A leadership development resource

from the Institute for Leadership Excellence & Development Inc.

Volume VIII

Number 2

On the Horizon This Issue:

Your Number One Stakeholder
Why executive support is one of the top factors determining your project success.

Announcing the People and Projects Podcast
We invite you to join our new podcast for interviews and insights to help you lead people and deliver projects.

This Issue's Freebie: Executive Support: Why It Matters and How to Get It
Join me for a webcast on this critical issue in delivering projects.

Special Offer: $20 USD off Risk Management e-learning
Here's a great deal on practical teaching on risk management.

Card Corner: How About an Additional Income Stream?
Are you relying on only one stream of income? In today's economy, why not add another one?

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Get your copy of Alfonso Bucero's book on project sponsorship!

  [Sponsors]  [Podcast]  [Freebie]  [Offer]  [Card Corner]  [The Institute Online] 


Your Number One Stakeholder

by Andy Kaufman


Words: 605

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes


If you had to pick one reason why most projects succeed or fail, what would you pick?

Adequate funding. Competent resources. Sufficient understanding of the problem. Many factors come to mind.


Yet one of the most consistently reported factors that determine project success or failure comes down to the sponsor. Do you have executive support? You're much more likely to deliver. Are you missing it? Lots of luck.

This much is for sure: If you want to deliver successfully, you must have executive support.

Technically the sponsor is the person or group that provides the financial resources for the project. Often it's more than that.


They may have the best understanding of the business issues related to the project. They may have to live with the results of what gets delivered.

Organizations may vary on how they define the role of the sponsor, but this much is for sure: if you want to deliver successfully, you must have executive support.

Does That Mean I'm Doomed?

A common refrain from project managers when we discuss this point is, "Great. I'm doomed! I don't have executive support!"

An executive from a major electronics firm reinforced this to me a couple years back. He told me about a significant project for their organization, in the range of $50 million USD, that started struggling. He told me to my face, "Andy, I did everything I could to erase my name off of forms. I wanted nothing to do with that project!"

For the record, that's not executive support!

How could that executive have helped the ailing project? He could have:

  • Worked to reallocate budgets and people if necessary.

  • Coached the project manager on ways to handle obstacles.

  • Brought stakeholders together to finesse quicker decision making and resolve conflicts.

  • Been the voice for the project to make sure it gets the necessary attention across the executive suite and the rest of the organization.

But he didn't. He ran. The project failed.

A Key Question

Before you write your project off as hopeless, I'd like to reframe the issue with an important question: If you're not currently getting support from your sponsor, what are you doing to get it?

The reason I ask is this: I get to spend extended time with executive sponsors. Guess what some of their biggest complaints are about their project managers?

  • "I haven't heard from her for 6 weeks. Now she's waving paper in my face saying she needs more time and money."

  • "When he starts droning on about the project, he buries me with details. Just give me the headlines--I can drill in from there."

  • "It's almost like they walk in and say, 'Hey, we are going to be about 4 weeks late. Sorry!' I feel like I'm the only one with the weight of responsibility on my shoulders."

A key lesson for any aspiring leader is that managing is increasingly an issue of managing up and out, not just managing down. You must learn to manage your boss.

We'll talk more about managing up in our next newsletter. For now, I invite you to listen to our recent podcast episode with Alfonso Bucero, PMP. Alfonso is a co-author of Project Sponsorship: Achieving Management Commitment for Project Success. You'll gain insights from this global leader in project management.

Want to Learn More?

How about a free webinar to learn more?

On Thursday, February 26, 2009, at 11:00am Central, I will be sharing practical tips in a webcast: Executive Support: Why It Matters and How to Get It. There is no charge for subscribers to Horizon Time or the People and Projects Podcast.

Click here to register for this webcast. I look forward to meeting you!

elearning (e-learning) to help you manage conflict from keynote speaker Andy Kaufman

keynote speaker Andy Kaufman

Andy Kaufman

Speaker, Author, Consultant

President, Institute for Leadership Excellence & Development Inc.

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Announcing the

People and Projects Podcast

One of the best resources for developing your skills is by listening to podcasts. Are you taking advantage of this excellent and usually free resource?

Welcome to the People and Projects Podcast where we provide interviews and insights to help you lead people and deliver projects. This podcast focuses on the intersection of People and Projects--where work gets done in the real world.

Visit the podcast home page to start learning!

Subscribe to the People and Projects Podcast on iTunes

Also, don't miss my guest appearance on Coach Ian Scott's podcast. Click here to listen!

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This Issue's Freebie


Executive Support: Why It Matters and How to Get It

As a thank you for subscribing to our newsletter, here's this month's special offer.

Join me on Thursday, February 26, at 11:00am Central. I will be hosting a free webcast to help you learn more about getting your sponsors on board with your project. Click here to register. I look forward to meeting you! Thank you for subscribing to Horizon Time!

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Special Offer: $20 USD Off E-Learning

Our popular workshop on risk management, available now online or on CD

If you manage projects or people, you are faced with risks on a daily basis. Too often risk management comes off as an academic topic--something that's only relevant for the most structured organizations.

Our popular keynote and workshop on risk management is now available in an e-learning format. Between now and March 14 Horizon Time subscribers can get the learning for $20 USD less than the list price.

Click here to learn more! Thank you for subscribing to Horizon Time!

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Card Corner:

How About an Additional Income Stream?

Each month I am amazed at the feedback I get from people who have received cards from me. Something as simple as a card, in this day in age, helps you stand out from the crowd, whether with colleagues, customers, friends, or family.

But what if the same card system provided an additional income stream for you? If you are an entrepreneur (or a budding entrepreneur at heart), Send Out Cards could be part of your strategy of creating additional streams of income.

The model is very straightforward. If you sign-up as an Entrepreneur with Send Out Cards, you earn commissions when others in your circle of influence sign up. Plus you get a percentage of what they spend on a monthly basis in cards.

I'm guessing you know some business owners such as realtors, consultants, salespeople, and more who could use an edge in building their businesses. I have clients who are churches, corporate executives, and fundraisers, and they are all using the system to build deeper relationships with people they serve. My goal is to help them get their marketing paid for by using this system.

I'm not personally planning on buying a Swiss chalet with my earnings from Send Out Cards, but after only a year my cards were paid for by other people (and I send a lot of cards!). My goal is to have it eventually pay for our mortgage each month.

Give Send Out Cards a try! Click on the banner with the moving arrow to send a couple free ones on me!

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Stay in Touch!

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