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Tag Archives: mentoring

Eight steps to finding a mentor

You’ve heard it before: to further your career, finding a mentor to guide you is important.  Mentors are people who have experience and knowledge in your desired vocation, and who are willing and able to share what they know.  But how exactly does one go about finding a mentor?  It’s certainly not going to happen if you wait around hoping that a mentor will miraculously find you.  Successful mentoring relationships are intentional, and the impetus for action has to come from you.

In my latest column in The Globe and Mail, published in this morning’s print and online editions, I lay out eight important steps that will help you get the mentorship that you desire.

finding a mentor

Eight steps to finding a mentor

The above link takes you to the online version on The Globe’s website.  But if you get the print version of The Globe, you’ll find it on page B7.

Occasionally, The Globe places my columns behind their paywall; if that happens, here is a link to a pdf version we have archived on our website:

I would love to hear from you!

Well?  Please don’t be shy, I’d love to hear from you.  What have you done to find mentors to help you further your career?  If you’re actively seeking mentors right now, what is working for you?  And what are your challenges?  Are you in a place in your career where you are able to mentor others?  If so, what are potential “mentees” doing right, and what are they doing wrong?  Please share your perspectives by adding your comments below.

Radio interview – preventing the boomer brain drain

boomer brain drainBracing for the boomer brain drain was the title of my regular column for The Globe and Mail that published on August 6.  In it, I outlined five strategies to retain crucial institutional knowledge (and prevent corporate amnesia).

It got a fair amount of interest and positive feedback, including a call from the folks at the More than Money radio show on 770 Newstalk CHQR.  Dave Popowich and Faisal Karmali host this weekly radio program that focuses on planning for retirement, lifestyle and everything in between.  They were interested in advice I could offer on how people contemplating retirement could pass on their knowledge before departing their organizations.

Transferring knowledge wealth at retirement

Here is the link to my segment in the podcast of their show on August 18; the entire segment lasts about 10 minutes.

What advice do you have to offer to add to what I shared on the show?  Are you contemplating retirement and find yourself in a similar situation?  Or have you experienced a situation where this “ boomer brain drain” was not recognized, and key people left the organization with critical information about processes and relationships?  Please share your perspectives by adding a comment below.

Bracing for the boomer brain drain

As the last of the Boomers move through their 50’s and beyond, those who elect to take early retirement often take decades of tacit knowledge with them.  This boomer brain drain – the loss of undocumented, intuitive experiential information about people, business processes and informal procedures can leave huge gaps in an organization’s cumulative intelligence.

The boomer brain drain can cripple your company

This corporate amnesia can cripple a company, so if you’re a leader, it’s up to you to actively identify and work to mitigate this possibility.  And the time to do it is now, well in advance, and not just in the months and weeks before a key employee is due to leave.  In my latest column for The Globe and Mail, I offer five strategies to brace for the boomer brain drain, and retain crucial institutional knowledge.

Bracing for the boomer brain drain

Bracing for the boomer brain drain

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Reverse mentoring: working one-on-one with a younger colleague can help you stay relevant

reverse mentoringI often discuss the value of one-on-one mentoring relationships with my clients as well as here on the blog (in fact, one-on-one mentoring makes up a significant portion of my professional practice).  The assumption with mentoring is often that it is a one-way effort – veteran staff mentoring younger employees.  However, there is just as much value in reverse mentoring – where senior employees benefit from a one-on-one learning relationship with someone who is much younger.  The value can come in many aspects, but the most beneficial is likely in the area of technology.

When it comes to technology, there are many tools and resources out there that you may have never heard about.  So if you are over 35 years old, it’s worth considering a reverse mentoring relationship with a younger work colleague.  Ask your younger mentor what trends they are observing and what new technologies they are trying out.  Ask them to show you how these tools work.  Tell them about the work-related challenges you are facing and see if they have solutions to offer that you may not have considered, or for that matter, even know about. Continue reading

You are a role model – so walk the talk!

role modelAbout three years ago, I blogged about a very disturbing situation involving a Texas (so-called) veterinarian Kristen Lindsey and her now infamous cat kill.  As difficult as it was to write it, I knew it was important to do so, because I wanted to underscore a very important leadership message.  Which is: you are a role model. Whether you know it, whether you want it, people are watching you, and you have a standard of behaviour to uphold. It’s critically important as a leader to walk the talk.  If you want your employees to act and behave in a certain way, then you need to model that behaviour.  Well this fundamental leadership tenet came up in several discussions with client groups just in the past couple of weeks, so I felt it was worth addressing again today.

You are a role model (whether or not you want to be!)

It’s important as a leader to recognize that you are a role model, and therefore you need to be thoughtful about how you behave and act.  Here are some examples of scenarios described to me recently, where people just didn’t get how important this is: Continue reading

Positive role models exist everywhere!

A couple of years ago, I posted a video on the blog under the title of You are a role model. The video had a lot of great messages in it, but more than anything else, it illustrated something that I repeatedly tell leaders – “You are role models.  Whether you want it or not, whether you like it or not, your people are watching you, and your behaviour and actions will determine how they behave and act.”  And it really doesn’t matter if it’s at home or at work!

Recently I came across another video that conveyed the same message (and brought a tear to my eye) so I couldn’t resist sharing. Here it is (it is in Thai, but it has English subtitles):

My primary reason for sharing the video with you is to illustrate the importance of being a positive role model in all arenas of your life. But I know there is more than one leadership (and life) lesson to be learned here. What did you get out of this video?  Please share by adding to the Comments below.

P.S. In case you were wondering, this is actually an advert for a Thai mobile company. Cool, huh?

If you are not a positive role model, you cannot be a leader

Today’s post is about an event that happened back in mid-April. I’ve waited this long to blog about it because I found this incident very disturbing, and it’s taken me a while to be able to write about it without feeling sick. Those of you who know me personally are aware that I love animals which is why this particular story is very distasteful. As repulsive as I find it though, my point in posting is not about the event itself, but rather about the leadership message that lies deep within. First though, let me tell you the story (which you may have already heard about through other sources).

Kristen Lindsey, a veterinarian in Austin County, Texas posted a photo of herself on Facebook proudly holding up a cat she had shot and killed with a bow and arrow along with the words,

My first bow kill lol. The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through it’s head. Vet of the year award…gladly accepted!

Not surprisingly, the photo went viral. A defiant Lindsey then posted on Facebook:

No I did not lose my job. Lol. Psshh. Like someone would get rid of me. I’m awesome!

Turns out she was wrong. Continue reading

You are a role model!

Given that today is Valentine’s Day, I thought that this video titled “If you give a little love, you can get a little love of your own” is VERY appropriate.  Just to set expectations though, it has absolutely nothing to do with romance!  It’s less than five minutes long, so I hope you’ll take the time to watch it – it struck a chord with me for several reasons – one of them not so obvious.

This video has a lot of great messages in it, but I have one that most people don’t immediately see.  What this video really illustrated to me is the importance of role models.  I repeatedly tell leaders – “You are role models.  Whether you want it or not, whether you like it or not, your people are watching you, and your behaviour and actions will determine how they behave and act.”  And it really doesn’t matter if it’s at home or at work!

What else does this video say to you? Please share.

Everyone needs a role model or mentor

In December 2004, a frightened baby hippo became an orphan as a result of a devastating tsunami that swept the shores of Kenya.  Stranded on a coral reef, he was ultimately rescued, and since there was no way to return him to the wild, he was placed in Haller Park Sanctuary in Mombasa.  Scared and frightened, and no doubt searching for his mother, little Owen got close and comfortable with a grumpy 130-year old Aldabra giant tortoise called Mzee.  Perhaps Mzee’s round shape and gray colour reminded Owen of his mother.  At first, the tortoise wanted nothing to do with the hippo, but Owen persisted.  Eventually, the bond between hippo and tortoise strengthened and two became inseparable.  They roused each other for meals, spent hours wallowing in the pond together, and snuggled up side by side each night.  In fact, for a while, Owen behaved more like a tortoise than a hippo.  He ate tortoise food, such as leaves and carrots (and ignored the grasses that hippos normally eat).  He slept at night, not during the day as wild hippos do.  Continue reading