A first glimpse at our strategic mentoring white paper…

I’ve been working for the past few weeks on a new white paper about Strategic Mentoring for large corporations and multinational groups. The subtitle for now is “How to Build the Fabled Connected Company & Engage Ever-Changing Markets”. We’ll probably keep it that way. : )

For now we are proof-reading everything, while the page set-up and illustrations are  being finalised by our friends at Pollen Studio. Everything should be ready for distribution early September.

But, for our followers, here is a sneaky peak at the first section “Mentoring is Strategy”…

Strategic Mentoring - Merkapt
Strategic Mentoring – Merkapt

1. Mentoring is Strategy

It all started relatively slowly in the 70s, bloomed in the 90s, then again at the start of the new millennium, and appears to be again the new thing to do. Every 15 to 20 years, we are confronted with the need to renew a generation of employees all across a company organisational chart, adapting more or less painfully to a mutated generation identified by a single letter: X, Y, and now Z.

Since then, formal mentoring programmes in large firms, have been seen as one of the HR’s best practice tools.

Mentoring is an « off-line help by one person to another in making significant transitions in knowledge, work or thinking » (David Clutterbuck, 1999). It is a medium to long term voluntary relationship between an experienced person (mentor) and someone less experienced (mentee) who is willing to benefit from it. 

As a reach-out program, socialising new arrivals in a company’s culture by creating a personal bond with a senior employee, is quite an obvious and smart thing to do. And, once started such programmes also lead to nice, prolonged  pay-offs, like helping mentees in their career development, or helping the company retain talents (depending on your perspective).

Now let’s be clear, this is all nice and interesting, but this is not a key matter.

If your company deters high potentials and bleeds talents, it’s probably not because your HR are sub-optimal in fast-tracking high potentials, or that your juniors’ on-boarding programme is not fun enough. Most of the time, it’s because your company is clueless about how the market is evolving. And it shows.

Of course, wherever you are on the planet, the local on-going economic crisis is not helping, the digitalisation of your ecosystem (or lack off) leaves you open to aggressive new entrants that do not seem to even speak your language, and even the simple notion of being an employee seems utterly outdated with new recruits aiming at being « intrapreneurs ».

Whether you are in B2B or B2C, what you should perceive by now is that what disconnects you from your market is essentially a cultural gap. At this point, you may want to re-read Clayton Christensen’s Innovator’s Dilemma.

The Innovator’s Dilemma principle explains that successful companies put too much emphasis on the current market needs that make them a success. They try to reinforce the current « magic recipe » as best as possible, build a culture around it, and eventually get blind sided on new opportunities that will meet their customers’ unstated or future needs. Christensen calls the anticipation of future needs “disruptive innovation”.

If you now want to go back at the ontogenic promise of a mentoring programme, you’ll realise its true potential. Because it is built to bridge individuals with different cultures together inside the same business. It is designed to be an active strategic tool helping your company move forward through the ongoing market disruptions.

In this white paper, we’ll help you understand how to design a mentoring programme that sustains your business strategy, and then eventually how to cascade it with an HR perspective.

Now that we better understand the role and versatility of mentoring programmes, let’s identify the key dimensions that you can leverage to serve your strategy.

Think of these dimensions as building blocks, that will help you connect your business to the HR perspective, and foster positive change throughout the company:

Strategic Mentoring
The key dimensions of strategic mentoring…

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We’ll publish a few other snipets during the next days. Stay tuned!

Author: Stéphanie

Stéphanie has developed an extensive practice of executive coaching in London for more than 10 years. She now coaches CEOs and top executives to help them with team creation and development as well as business agility. She is one the few European expert both implementing and doing research on mentoring programmes.

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