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Idea Box

Finding the right sponsor

Although meritocracy always sounds like a good idea, the human factor inevitably plays a role in evaluative processes. When the time comes to dish out bonuses, promotions and other rewards, there’s always a certain amount of subjectivity. So, who is going to defend your interests?

There’s little chance that the right sponsor is simply going to turn up out of the blue, meaning you’ll have to devote some energy to finding him or her.

  • The first thing you have to do is to earn some points based on your work performance. When you deliver above and beyond expectations, your value rises (just like on the stock market!). You raise your visibility, boost your chances of climbing the ladder and may even attract a sponsor.
  • But the most important thing is to go for relationship points. You win these by investing in the people around you—so, connect with them, get to know them and give them the opportunity to do likewise. This makes it more likely that they will answer in the affirmative if you ask one of them to be your sponsor.
  • Last but not least, identify the most suitable profiles. A good sponsor:
    • Already has a seat at the negotiating table.
    • Is familiar with your work (meaning they’ll have real credibility if they need to argue your case).
    • Has a minimum amount of power.

To go further

How to find the person who can help you get ahead at work

by Carla Harris, TEDWomen 2018.

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Andrea Davoust
Published by Andrea Davoust
A French/English bilingual journalist with more than 15 years’ experience in the press, multimedia, and publishing.