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Lee C. Scheuer, CEO
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Plan for your best year - tips and strategies to make the most of your year.
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(posted: May 10th, 2010)
"Building your career without a mentor is like climbing Mt. Everest without a guide or a Sherpa. Sure you can attempt it, but why would you?"
In my recent blog, ''Mentoring: Your Secret Weapon'', I focused on the impact these relationships can have on your organization and on you, as you grow your leadership skills. Now I would like to share some practical tips for setting up the mentoring relationship for short and long term success.
Yoda to Luke Skywalker. Glinda the Good Witch to Dorothy. Mr. Miyagi to the Karate Kid. Each of these relationships demonstrates the hard work it takes to be a mentor, or a mentee. The hard work is often difficult for both people involved. It takes patience and a willingness to succeed. But when this is done, it is easy to appreciate the lessons learned.
So what makes a good mentor? And what should you look for in your Sherpa or your Mr. Miyagi?
Janet Lamkin, Financial Womens Association's 2009 Women of the Year, has learned a great deal from her mentors. She states,
"I would look carefully around my professional environment and try to find people who have the respect of others and who have skills or qualities that I need to develop or improve."
What skills would you like to develop with your mentor's assistance? Be strategic.
Then have the confidence to approach the targeted mentor. Impress them with your clarity on goals, objectives, and expectations. They will be more likely to make that mentoring commitment with you.
Once you select a mentor, do the things they tell you to do and report back the results to them. They will feel empowered that you are valuing them. Be sure to regularly express that you value and appreciate their guidance. The feeling of being needed and making a difference will often be a rewarding payoff for a mentor. We all love to help others. Give value to them, and they will be glad they gave of their time and knowledge to you.
A critical key to success is consistency. You both need to commit to the relationship, follow through, and follow up. This will ensure you are spending enough time together to make it work. It is a dynamic relationship, and mentees who just listen passively don't usually get much out of the experience.
I recommend setting a goal of adding at least one real mentor to your life every year, and learning from at least one really smart person each month.
"I think there is something more important than believing: action! The world is full of dreamers, there aren't enough who will move ahead and begin to take concrete steps to actualize their vision."
W. Clement Stone
Continuous improvement is accomplished by trial and error. Success without a plan is just an accident.
I would love to hear about your plan!
And of course, if you have determined the specific kind of mentor you want, please share it here.