I grew up in Wisconsin. Snow was a reality of my upbringing. It was an expected visitor that promptly appeared in early November and begrudgingly left in late April (give or take). Unless a person wanted to go crazy you had to learn to love the stuff. All the neighborhood kids would get together to go sledding or make snowmen. It would often take two or three of us to get that snowman right where we wanted him, on the top of the hill that we slid down. What does my snow-laden childhood have to do with leadership of a BI Program?
We always had a self-appointed leader; the one person that had a vision for the placement of the snowman and the most efficient way to get the job done. This was usually the oldest kid around, since they had the most experience, but not always. We always had a couple of kids that wanted to participate but didn’t necessarily want to lead. They were interested in getting the project done, and enjoyed the process of snowman building in a team environment. Sound familiar?
These are distinct groups, and sometimes the leader is a sponsor and a sponsor is a leader, but not always. The critical success factor is that you recognize that there are different levels and not everyone wants to participate the same way. Sponsorship is just as important as leadership, because it lays the ground-work for the future of the program. If you build the sponsorship correctly, the program will live on long after you have left the effort. Leaders are important because you need someone with a strong vision and a willingness to be the ‘buck stops here’ person. Without that, accountability is missing and projects rarely thrive without a person being held accountable.
Lead like you have nothing to lose. Sponsor like it’s the most important job in the company.
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