March 23, 2013

Increased Productivity – The Business Value of Mentoring

Doug Lawrence

mentoring sign post

There are various ways you can boost business productivity. You can focus on one aspect of your business that you can improve. For example, a lot of managers go to to see how they can improve the way they conduct business meetings. Or, you could try a totally new implementing a new continuous improvement methodology. But a lot of the time, you would benefit from focussing on company culture and improving how employees feel about their job role.

Sometimes just having a person that you can turn to that is a great listener can resolve a lot of challenges that we are facing both on a personal and professional level. Take that a step further and what if that person is someone that is outside your workplace and has developed a trusted relationship with you. You know that this person is not going to leak any of the things that you talk about to your co-workers. You know that what you say to them stays with them and that is so very important. That person could very well be a mentor!

A recent article entitled, "Mounting stress affecting workplace" in the Leader-Post newspaper has hit the nail on the head with what I am seeing taking place in most organizations. The article quoted a number of industry experts who all share much the same opinion on what they are seeing and what the outcomes are. The days of the open door manager are slowly beginning to diminish as they struggle to get their own work done will trying to resolve personal issues of some of their employees.

The article also touched on that employee who is determined to de-rail the best efforts of their colleagues and slowly grind the company to a halt while continuing to spread their negativity throughout the organization. Negativity costs the US economy $300B annually. I find that people find it a whole lot easier to focus on the negative rather than looking for the positive. I travelled to China recently and the airlines routed my luggage to another location other than the one in China. I could have focused my negative energy on the airline and some of their employees but chose to look at what the positives were in this situation. I got to see some strong supporters rally to the cause and help me out in a number of ways. They focused on helping me secure some clothes for the short term; they took over working with the airline to get my luggage to me as quickly as possible. Business meetings that were scheduled went ahead but with some understanding on everyone's part that this was not my normal attire. With all that energy focused in the right direction, my luggage showed up the morning that I was to deliver our training course, with help from companies such as to help with audio and visuals during the meeting.

There are a lot of things going on in our personal and professional lives today. I won't go into all of them and just ask that you look in the mirror and ask yourself what things trouble me today. Then I want you to think of how you might be supported in dealing with those situations. I am sure that you have friends or co-workers or even a manager that you sometimes will turn to. All of those can be part of your support network. I want you to think of the value of having a mentor – an effective mentor that can be part of that support network. This person would be impartial and likely outside of your organization so that any of the professional issues you deal with remain confidential. If you get to that cross roads and you are still not sure – contact me and we can discuss what might be a path for you to follow. Consider that my gift to you – the gift of mentoring!

As I read through the article and reflect I can see the business value for effective mentoring in helping to resolve a lot of the challenges that are mentioned. We need to look at effective mentoring more closely as the business value is most definitely there. Embrace the "power of mentoring"! Can you afford not to?



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