Monday, 8 January 2007

Who the Hell is my Mentor?

A few days back before I really went on my vacations I found a good old colleague (actually a student of mine in the initial phase of my career) on orkut, I waved a Hi and got a response that really triggered some awesome thoughts …
Me on her orkut Scrapbook: “Hey Manisha... Good to c you on orkut… remember me?”
Her reply: “Hello Sir... Yes I do how I can forget my mentor”

Well the line really punched my brains … I was really proud to know that she found a mentor in me… whilst past few months when we were trying to assign a senior Team member as a Mentor to the Juniors I realized that its not so much Honest to do that … I think the search of the Mentor should be done by own self…Grrrrrrrrr doesn’t fit in your Management Jargon Books? Why Not? After all they have brains and should Know who is the person or a group of people who can help them accelerate in their career….

A few things worth mention:

“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.” – Douglas Adams : Catch them at the right time …. I usually try to catch my mentors during the lunch / Tea breaks… that help you get some real free time and some good share of the trade secrets. Make sure that you use this time to get mentored and not discuss.

“The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.” – Sven Goran Erikkson: Don’t hesitate to catch the right guy and ask for advice… 2 years ago in one of the conferences I attended in Mumbai I was able to catch hold of Arun Nathani, yes the co-founder of Cybage It was a straightforward and honest effort which was of real help, the success of this fearless approach is that you might get more than what you expect…;) I got almost 1 hr of his excluding the lunch time we spent discussing a couple of exciting things about Management and it was a talk without a boundary of formality…

“Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow; he who would search for pearls must dive below.” – John Dryden:
There are a whole bunch of mentors strolling around you…. I am not so much in favor of one mentor especially because of usual habit that I got from Shahrukh Khan… “You should be Greedy though not hungry”. Yes one mentor is good but more then one is best… don’t you know why extra marital affairs are so popular these days? Heck Yes… you learn a lot especially with shared experiences and varied natures and personalities of the mentors… Make sure that you catch hold of multiple mentors outside there jurisdictions … well you will give birth to a illegal conflict amongst your mentors if they lie in the same belt… Hmmm don’t understand there is a idiom in Hindi that means to 2 swords can’t stay in one Scabbard, So beware when deciding on the mentors.

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” – Dr. Carl Sagan
A mentor should not be a easy candidate … do enough research so that you know much about them... that way you will also be able to show them that you are interested in knowing and learning them and of course it will help you in building yourselves…

“The Boss is always right” – Someone Unknown
People who you regularly report to, your Immediate or Super Superiors can always be considered for this… the past and present bosses can be considered a vivid experience can be gained through this.

While these are something’s that should be taken care while deciding on the mentors … it is also important that you take care of a few more:

1. Never try to get solutions… Ask for there experiences in difficult situations
2. Ask for a few and you will get more…. Ask for a few minutes you are likely to get hours from them and frank talks if the topics are relevant
3. Discussion kills: A Mentor is a personality that will help you give pathways … but if you go for a discussion you might not get what they have experienced.
4. Build a relation with your mentor … Advice can then be sought very easily.
5. Identify a Great Boss and not a Boss as a mentor… A Great Boss is the one who wants to share his experiences and not just gives you suggestions.
6. Share your experiences …. Well the Great Mentors are always dying to learn more... so they will too be interested in listening from you.

While I njoy my next few days in memories of the vacation I had .... I will leave you to comment on what you think on Mentors..