The organizational champion is someone who does not see leadership as an end in itself. A champion takes the lead not for himself, but for the good of the organization and the people within it. He does his job out of love for people rather than for his own selfish desire. He uses his own personal values to make decision for the benefit of all. A champion is an enlightened leader. A champion will always be looking for the best win-win scenarios. Champions are not a new breed of leaders; they have been around for century, but the newly fast-pacing world, which we are living in, makes them more relevant today.
Traditional hierarchical organizations are slow to respond to disruptive event because of the time it takes for the information to reach the top heads and for the relevant orders to get back to the bottom of the hierarchy. With champions at every level of your organization, the answer to a disrupting event is immediate because every champion will take matters into their own hand following the company values and their values to create an appropriate plan of action. This allows your organization to move faster and appropriately during difficult time by improving innovation at all level.
It might be an accurate description that managers would appreciate the impact of a champion on their team. However, cultivating champions and managing them require a greater commitment than simply overseeing transactional staffers who put in their time, meet their deadlines, and tend to do their task lists. Champions don’t respond to the usual management techniques. People with drive toward possibilities come alive in spite of fear or intimidation, certainly not because of it. Organizational champions think less about following procedures within a role and more about their potential to have an impact on a business and on a society. Champions don’t accept jobs. They accept missions. A job description on a sheet of paper is just a starting point for them.
Companies should have their fair share of champion. Presidents and CEOs should trust their champion with the more challenging tasks. The benefits far outweigh the risk. For more information about organizational champion, you should read “The Organizational Champion – How to Develop Passionate Change Agents at Every Level” by Mike Thompson.