If you’ve ever managed or have been part of a project, then you’ve probably come across a project sponsor. You know, the senior person that you go to for advice and support when there is a problem. Your sponsor (also called a Project Champion) is there when you need a little political muscle, an arm twisted, some additional resources, or help getting that extra funding that will push your project over the top. Your sponsor is your ally when you really need one.
Not all sponsors are created equal. Some are smart, strong and like their roles; others not so much. Most sponsors want the best for you and your project team and will help you in many ways. Sometimes they offer words of encouragement; other times you get a kick-in-the-ass. Mostly, good sponsors sit in the background and let you do your job – offering support or a guiding hand at critical moments.
I once had a great but quirky sponsor who used to say things like, “I have to yell at you. I have a reputation to uphold.” I took his rants and raves, because he always supported me and my teams without fail. He was not a perfect sponsor, but always entertaining. Once, in a meeting he called me an, “f’n dictator.” I loved that guy!
But what about having a sponsor outside of the office? Do you have that person at home who helps you in times of need? Someone who tells it like it is, even when you rather not listen?
I am a lucky guy, I met my strongest sponsor in late 1989, and we were married in 1994. Her name is Julie, and I am truly fortunate that she is part of my life!
You see, like some of you, I can be a little difficult at times. Maybe I am strong-willed, somewhat stubborn, opinionated, a tiny bit bossy, head-strong, and every so often I am a little cranky. While I view these as positive traits, I can understand how others might see things differently.
Anyway, my beautiful wife puts up with me. She forgives my faults, accentuates my strengths, stays cool in trying times, and even laughs at my jokes. She is the perfect partner to have in life. As F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “I love her and that’s the beginning and end of everything.”
So as we approach Valentine’s Day 2012, I want thank all the sponsors out there that empowered and helped me to be my very best. And to Julie, my strongest sponsor, the woman I love – thank you for always being there, and for helping me strive to be better. I will love you always!
Have a happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
“Cause I got something on my mind that sets me straight and walking proud. And I want all the time, all that heaven will allow.” ~ B. Springsteen