Monday, November 30, 2009

Fresh Perspectives: How to Make the Most Out of Your Reverse Mentoring Experience by Christa Babcock

In today’s dynamic advertising landscape, it has become increasingly important for Senior Managers to stay up to date with the latest concepts within our industry. The constant learning of new technology, new methods of communication within an organization, new perspectives on where our industry is going, and what other ways exist to make us better managers, overall are elements that correlate highly to a successful growing firm today.

Started in the mid 1990s by Jack Welch, the original purpose of Reverse Mentoring was to educate several hundred senior level professionals within GE and on new technologies by using the top young talent that the firm had just acquired. Today Unilever, Pepsi, Disney, Yahoo!, and Mindshare are all examples of organizations that are reaping the incredible benefits of this exciting path of discovery.

So, how can you use it and make the most of this great opportunity today?

1) Plan and Manage: At the very first meeting, set your goals for the overall mentorship experience. What is it that both of you hope to gain? Determine the metrics for how you will measure your partnership’s growth. As it may be the first time both parties are trying out these new roles, it is crucial to have a game plan set out in advance to avoid confusion for sessions and meetings throughout the process.

2) Keep An Open Mind: This experience is all about fresh perspectives. As a mentor, your best assets are the experiences that you’ve had as a new member of the working world, and the thoughts on where things are going and how we can improve them for our industry. Likewise, as a mentee, you are bringing a great opportunity for a younger mentor to gain great perspective of how to communicate more effectively with senior managers and see what C-Suite executives find to be crucial to the future of our business world.

3) Leave Your Status and Title At The Door: Reverse Mentoring is about coming to the discussion table without the current reference of where you are today in your firm’s hierarchy. This requires an openness of the mentee, as the young mentor might not be experienced with leading discussion and also of the mentor as the mentee might not be used to receiving such candid thoughts from a less experienced professional. Remember however, you are both there to engage and learn in a wonderful environment.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Mentees typically have this idea that they have nothing to bring to the table. I personally find comfort when my mentor openly expresses what he/she is looking to learn so I know how I can help.