Mentoring: The Truly Sustainable Business Solution

With headlines being dominated by
stories of technology developments from companies like Microsoft and
Apple, many business owners often feel compelled to look at the latest
and greatest developments to find a competitive edge and solution for
their future success.  Should we invest in the latest software?  Should
we upgrade our equipment?  Should we use our precious resources to
enhance our website to give our firm the advantage for market expansion
and increased sales?

While many opportunities may be gained by staying relevant and
knowledgeable in current advances, owners should remain cognizant of
past proven technologies for long-term business success.  So what
“technologies” have stood the test of time and yielded consistent
results?  A study of history reveals that most, if not all, successful
companies have critical mentors, internal and external, that have
empowered and enabled their accomplishment.   Guided by the premise that
we DON’T know everything and we CAN’T do it all alone, successful CEOs,
Presidents, and heads of families have universally turned to their
colleagues and elders for guidance, constructive criticism and support 
on their journey.  Accordingly, intentional and structured mentoring
provides a safe and time-tested forum for sustainable, lasting success. 

The practice, or art, of mentoring has shaped organizations since the
beginning of time.  Mentoring appears in many facets of life – inside a
family, on a sports team, at community organizations and in the
workplace.  While we quickly see the benefits on a playing field and
inside our families, many overlook a powerful opportunity in the
workplace.  Considering most of us spend a vast majority of our waking
hours in the workplace and we know mentoring works, why is mentoring not
more prevalent?  Perhaps our “sink or swim” culture says that we need
to earn the right to be successful in business.  Or, maybe our “hording
and protecting” ethos says we don’t want to share trade secrets with the
competition.  Whatever the cause, firms (small / large and public /
private) absolutely need mentoring for sustainable success.

While mentoring has conveniently yielded incredible results for firms
through the years, an imperative is fast approaching.  Heard of the
Baby-Boomers?  We’ve seen the statistics on the eminent retirements.  Is
your firm ready for the shift?  Are you part of the emerging next
generation seeking to continue and expand, or are you one that will
quietly retire alone with your stories and success?  The reality is that
both the next and retiring generations need each other.  Our
demographic shift says we will be a more diverse and differently abled
future workforce.  Many organizations unwilling to embrace changes in
technology and demographic will quietly retire.  Those willing to adapt,
embrace and foster a perspective of abundance shall survive and
thrive.  Consider making a difference and being intentional about
sharing and growing through mentoring.    

So how does mentoring work and what can I do to make it happen?  The
good news about mentoring is that it can literally start at home.  YOU
can be a mentor and can be mentored.  Consider your family and neighbors
as part of your mentoring playing field.  Idenfity friends at church,
your local club or other special interest groups as potential mentors
and have the conversation.  Take the next step and create some structure
around your mentoring efforts.  Study on successful processes and / or
find someone to give you a hand.  Just make the choice, make it happe
and enjoy!

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