Tips for Mentoring Inside a Small Organization
Not everyone is mentoring inside a large organization or has a weighty board of advisers to draw on. If you’re mentoring inside a small organization, you can use a technique called “creating your virtual genius team.” (You can use this activity if you’re in a larger organization, too.)
As a mentor, you work with your client on the process. Make sure you have pens and paper handy.
- Consider what qualities you would like that you don’t have at the moment and create a list or a mind map of them.
A mind map is simply a drawing of images or circles naming the key qualities with a series of sub-elements that flow from them.
- When you have your list, relax, go inside, and ask yourself a simple question: “Whom do you know or admire in business who already has these qualities? Choose someone whose work you know and understand, someone you admire and see as a role model. Name him.”
- Get clear on what it is about this person that you’d like to emulate. Be really specific.
- Imagine that he’s on your board or part of your advisory dream team, and get specific about the role you’d like him to play and what you’d like him to contribute.
You could imagine him as a potential investor in your business, for example.
- Imagine that you are him.
Imagine that you’re inside his body and have the potential of his whole experience and his thinking at your disposal. Really use your imagination to see the world through his eyes. Imagine that you have the person’s physiology and are really him (just as you did with your favorite character when you were a child).
- Ask your question. Whatever you want his help with, ask.
You can say something such as, “As I sit in the body of Warren Buffett, I want to know how I create a business in the next five to ten years that he would want to invest in. What would I look for if I were Warren Buffett? What would I look for in the history of the business in its first five to ten years?”
Notice what comes up in the response you get.
- Continue exploring further.
Ask what specifically he would do to track the business. What would he look for in the results you’ve achieved, perhaps about the way the share price has moved? What would he look for in the management team? In the products? What would make him say yes to investing?
Now, you aren’t necessarily looking to call Buffett tomorrow. You’re looking to replicate what he would see in your business. You’ll have a rich picture and some ideas.
- Keep going with this exploration for as long as you’re getting data and insight.
Who else would you have on your virtual board? If you wanted to create a successful brand, you could call on Jo Malone.
- Go through the process again, following the steps.
Your mind map on being Jo Malone and creativity in brand development may look something like this.
- When you’ve elicited all the qualities you’re looking for, consider how you can apply these qualities in your specific context. Have fun with it!
People wear their qualities for all to see and demonstrate them through their values, their behaviors, and what they pay attention to. Assessing a business is about looking at whether it’s robust, congruent, and does what it says on the tin. A bit like being a robust, congruent organizational leader. Successful leaders create successful organizations. That’s just fact. Don’t underestimate the value of working on yourself and on how you show up while working on the business.