One of the greatest regrets that I have about my CEO role was that I did not have an ongoing mentor.
The mentor as adviser and learner!
Over the last year, meeting with many CEOs, one of the things that I see that can make life less stressful for a CEO is to have a mentor. A mentor according to the Oxford Dictionary is a trusted and experience adviser.
One of the greatest regrets that I have about my CEO role was that I did not have an ongoing mentor – I had advisers for various parts of the business; accounting, legal, sales skills etc, but I did not have a trusted adviser for the whole picture!
I look back and wonder about that, and realise that I thought mistakenly I had to know about everything and so, often under great pressure, had to make decisions that could have been much less onerous if I had had a trusted adviser to confide in.
In the broader picture of life, one can see how life can be made easier for young people who have parents who are mentoring parents. I realise that is a tough role as each generation thinks it knows better!
Perhaps it’s the same in business – Gen-XY may consider that the baby boomers do not understand their world – so my thinking on mentoring is a little different.
I came to this conclusion this week when I attended a Whitelion Breakfast – Whitelion is a great organisation that facilitates the mentoring of young people who are too old for the fostering system, have had troubled lives and at the age of 18 have no-one, and nowhere to turn. This is where Whitelion comes in and organises a compatible, suitably matched a mentor.
The keynote speaker at the breakfast, a CEO, told the group about his experience in mentoring a homeless young man who now has a job and a direction in life.
The speaker’s comment was: I have got so much out of this mentoring role – I sometimes wonder who is doing the mentoring!!
I think the real value of mentoring is for the trusted adviser to grow wiser through mentoring and the mentored to learn quickly what to do and what to avoid.
So my final thoughts for CEOs in 2007 – who is/are going to be your trusted adviser/advisers (it could be a board of course) in 2008?
My wish for you for the new year is that you find, or keep, a mentor so that your life is happier, more balanced and your business more successful !
Happy Christmas and New Year!
To read more Marcia Griffin blogs, click here.
High Heeled Success is Marcia Griffin’s latest book, and is a frank account of building a business from a solitary sales person to a multi-million dollar business with 4700 sales consultants around Australia and New Zealand. It recounts successes and failures along the way and was written to inspire entrepreneurs-particularly women to triumph in business.