Notes on Sponsorship

September 30, 1996


  1. Types of Sponsorship
  2. Sponsor Rationale
  3. Purpose and Roles
  4. Crew Feedback Form
  5. Responsibilities of the Sponsor
  6. Responsibilities of the Knowledge Worker Being Sponsored

Types of Sponsorship

There are currently three kinds of sponsors in the MG Taylor network:

  1. A sponsor is the client's principal point of contact between the facilitator and the client for a DesignShop.
  2. A sponsor is also a current Knowledge Worker who introduces a new Knowledge Worker to the network.
  3. The third is a more formal sponsor of a Knowledge Worker in the network and plays a more formal role. This sponsor is someone who is a Speaker or a Journeyman and must be in the pool of people who are called on to be Process Facilitators or Event Facilitators as well. He or she should have a good sense of the philosophy of MG Taylor, the Modeling Language, and much practical experience in the execution of MG Taylor's work.

Note that an individual who introduces a friend or colleague to the network may or may not be that individual's formal sponsor based on the above criteria. Some people who introduce Knowledge Workers to the network are very new themselves.

Rationale for a Formal Knowledge Worker Sponsorship Program

Formal sponsorship is necessary at our stage of development for two key reasons:

  1. As we find ourselves with perhaps hundreds of Knowledge Workers in our network, it becomes increasingly difficult for Process Facilitators to keep track of who can do what when pulling together a crew for an event.
  2. It also becomes more challenging for a new Knowledge Worker to get information about the work and philosophy of MG Taylor, and to chart some path of development through the work of the enterprise.

Purpose and Roles

So, the purpose of this new sponsor is to provide an official, facilitative and welcoming link to the work and philosophy of MG Taylor for the Knowledge Workers he or she is sponsoring. This formal sponsor is assigned, to begin with, although the relationships may be adjusted at the request of either the sponsor or the person being sponsored.

Sponsors fulfill four roles:

  1. They actively welcome the Knowledge Workers they're sponsoring into the network.
  2. They serve as focal points of reliable knowledge about the philosophy, principles and practices of MG Taylor.
  3. They remain aware of what types of work the Knowledge Worker has participated in; what kind of DesignShops, workshops, projects, work at a KnOwhere store, etc. The intent is not to monitor an individual's progress or evaluate them in any way, but to be in a position to facilitate them as to what may be of value to try next.
  4. They are also advocates of the people they're sponsoring. Process Facilitators are usually in communication with each other and now that Process Facilitators play a major role in selecting crews for events, there needs to be a way to find out who can do what. Part of that knowledge can reside in a database, but it's also helpful to be able to talk to a handful of people who can address the soft side of the question in a qualitative way. So sponsors and Process Facilitators work together to develop a collective understanding of the current skill and experience base resident in the network. Sponsors are expected to actively advocate the people they're sponsoring.

It's important to note here that sponsorship is not mentoring. Knowledge workers may have acknowledged or tacit mentors within the MG Taylor network or from outside of the network. Sponsorship is not meant to influence or replace those personal relationships. Indeed it's possible for a sponsoree to be a mentor of his or her sponsor!

Crew Feedback Form

To assist with keeping information on what skills, abilities and experiences each network member has had, all Knowledge Workers will be asked to complete Crew Feedback forms at the end of each event they serve on. The forms ask questions such as what roles the individual played during the event, what they're interested in doing next, what improvements in supporting the event could be made, and so on. This information will be shared so that Process Facilitators can know who has had what sorts of experiences; who can document, who can scribe, who can edit video. The process improvement will help us begin to develop a set of evolving best practices. None of these notes contain confidential or personal information other than summaries of skills, activities, and ideas for process improvement.

Crew Feedback Form Questions

Here is a current list of the questions on the feedback form.

  1. What types of assignments did you perform? How successfully?
  2. What skills / strengths did you use? What skills / strengths did you not use this time but could use at future events?
  3. Did you observe anything that you would like to explore next time?
  4. What about the experience did you enjoy most? What did you have difficulty with?
  5. What did you learn? What questions were prompted by the experience?
  6. Regarding products, output or performance issues, where did the team excel and where could the team improve?
  7. What do you want to experience next in the collaboration between you and MG Taylor?
  8. What is something future team members should know about you in order to allow working with you to be more productive and enjoyable?
  9. What skills / talents / gifts do you bring to a team?

Responsibilities of the Sponsor

  1. Your mission overall is to facilitate the transition of the Knowledge Worker into, through and possibly out of the MG Taylor network. Also see the four purposes listed above.
  2. Make a new Knowledge Worker explorer welcome in the network. Make sure they know they can call you if they have any questions at all about MG Taylor. Make sure they submit a profile if they wish to the website and database along with a photograph so that other network members can get to know them. Assist in the operation of posting this information if necessary.
  3. Send a new Knowledge Worker explorer an introductory Kit concerning MG Taylor, or point them to the website where the kit is contained. The kit covers topics like how to submit expense forms, what MG Taylor is all about, and other topics. The kit is currently under development and probably will change constantly over time and with usage.
  4. Keep track of each event that your sponsored Knowledge Worker participates in and talk briefly with them after each event to get their impressions of the project. Again, this is not an evaluation but you do need to keep notes so that you can reliably represent your sponsored Knowledge Workers to other Process Facilitators.
  5. When you're assigned as a Process Facilitator, make sure you consult the Crew Feedback forms in the MG Taylor network database to get a sense of who can do what and who wants opportunities to work on new skills. Also make it a practice to check with other Process Facilitators and sponsors to help you select your crew.
  6. When another Process Facilitator has worked with someone you're sponsoring on their crew, it may be helpful to talk with them to get an idea of the nature of their assignments and of the event itself. At a minimum, read the Process Facilitator's own Crew feedback form from the event.
  7. Not everyone works out in the network for any of a number of reasons. A sponsor should help facilitate some people to select out of the network in a reasoned and graceful way if that's necessary.

Responsibilities of the Knowledge Worker Being Sponsored

  1. Call or E-mail your sponsor whenever you have questions or concerns. Your sponsor should be able to help you get certain assignments for future projects.
  2. If you're brand new, you will be asked to prepare a short profile about yourself including a picture that can be posted to the web for other Knowledge Workers to see.
  3. If your sponsor relationship is not working out for any reason, you can request a new formal sponsor.
  4. Complete Crew feedback forms after each project you work and submit them to event's process facilitator. You may also wish to send a copy to your sponsor. If you don't complete these forms, then Process Facilitators will not know what skills you have or what assignments you're interested in.

Initial Contact Between Sponsor and Sponsoree

In no case should a new network member show up to crew an event without having had some initial contact with a sponsor. A sponsor should contact a new sponsoree within a few days of when the assignment is made.

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