If AR teams truly have the sponsorship of senior executives, why do they struggle for resources, organizational cooperation, executive participation in AR initiatives, and other critical issues? The reality is that AR teams probably have a tepid endorsement from their management rather than true executive sponsorship.
SageCircle defines executive sponsorship as taking an active part in establishing AR goals and priorities, providing the resources necessary to achieving the agreed upon goals, explicitly communicating the importance of AR to the company, providing timely support when an internal organizational hurdle prevents the achievement of goals, and making themselves available as spokespeople with analysts. The key theme is active participation.
An important element of a sponsorship program is status reporting, because it helps to maintain the active participation of the executive. The purpose of status reporting is to:
- Maintain AR’s top-of-mind presence with executives
- Eliminate surprises about operational or strategic issues that could prevent the achievement of the agreed upon goals
- Alert executives to issues requiring attention and support
Topics covered by status reporting cover both results and issues. Status reporting balances consistent touches without impinging on the executives’ time. Components of status reporting include:
- Monthly one to two page e-mails
- Quarterly 30-minute updates
- Semi-annual 90-minute reviews
Working for active executive sponsorship should become a part of creating the AR strategic & tactical plan. Having an executive sponsorship program does require some effort on AR’s part and the scheduling of regular meetings, which need to be incorporated into the AR plan. However, the payback of real executive endorsement is well worth this effort.
- Add executive sponsorship maintenance to the AR strategic and tactical plan
- Meet with executive sponsors to define the program and what elements of status reporting are appropriate
- Review the measurement program to ensure that data is being collected to satisfied the status reporting requirements
- Implement the sponsorship program
Bottom Line: Many AR teams believe that they have executive sponsorship when in reality they do not. AR needs to persuade executives to take an active sponsorship and oversight role instead of just giving a passive, generic endorsement.
Question: AR – What do you consider important elements of an executive sponsorship program?