Success often seems to correlate with business owners who go out of their way to find people who can be real resources for them as they steer their business. The owners who tap into the expertise of one or more mentors, who make a habit of getting out of the office to meet people and build a network of resources often gain expertise their peers are missing. The proactive pursuit of ideas, expertise and knowledge can illuminate shortcuts to help put a business on a fast track to success.
Voices I need to hear
I’ve been fortunate to benefit from some significant traditional mentors who have helped guide and instruct over the years. These are cherished, life-long relationships. But while these formal mentoring relationships have been incredibly valuable, there are many casual relationships where ideas and experiences have shaped my personal philosophy. I describe these as “voices I need to hear” that find their way into my path.
Here’s an example. I was a brand new leader chatting with a more experienced colleague about a business initiative. I casually commented on how impressed I was with the performance of two of his team members. His response was, “You just paid me the ultimate compliment.” He went on to say that in his mind, his role as a leader was to clear obstacles so his team could perform well and work well together. That conversation had a lasting effect and influenced my own leadership style. I consider this conversation to be a “mentoring moment.”
Opportunities in unexpected places
Insights can come from all directions, and often from unexpected people. I’ve learned that it’s not about knowing where to look, as much as it’s about keeping my eyes open, getting to know new people, and exploring new situations. Whether it comes from a speaker, a conversation or a blog, what defines a mentoring moment is its effect. These are the ideas that inspire, that change the way you see things, and help clear your thinking so you can solve problems.
Some business owners have so little free time that they may feel it’s difficult to make time for seeking outside perspectives. Others may feel opinions worth seeking can only come from a particular profile. My personal philosophy is that I can’t afford to miss opportunities to gain insights from others, and you never know who will strike a chord. Seeking new ideas and perspectives is a great way to develop your business. I have seen so many business owners connect and make magic whether they are in the same field or not. Be open to the voices you need to hear...maybe opening yourself to something new is exactly the push you need to move your team and your business forward.
Do you have a particular experience that you consider an important mentoring moment in your career?