“When people tell me they’ve learned from experience, I tell them the trick is to learn from other people’s experience.” – Warren Buffett
Seventeen-plus years in the Information Technology vertical. Eight plus years specifically in a Consulting role. Recently completed my first quarter with Tahzoo. Did I need a mentor when I began the most recent chapter in my career? Absolutely! (Why wouldn’t I?)
There is a misconception that mentoring is just an advising or training activity for younger resources. I believe that there is an opportunity to be mentored at all levels of one’s career. What's more, you should never close yourself off to being mentored by someone younger than you. (In the end, age really is just a number.)
Looking back over the years, I’ve had several relationships where I see that a particular resource played a mentor role in my career to this point—even though I or the organization may not have recognized it at the time. Here are a few:
Adam C (GEICO), Bill L & Tom P (Salem Web Network), Steve W & Steve R (Experis), Brian B (Ameex); and, now, a handful of talented people at Tahzoo (Matt H, Tom W, Travis K and Patrick R)
At Tahzoo, we strive to be better than we were the day before. We hire interesting people who are interested in learning. We believe in the market place of ideas. We challenge people to come up with ideas to make working at Tahzoo better.
Having experience on both sides of the table at one point or another in my career, there are four recommendations I would pass onto anyone that I mentor or that wants to be a mentor themselves:
- Participate in Active Listening
- Be Curious and Ask Questions
- Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone
- Be Engaged in Your Industry
Simply put, when you start a new role at an organization or within an industry, people don't know what they don't know until you tell them. That said, don’t use these opportunities to preach (or, worse, vent), but have a genuine conversation in which you reciprocate the relationship and embrace the strengths and contributions that the other brings.
Our CEO once said, “Great ideas are born and given life in the cauldron of shared perspective. It’s the energy that will drive our company forward. Each of us is gifted moments of clarity and understanding that when expressed are the catalysts for change. If you trust the people you work with, then trust them with your ideas.”
Embrace the role of being a mentor and the value that it represents within your company. Acknowledge the experiences of others. Inspire one another.
If nothing else resonates with you, remember the most useful piece of guidance I’ve ever received … keep breathing.
Photo by Skippy13.