A powerful sponsor can help you keep the job you have or help you find a new one. But in an uncertain job market, executives who count on one high-level backer may unexpectedly find themselves in a tough spot if their sponsor jumps ship. In sponsorship, as in investments, it’s wise to diversify your portfolio of assets: cultivate more than one sponsor.
Your sponsors should be independent of each other; if one goes down, the others won’t be dragged along. Having three sponsors is ideal: in organizations with fewer than 10 people, pursue one sponsor within the firm and two outside of it in the same industry; in larger firms, you’ll want one outsider and two insiders — one in your line of sight and one in a different department or division. This “2+1 Rule” gives you a better chance of surviving a threat to your department, your division, or even your firm.
Adapted from “To Diversify Your Network, Follow the 2+1 Rule” by Sylvia Ann Hewlett.