Since its release in 1977, business people have been trying to force Star Wars references into their lexicon. Most of them are ham-fisted and extended metaphors about Jedi mind tricks, none of which will actually assist you. There is one, however, obvious bit of wisdom from George Lucas’ franchise that can practically be applied: the mentor/mentee bond between Yoda and Luke Skywalker (or Obi-Wan and Luke, for purists).
The business world started to realize the value of mentorship in the earlier half of the ‘70s, and while it’s been increasingly utilized in offices, over 40 percent of companies say they don’t offer such support for junior employees. Perplexing, as many of the most iconic entrepreneurs’ journeys involve a mentor (Zuckerberg and Jobs, Buffett, and Gates, etc.). Here are some of the reasons mentorships can often prove a necessary step in success.
Mentors Offer a Fresh Perspective
One of the key benefits of hiring a mentor is their years of experience. Books and classes can only take one so far, and having someone with decades of boots-on-the-ground will provide insights you may have never considered. They may be aware of certain pitfalls to avoid when making a deal, or suggest where best to make a move.
Setting SMART Goals
Another purpose of mentoring is to help you set goals that you can attain in the future. To do so, mentors utilize the SMART process. SMART’s origins are rooted in a 1981 issue of Management Review; however it’s proven a successful motivator in business, exercise, and recovery therapy. The acronym stands for:
- Time-sensitive goals
Your mentor will hold you accountable to your goals, creating smaller steps and bridging connections to help you get where you want.
If you’re going to be successful in business, networking is essential. 85 per cent of jobs are acquired through a networking connection, yet, less than half actually keep in touch with their network, citing time constraints as a reason. You’ll already be in good standing with your mentor’s network, and often they’re able to put you in contact with the right people.
Building Company Culture
The culture of your company will determine how your employees behave with one another and function as a unit. The post-COVID environment has given way to a new kind of toxic work culture that has driven many to resign, or at least start quiet quitting. 87 per cent of those who participated in a mentorship program, however, felt empowered by the experience. Mentors can help you create a culture that fosters integrity.
Be More Decisive
Managers are often faced with on-the-spot decisions, and the more successful you are the more critical those decisions become. It can often mean the life or death of your entire enterprise. This is where a mentor’s knowledge of pitfalls or previous mistakes they’ve seen made becomes vital. They’ll guide you through the process and ensure that any damage is minimized.
Kenny Hedges | Contributing Writer