It was my book launch event last week in London. As one might expect from a Sponsor I had:
· A plan
· A budget
· Stakeholders invited
· Benefits identified
· A business case
· A contingency plan
What I didn’t have on that contingency plan was:
· 31 degrees Centigrade (87.8 Fahrenheit for some readers) in London in September
· Mass school closures across England due to aerated concrete
Those were what I would class as enterprise risks. Risks from the external environment that I could nether influence or change.
These are often the risks that Sponsors must monitor and manage.
Will anyone turn up?
I was concerned about what that might do to the number of people who attended. With little I could do about it, I carried on. I hoped that anyone who did arrive came hungry and thirsty so that they could make a dent in the catering if there were mass cancellations.
Any worry was misguided because at one point I’m not sure we could have fitted many more people into the room.
Maybe they had heard we had good air conditioning and many cold drinks!
More likely the draw was getting together with their professional community. So many comments on the night and in messages the next day were around people catching up with old colleagues, existing colleagues, sponsors from other teams and organisations.
It was symptomatic of something that is happening in our professional community that is making a tricky job tougher.
It’s clear to me, from the work that we do with clients, that being a Sponsor in a hybrid environment is tough. Distance and logistics are making it harder to bring teams and individuals together.
Sponsors who never had that luxury have a lot to share with those who have now moved to a permanent hybrid arrangement about how to lead teams and manage stakeholders in hybrid settings.
New Sponsors are losing out on the chance to learn by osmosis. Those overheard conversations that inform, educate and inspire.
Sponsors who were used to having a community whether in house or external are missing those sounding board conversations that we all need. Those chats with other Sponsors who get it and know how to really listen. Who understand when to empathise, coach, offer advice or just hear you out.
I’ve always felt that proximity to other Sponsors was a core part of my professional development. At times it was all that was available as we have traditionally been underserved as a professional community.
I am now looking at how I facilitate more events for us in person as a professional community. I know we want and need it. I just don’t want to have to write a book every time I want to throw a party for Sponsors!
Watch this space for future events and do contact me if you have ideas you want to share or collaborate on.
(Actually, I want to write about 10 more books so that’s not strictly true, but you get the idea.)
This month I will be opening a LinkedIn group for Sponsors to share ideas and tools. Look out for your invitation join a virtual community whilst I work on plans to get us together in at least a few countries!
Book Sponsor Coaching
If you are looking for coaching or mentoring support either employer-funded or self-funded you can now book direct with me here to have a chat about it. I work with a limited number of people at any one time.