Monday, August 31, 2009

Salute to Mentors

Most organizational leaders need mentoring from time to time. A mentor can be a great objective advisor for group development, conflict resolution, and often, change management, just to name a few. Mentors are usually experienced, trusted industry leaders who can offer sound advice, ideas, and objective feedback. Mentors could be people that you admire; have special skills relevant to your industry or agency and provide you with honest, objective, and sincere advice. How do I know if I need a mentor? Well, look closely at areas where you personally could use some help or could benefit from outside counsel and the answer may become quite clear. Please share with me times when you needed a mentor to take your organization to the next level or share with me a time when you acted as a mentor to someone else?


  1. Randy, I would venture to say that all organizational leaders need mentorship at some point. Every individual has their strengths and their areas that they are able to improve on. Recognizing these and then seeking mentorship for the areas where improvement is needed or experience is lacking, is key to continual development as a person and as a leader. And I believe that sometime we need mentorship in the recognition of our strengths and areas of improvement.

    I believe that it takes a certain confidence to seek out a mentor’s advice. It is hard for us to admit that we may not have all the solutions to the problems that we face on a daily basis. Thus when seeking a “Mentor” and “Mentee” relationship, it should be one of mutual respect and understanding both parties should have a positive experience in the relationship.

    Mentor/Mentee Relationships also develop and grow with time. I have a mentor that has turned into a friend and colleague as we have progressed. He was a supervisor and now we face many of the same problems. Now we look at each other more eye to eye and because of this or friendship is even better. He says that there is nothing more gratifying for him than to see someone that was taught and mentored by him to become a colleague and someone that he can ask a question to regarding a situation. What more could a teacher want than to see their student succeed?

    Another good attribute of a mentor is objectivity. I have found that the best insights to situations that I am face with come from a mentor that is removed from situation and preconceived perceptions of people involved.

    This is a long winded reply but I have found my mentor/mentee relationship to be very gratifying and helpful in my professional experience. One example of how a mentor helped me greatly was in the motivation of a board of directors. I had a complacent board that was not motivated to “Give, Get or Get Off” and he helped me over a period of about 2 years educate and motivate the board to become active members of the team. He is someone that answered to a board for over 30 years and had many great ideas to walk that fine line when working with my Board of Directors. I use many of his ideas to this day and developed them into versions of my own.

    I don’t know who John Crosby is but he said this and I agree with him:

    “Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.”

  2. I don't know a man (or woman) on God's green earth that has all the answers. Even if you think you have the answer, getting a different perspective is always beneficial as long as you are open minded. A mentor is a person who can be your sounding board, who can play devil's advocate or help you to see thing from a different perspective to make sure you've thought of everything or just be supportive. I personally turn to a couple different people because each has their own insight and way of handling different situations. There are times when taking into account all advice given transpires into my own resolution to the problems at hand. In the past eight years, my business has taken many different turns. The advice given by several to deal with these rapid changes has helped bring me to where I am today. Good mentors also have mentor(s). Just as behind every good man is a good woman, so it is also in the corporate world. Behind every good CEO is a person who has taken the ride (up and down) to success with him. No one does it alone! Even the greatest of leaders have someone they turn to,look up to and of course share the success.

  3. Great and valid points. My greatest mentor/advisor is my wife Lupe.