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How to Obtain and Maintain Management Support

“If human progress had merely been a matter of leadership, we should be in Utopia today.” – Thomas B. Reed

Whether you work in the private sector, or the public sector, organizational success requires both leadership AND teamwork. For a team to be successful, its management must ensure adequate materials, facilities, equipment, human resources, and time. Management and leadership must ensure a safe and comfortable work environment free of harassment. Sexual harassment and discrimination policies that are enforced show evidence of these types of support.

Management must have realistic expectations about what the team delivers, and when it will be delivered. The responsibility for being a liaison to management is often filled by the project manager, task force manager, or committee chairperson.

At New Balance Athletic Show, Inc., the Steering Committee determines the priority of projects. They choose the top projects for which funding will be provided. The group stays informed and provides continuous support to the projects selected. This includes the guarantee of human resources to do the work.

As a member of a team, understand the big picture for your organization, and management’s point of view. Is your company earning healthy profits?   Is the company barely surviving?

How important is this project or mission to the organization? Find out. Is it linked to the strategic plan? Is management betting the future of the organization on this effort? Is your project part of a program? If it is, the project is likely to have interfaces and dependencies with other projects.

You may be an important teammate on several projects. If one of them is a high priority project, it is less likely that people and other resources will be taken away from the project. However, high priority also means that there is more pressure to meet milestones and to complete the project on time.  If your project has a lower priority, you may need more management help in promoting the project. You will need to be more flexible about the timeliness of support.

To obtain and maintain management support:

  1. Find out how your project or effort supports the organization’s strategic plan.
  2. Determine the priority level for your project or effort.
  3. Know who is sponsoring the effort. The sponsor usually provides the funding, but empowers team members to resolve customers’ issues independently. She stays involved and helps to support the effort to its successful conclusion.
  4. Identify organizational interfaces and interactions.
  5. Understand which organization “owns” the project or other effort. Determine if there are support organizations, or partners.
  6. Get help promoting the project. You may need your sponsor or manager to promote the project with other members of the management team at critical points in a project.
  7. Educate management about the project management process as necessary.

Thomas Charles Belanger is the author of Teamwork in Ten Days: Building Successful Teams in the Arts, Sports, Business, and Government, available at and Barnes and Noble.

©2012, Thomas Belanger

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