoring game-changing leaders, men or women, is a step beyond coaching or mentoring. It’s about investing some of your own capital and reputation into actively advocating for people who you believe will make great leaders. Gary had been given opportunities over the years because people believed in him. He wants to pay it forward. He is not afraid to invest his time and energy into sponsoring talented potential leaders. The payoff for him is that people are only too happy to go that extra mile for him.
Are you sponsoring talented leaders?
Best regards, Brian
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