Published July 15, 2014 by

Mentoring

Published June 26, 2014 by

You Can Too, Just Pause, Breathe

People ask me why I take the bus.  I tell them it is “because I can.”  I enjoy being with people in the big city.  I love listening to their conversations.  I love the luxury of time to take the bus.  Is there really any place that is so important that I need to rush?  People have this image that I am a taxi / limousine kind of guy.  Really?  They just don’t know me very well.  I am, and always will be, The Son of a Postman!

I have grown very fond of my mantra “because I can.”   People ask why I volunteer to help kids, or mentor people that are both junior and senior to me.  I just do it “because I can.”   There will be a day when I might not be able to help but for now I try.   I am “No Mother Teresa” but perhaps I could aspire to be among her many flocks.

“One theory says that if you treat people well, you’re more likely to encourage them to do what you want, making all the effort pay off. Do this, get that.

Another one, which I prefer, is that you might consider treating people with kindness merely because you can. Regardless of what they choose to do in response, this is what you choose to do. Because you can.”   Seth Godin

Namaste

Son of a Postman

Mentoring

Published June 3, 2014 by

Make It Happen, Make It Consistent, Make It Organic

I received this note today from someone to whom I give the occasional career (and life) advice and who I regularly connect to important business opportunities.  I suppose I am his mentor but perhaps that term is now too corporate for me.  I am his coach, friend, and connector!

He said, “By the way, I am trying to help two people get new jobs.  First, I got someone inside the company in front of the right people so that this individual might get a deserved promotion.  I am also trying to get an external person a job in my company.  I just made the connection last night and I have already set up an interview!  If I can give back just half as much as you, I can make a huge difference for others.”

I am very grateful that I was able to help and even happier that others are continuing the good work.

NOT Required Reading – My take on Mentoring

Mentoring can play a vital part in organizations large and small. It is important not only for an individual’s growth, but vital for the success of a business, a team or any other group. If all the little ships don’t rise together, the big ship won’t either. I have always been surprised to find people who have the attitude, “What can you do for me?” as opposed to, “What can I do to help all of us succeed?”

Mentoring is one of the most direct ways to provide nourishment to an employee, colleague or team member. We all need to figure out a way to make mentoring relationships evolve naturally and broadly. It is imperative that support for this starts at the top of an organization and it needs to be genuine. People tend to tell others about good mentoring experiences and that is the best way to get buy-in. This is a big part of the glue of the organization’s culture.

Corporate mentoring programs often mandate that every senior person sign up to participate.  I don’t really believe that these are widely successful but it is clearly better than nothing at all. People are so busy that the “mentoring” often can turn into just a periodic lunch date between the mentor and the mentee.

My best mentoring relationships have been those that have evolved naturally. There are several people who have been instrumental in my growth and success in this way. These were sometimes people I worked for, but not necessarily.  In all cases, they were people who took a genuine interest in my development because of a shared objective or a shared interest. It was what I call “organic” mentoring. This kind of relationship happens when the mentee also offers something needed by the  mentor.

Remember that I recently wrote about my mantra “help me help you.”   I suppose that mantra applies here as well.

Son of a Postman

Mentoring

Published May 29, 2014 by
Start At The Same Place, Reconcile Your Differences, Move Forward

Over the last several months, I have received many request from people asking for all sorts of advice.  The requests come from young people just starting out, mid-career people looking for a good next step, and senior people asking me about how I made my career transition after a long corporate career.  Some of the people I know and some I have never met.  Many are coming from people who read this blog, read my book, or found me on various social media outlets.  I am flattered that people think I can help.When people come to me for advice,  I like to start out using my mantra “help me help you.” A good leader, teacher, or coach who truly wants to help others should start out with a sense of what the individual believes they need to improve or what they need to do to change the course of their career.  Getting an individual’s self assessment gives the manager the raw material to get started.

Organizations typically refer to these efforts as “development.” Think of how many times you have heard about “child development” or “professional development.” Many organizations actually have a position called something like “Director of Learning and Development.” Yes, it might be good to have such a “department” responsible for guiding people along, but getting better at what you do
and making sure those around you do the same, should be everyone’s responsibility.


I am not trained in development. I became good at it simply by doing it. I tried lots of things that didn’t work so well and some that have worked very well for many
years. I have had the benefit of the occasional training class on this sort of thing but most of my advice to you comes straight from my own experiences. Remember, my
whole career evolved not from planning but simply from being willing to “do whatever it takes,” admitting what I didn’t know and then figuring it out.

Remember that all ships really do rise together.  Look around and see who you might help.  Don’t wait for some bureaucrat to tell you to go to a class or worse, that same bureaucrat one day tells you that you are not performing as expected.  Ask Ask Ask

Son of a Postman


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Mentoring