What's Ahead - Editor Thomas Bruni discusses mentoring's place in the big picture.
Were there a magic recipe to make an organization worth more than the sum of its parts, mentoring would be one of its base ingredients.
The ultimate goal of any mentoring program is to make sure no showstopper exists that prevents one from realizing his or her full potential. Ideally, mentoring should provide the new hire with a head start in the process of gaining awareness and understanding of how the organization works, how to navigate through it, and where exactly the new hire fits in the whole picture. Instead of climbing the associated steep learning curve alone, the new hire gets a free ride from the mentor.
Mentoring (among training programs in general) is ever more important in consideration of the looming “big crew change” that will absorb a large chunk of experienced professionals who will soon hit pension age (or have already done so). Before the full scale of the retirement process unfolds, the industry needs to have the second-liners ready to take over the baton.
Mentoring is also instrumental for what probably is the most valuable talent of all: leadership. The mentor serves as a role model and teacher, instilling the ability to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organizations—the essence of leadership.