Archive | November 2011

A Gift of a Lifetime

By Jim Perrone –

Mentoring is a  gift that someone chooses to  give you. And knowing that the person does not have  to give that gift adds immeasurably to your appreciation of its value. I recalled just such a mentoring moment as I was thinking of this blog post.

One day a friend, whom I also consider a mentor, took the trouble to give  me some exceptionally impactful  advice in the form of very direct feedback. It happened over twenty-five years ago, but I remember it as if it occurred yesterday. Such if the case with gifts like this.

I was crossing Chicago’s loop, taking a short cut through the City Hall/County Building when Read More…

Once Mentored, Always Mentored

High achievers in the professions, academics, sports, politics and government almost always have people in their lives who support, encourage and advise them. I began to notice them in college, those students who always seemed to be talking to the professor after class, then walking across campus with them, or meeting them for coffee. We had an expression for these students and it wasn’t flattering. Our attitude rose mostly out of envy that they were the favorites and we weren’t. Read More…

This Just In

Development Plans – Borrrrring!

How many of us have become a  little skeptical of the value of the IDPs (Individual Development Plans) or the PDPs (Professional Development Plans) included in our performance assessment instruments each year? In a past life, we put together many such programs for clients. When we trained managers and supervisors how to use the instruments, we heard the usual protests about  preparing them. “They’re not worth it.” “They end up being blown off.” “You sign off on them just to satisfy the next level up.” Sitting down withyour manager for a nice mutual discussion on your strengths and weaknesses, and feeling completely safe in sincerely confessing your lack of some skill or your need to alter a habit is often very difficult. And if the person you’re discussing it with can affect your future, maybe impossible. Besides, completing development a plan is a required procedure, so you may feel you are completing the exercise more for the organization than you are for yourself.

But as we have created mentoring programs over the years we have  discovered through observation and feedback from mentors and mentees alike, that mentees are far more at ease and much more motivated to discuss professional development issues and to set goals for improvement with their mentors than they are with their bosses. I’m listening but I don’t hear any gasps of surprise out there. It’s just easier for the mentee to consider a mentor as a colleague or an ally. Why is that? The mentor, if he or she is doing the job right, does not have an axe to grind. The mentor’s only priority is that the mentee is helped to improve and grow. And, of  course, the mentor properly does not have input into the mentee’s performance rating.

So the  moral of the story is – Do not assume that development planning will always work between a boss and direct report. Do think seriously about providing mentors for people in your organization.

– Jim Perrone