Governance fit is perhaps the most critical element in determining whether or not a partnership between an executive and a sponsor will drive a company to maximum growth. However, developing an ideal governance fit depends largely on the credibility executives have with their sponsor, and CXOs need to take the lead in establishing credibility.
Executives need to find a balance of engaging with, advising, and influencing their sponsors while listening to the sponsor’s needs and considering their expertise. To run the company at its best and leverage the sponsor-executive partnership to its maximum value potential, consider incorporating these four best practices into your approach with sponsors:
- Aligning on strategy as early as possible
- Navigating business needs and realities proactively
- Understanding your sponsor’s needs and agenda and making them feel heard in their requests
- Communicating immediately and transparently about any significant problems
Align on Strategy Early
Gain a comprehensive understanding of the investment thesis and communicate frequently about long-term business plans. Claiming that certain requests misalign with strategy requires a strong initial foundation of alignment on that strategy. When you can identify how action items are aligned or misaligned with overall strategy, it’s easier to help sponsors understand where top priorities lie and how to most effectively dedicate limited time and resources.
Don’t allow any frustrations you may experience to deter you from leveraging your sponsor for the many skills and resources they have to offer.