The people in your organizations train for years and go into debt for college. People work late nights and weekends. People spend the entire day taking phone calls when theyre supposed to be on vacation. And people generate ideas and create the solutions that your organizations need.
People do these things. The people you have working for you today and the people you may hire tomorrow. And, the people who may resign because no one has recognized their abilities.
Yet, clearly, organizations do not do a good enough job developing and promoting their most important resource their people.
What does it take to develop your people?
It takes more than writing equal opportunity into your organizations mission statement. It takes more than sending someone to a training class. It takes more than hard work on the part of your employees. What development takes is people from the CEOs office to the mailroom people who are willing to listen and to help their colleagues. Development takes coaches; it takes guide; it takes advocates. Development depends on mentors.
Time after time, successful people I talk to say that one of the most important keys to their success is having a mentor. It is hard to make it without a mentor and it takes too much time without a mentor.
But often there is no mentor around when you need one and especially when you face particular challenges. What do I mean when I talk about the particular challenges" that people in organizations face?
Challenges That Need Mentoring
Let me give you a few examples of some challenges we working people all deal with. Imagine that you are facing these situations. How would you react?
First scenario. Youve been working in a staff job and a line job opens up in another city. It would be a perfect career move for you but the company fills the job without even asking if youre interested. They dont ask because they assume your spouse wouldnt want to leave his or her job to relocate. What would you do?
Or imagine this. Youre in a meeting. Its your opportunity to shine in front of upper management. Youve got an important point to make and you start to talk. Someone cuts you off. What would you do?
Or lets say you make that important pointand no one says a word about it. But five minutes later, a guy at the other end of the table says the same thing you did. This time its a brilliant idea, and he gets all the credit. What would you do?
Youre in another meeting theres always another meeting - and one of your bosses tells a demeaning joke about the Pope - you are Catholic, and everyone knows it. What would you do?
Or a joke about gays which you are, and maybe no one knows it. Or a joke about women which youre not, but some of your colleagues sitting right next to you are. What would you do?
My point is not so much whether you or I know how to react in each of these situations.