Archive for the ‘mentors’ Category

If Richard Simmons were to show up at your door step without any warning to set you up on a personal fitness plan, you might want to consider that you might have a weight problem. Because Richard Simmons doesn’t just show up at random houses without warning to set up random people on personal fitness plans.

And you should have figured out a long time before Richard Simmons showed up that you had a problem, and done something about. If Richard Simmons shows up at your doorstep, it is because you are in serious trouble–life or death trouble–with your health.

If some person of statue in your company or industry tries to step in and offer you a few suggestions out of the blue, would you consider it an insult or an opportunity?

If that same person came to you as part of a serious intervention on your part, would you push away or would you do exactly what they said exactly how they did it because they are far more successful than you?

You’re being approach because you’ve got a problem. A problem you may or may not have noticed in yourself, but someone else has, possibly because they have been in the same position you are in. And for whatever reason, they’re trying to help you.

Maybe they truly care about you. Maybe they only care that you are holding some project back and losing the company a lot of money in the process. They care enough to help you fix the problem.

The question you should be asking yourself right now is, do you care enough to let them help you fix the problem?

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This Guest Post Written By Linda Finkle

As managers and business leaders we all have faced the age old dilemma of whether to hire or not to hire new staff. Indeed, this question presents a weighty set of issues. On one side of the scale are all of the benefits a company hopes to gain by hiring more staff. On the other side of the scale are all of the concerns that either prevent hiring or result in limited training time for new employees.

This article will show managers that training new employees does not drain time and resources and that with a little effort they can tip the scales in favor of business growth.

A thorough hiring process prevents unforeseen costs of training new employees. Spending time and resources upfront on vetting potential candidates insures that the individuals you hire fit the mold of your organization. In the long run, the initial costs of hiring will pay for themselves because an employee who quickly becomes a seamless part of the infrastructure requires less training and yields productivity more rapidly.

Once you have hired a new employee, you do not need to complete all aspects of their training immediately. Keep in mind that business development occurs over time not overnight. Managers who avoid the rush to train employees give themselves the time to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the employee. Moreover, managers can then develop a training program specific to that employee’s needs. As such, your company avoids excess expenditures on unnecessary training. At the same time, you are putting the money where it counts: in training designed to improve upon an employee’s weaknesses.

Every expenditure made towards training a new employee does not translate into a cost for your company. On the job training, where new hires shadow their managers, permits managers to teach good business practices simply by performing their daily tasks. For example, good listening skills are critical to maintaining clientele. Permit your new hires to watch you engage in meetings with clients and have a discussion over lunch with your employee about what the employee took away from the meeting. Then at the next client meeting, let your new hire take the lead on engaging the client. A short feedback session following the client meeting should put your employee on the right track. This on the job training permits the employee to learn from actual experience rather than costly off site training programs. A little time investment was the only calculable cost.

Employees also can assume an active role in their own training. A system that requires employees to check in with their supervisors is more efficient than one that relies on managers to do the checking in. The former permits employees more flexibility to expand upon their interests in the company and more room for innovation. An employee driven system also relieves managers of the burden of overseeing every assignment managers give to their employees. Ultimately, the employee-driven system means that companies avoid unnecessary redirection of managerial time and resources.

Mentor programs provide a vehicle for teamwork and afford new employees a constant avenue for help. A mentor is a senior or mid-level employee who assumes the work of acclimating new employees. Without mentor programs, managers and supervisors will spend inordinate amounts of time training new employees and showing new employees the ropes. A mentor program, however, allows managers to pass off the task of training to a mentor who is equally as capable of indoctrinating the new employee. In fact, mentors often are in a better position to provide the necessary structure and guidance for new employees because mentors are still a part of the employee cadre. As such, new employees can learn by shadowing mentors and mentors can teach without interfering with their own work. Managers, by contrast, are more distanced from the daily grind and would have to distract themselves from managerial responsibilities to train new hires.

Training new employees need not deplete critical company resources. By following any or all of the above suggestions, companies simultaneously can conserve time, save money, and yield production. Just watch the scale tip in your favor.

About the Author:

Linda Finkle is a leading expert on organizational communication strategies and human potential development. As CEO of her executive coaching firm, Incedo Group, Linda has helped countless leaders build internal communication and conflict resolution strategies. She brings about changes in attitude and leadership style that yield dramatic results. Company profitability is an inevitable side effect. Learn more at


It’s a little bit of a gimmick when you see senior executives pulling espresso shots behind the counter at Starbucks or having Michael Dell taking customer service calls from a cubicle at the Dell help center. But it does give a boost to morale to see the upper echelon at least have some working knowledge of what it takes to slug it out in the trenches every day.

Now here’s a question to think about: do your senior leaders need to have a mastery of the jobs that those that report to them perform every day? The obvious answer to that question is no. But the snarky and the smart answers to that question is, “Isn’t that why they have you there in the first place?”

I made up a fable from bits and pieces of stories I have heard over the years about a janitor in a company with the right amount of corporate experience and knowledge that when the executive board stumbles upon his existence, they immediately plug him into their vacant CEO position, only to demote him back to janitor the next day after company wide complaints of the waste paper baskets not getting emptied as quickly as before.

The moral of the story is that sometimes it is easier to find a boss than a worker bee, and the value of either may not be properly weighed. The point of the story, and overall point of this post, is that you can’t have any logical upward movement inside of your organization if you can not fill the lower level positions and responsibilities that are left vacant.

This goes a step beyond the adage that indispensable employees are the last ones to get the promotions and growth opportunities because the company would literally fall apart if they were to leave their positions. This actually is meant to speak to stagnate growth at both end of the spectrum: cushy executives whose fear of innovation and mobility crush any hope of a natural progression and the failure to hire enough talented new prospects willing to go through the attrition process at your company.

In working on my new writings, I’ve been reviewing lots of old writings to see if there are strings of pearls of wisdom that I can claim…or if I have been a classic flip-flopper. Submitted for your review and approval, and article I put on the web in October of 2005. It received no known response…



The October 31st, 2005 issue of U.S. News & World Report has a cover story on “America’s Best Leaders,” chosen by a committee convened by the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. The article highlighted 25 of the best leaders, for a variety of industry backgrounds, to including names like Bill & Melinda Gates for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Steve Jobs for Apple Computer and Pixar, Brian Lamb for C-SPAN, Condoleezza Rice as United States Secretary of State, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, and Oprah Winfrey for HARPO Inc. and `The Oprah Winfrey Show.’

So what does this mean to you as a reader of an article on issues pertaining to the job market? The answer to that question is another question. The answer to that question isn’t as simple as it may seem.

Who do you want to work for?

The best answer most people want to give is for the best boss possible. And that would seem to be someone who instills many similar traits to those displayed in this list of best leaders.

But in reality, some of the best leaders live and work in conditions that require some of the most intense and strict behaviors, and are truly some of the hardest people to work for. May be there expectations are too high and there demands are too strict. Maybe your a little more laid back your career (or just lazy period) and the meeting the constant goals of an super-achiever are going to conflict with your plans to play pick-up basketball with the fellas later.

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates may have mellowed over the years since the initial wars over which personal computer platform would dominate the market. Or maybe now that they have more money, they can hire better publicists. The horror stories of the original days at Apple and Microsoft are legendary. Remember that Jobs was pushed out of Apple for a while for being overbearing and lording over personal projects that weren’t meeting the bottom line.

Remember that Bill Gates made this list for the charitable foundation that he oversees with his wife, **not** for growing Microsoft into what is simultaneously one of the most influential and most hated companies in the world.

As you search the classified for that next possible dream job, make sure you always remember to do your homework. Study up on the company, its performance, and especially its leadership. For every episode of ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ that has Oprah giving away one hundred cars, there a story about her sending staff to by her coffee and lunch because she doesn’t carry small bills–and her not being good at remembering to pay them back. Whether true or the fabrication of disgruntled bad employees, you can’t get the full picture from a special report.

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