A New Approach to Mentoring
With all of the changes in the fast-moving world of work, a single senior colleague as mentor no longer suffices. People
must create and cultivate developmental networks instead—small groups of people who provide regular advice and
support. A number of steps can be taken when setting up a network, such as carefully assessing opportunities and
goals, and figuring out what is needed to advance goals. When your network is in place, regularly review it as your situation
changes while making sure that you help out your allies as much as they help you.
Know Thyself. If you know your own goals, strengths, and weaknesses you can figure out whom to turn to for support and
know how to ask for and how to apply advice effectively. Start by reviewing appraisals and development feedback that you have
received, and assess your interpersonal skills.
Know Your Context. Know as much as possible about how to achieve your goal—whether that means a promotion, a new
career, or simply a better balance in life.
Enlist Developers. Develop alliances with senior leadership and those individuals who can promote you, coach you, and serve
as role models. Enlist those who can help you navigate your institution’s politics and share information about colleagues at senior
levels. Contacts at professional organizations could give you insights into new technologies, while family members could act as
The Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2008
Time to Rethink Your Job
We all know engaged, committed workers are
the most productive. But is it possible to
get staff more engaged and committed just
by changing how they think about their work? A new
Canadian study suggests just that.
Researchers at the University of Alberta contend that
encouraging employees to rethink their jobs and get
back the sense of purpose so easily lost in the day-to-day grind of meetings, projects, and deadlines can
significantly improve how they work. In fact, employers
that successfully encouraged employees to change
their mindsets in this way reported a 60 percent
improvement in attendance and a massive 75 percent
increase in staff retention.
“We discovered that people who are able to find
meaning and purpose in their work, and can see how
they make a difference through that work, are healthier,
happier, and more productive employees,” says Val
Kinjerski, co-author of the study. Workers who attended
a one-day workshop and eight weekly sessions on what
they wanted to achieve in their work and career reported
a 23 percent increase in teamwork and a 17 percent
jump in workplace morale. Employer costs related to
absenteeism also dropped substantially.