Ivey Publishing

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A Lack of Sponsorship Is Keeping Women from Advancing into Leadership
Herminia Ibarra
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7 pages
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Harvard Business Review
Too few women are reaching the top of their organizations, and a big reason is that they are not getting the high-stakes assignments that are prerequisite for a shot at the C-suite. Often, this is due to a lack of powerful sponsors demanding and ensuring that they get these stepping-stone jobs. Many companies have halted formal sponsorship programs, citing push back from executives who feel they are being asked to advocate for people they don’t know well or don’t think are ready. This isn’t a reason to give up on sponsorship; it’s an opportunity to reinvent how we approach it. Companies need to shift away from seeing sponsorship as an either/or and move toward a view of sponsorship as a spectrum of behavior, one that allows various types of commitment — and one that is more effective in connecting women to powerful sponsors.
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