GoforGold


Go for the Gold

Walt Disney though long gone, has created a legacy through his cartoons and his Disney World family entertainment. He has institutionalized his values into his enterprises. Though he is dead yet he still speaks and touches this generation and others to come. Nurturing champions is about institutionalizing in the psyche of people, businesses and ministries the values you hold dear. Legacy is your voice resounding past the grave guiding and influencing posterity.

Lasting wealth creation is multigenerational and is oriented toward the long run and not the short run.

Dennis Peacocke

Building a legacy is a process that is intentional and time consuming. It requires effort. A legacy is not created by default or by mistake. It takes a conscious decision that translates into a discipline of nurturing others. The values you pass on to your children, your protégés and those you touch can be so inculcated that these will pass them on to another generation. Legacy building, like writing a will, is purposeful. It is based on forethought. Thinking ahead and determining the kind of future you desire for those after you. Then you deliberately take actions to affect that future.

One sure way of doing this is by building people through nurture. Changing the values and belief systems of the people you train is part of nurturing. Building self-efficacy. Painting a picture of the future that they can aspire to. Inspiring them to dream big. To aiming higher. Challenging them to pursue the fulfilment of the God inspired dream. Encouraging them to spend themselves for God’s glory and in the service of mankind. Modelling greatness for them. Living a life worthy of your calling.

Gideon Makoni, my grandfather was renown in his days as a fiery preacher. He started well. He planted many Anglican churches around Rusape. But — he did not finish well. He became a polygamist and turned away from the faith to a religious cult. His progeny has suffered since because of the legacy he left. I guess I got a portion of his positive legacy before he corrupted it.

If we do not make plans for a better tomorrow, tomorrow will be no better.

John Maxwell

Nurturing champions entails a commitment to live a morally upright lifestyle. Commitment to values. Commitment to principles. Commitment to building people.  Commitment to relationships. Commitment to the long term. Mentoring as a way of increasing your legacy is about finishing strong. Many start the race but few finish. Legacy builders keep their eyes trained on the finish line. So that they can, with those gone before them declare, “I have fought a good fight of faith, now is laid up for me a crown”. Go for the finish line. Go for the gold. Nurturing champions is not about how well you start but about how well you finish. The way you finish inspires those you leave behind.

Another hero started well. He was the pride of Israel. But on his death bed he declared, “I have played the fool”. Champion nurturers finish strong. They do not play the fool. They invest for the future. They invest for posterity. They do not seek popularity but they definitely seek an increased footprint!

Champion nurturer the right to have your voice speak from the grave is bestowed on those who model godly values and finish strong. Many have started well like my grandfather but spoiled their legacy through a poor finish.

The only limit to your legacy is the one you place on it yourself.

John Maxwell (paraphrase)

Nurturing champions has a multi-generational perspective. It answers the deepest yearning of the human spirit to contribute meaningfully to society and exercise influence transgenerationally. I trust that the journey we have shared, created a questing to deposit in the earth a legacy that outlives your earthly sojourn. The Bible says the memory of the just is blessed. May you die empty because you have emptied yourself into emerging champions who will carry your legacy into the future! May your quiver be empty because you have shot out your arrows to their destiny!

Mentoring increases your effectiveness through leveraging relationships and resources. Are you leveraging yours or are you hoarding them? Are you increasing someone else’s impact? Are you building someone else’s dream? Christian leaders should both mentor and be mentored for maximum impact on the world.

Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime.

-Reinhold Niebuhr

Similarly mentoring accelerates and intensifies character development and values assimilation. Will your values dying with you? Are your values and principles ingrained within your business or ministry? How will your business look after you are gone? Disney’s values still speak to our generation. How far into the future will your voice echo?

Champion, go for the gold! Increase your footprint! Increase your legacy! I charge you to seek influence beyond the immediate. Reach past your own generation. Put your hand in the hand of the master legacy builder, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Become part of his legacy! Your influence and legacy increases to the extent that you yield to his influence and legacy. His voice still echoes throughout the ages as it did in the dirty sandy streets of Judea. His values and philosophy still shape society. Has your life been shaped by His?

The greatest affirmation is yet to ring out, in that deep baritone voice. Well done good and faithful servant. Enter into your Father’s rest. Will it be for you? Are you ready for it? Go for the gold!

May your influence increase and may the sound of your voice speak to future generations. Till we meet again. Go for the gold!

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difficulty


In this instalment we discuss the final two forms of

Difficulty

It occurs when the person has good intentions toward the other but there are psycho-social problems in the way they relate to another. The absence of malice, however, does not mean that the relationship is free from dysfunctional behaviour. Such relationships may be characterized by conflict, disagreement of judgment, or the placing of the other in binds. Binds occur when ultimatums are given or the person demands that the other make a choice. For example, a mentor that suggests that a female protégé should not have children to devote more time to her career is placing her in a bind in which she must make a choice between her career and her desire for a family. While such scenarios are not pleasant, they do occur, and despite the “good intentions” of such advice, the inherent problem in the relationship is the mentor imposing his own model of a successful career upon the mentoring partner resulting in serious stress and/or anxiety for the mentoring partner.

Spoiling

When problems in the relationship are related to vocational issues and one or both of the parties have good intentions toward the other, the result can be the “spoiling” of a potentially positive relationship. A good relationship gone sour is one in which some act of betrayal has occurred (perceived or actual). Such betrayal evokes emotions of disappointment in the other or of regret. The person who has been betrayed may regret investing so heavily in the relationship only to be betrayed by the other. Often such betrayal occurs because there were problems in the relationship that impacted the career of the emerging champion (vocational), yet were never discussed and dealt with openly. For example, a mentoring partner may feel that the mentor has been “stealing” his ideas and presenting them to senior executives without proper credit. The mentor assumed that the partner didn’t mind. However, resentment of this behaviour builds in the mind of the partner until he takes one of his ideas to another manager in the company, rather than the mentor. The mentor learns of this and feels betrayed, disappointed, and regrets developing the protégé. The result can be a spoiled relationship, when the mentoring partner’s inherent feelings of being taken for granted result in overt behaviour, perhaps even quitting the organization. Underlying the partner’s feelings of betrayal is a sense that he has not been treated fairly by the mentor. Such perceptions of violation of organizational justice (fairness) have implications for mentoring relationships. Spoiling may also occur when a protégé is mentored by someone not on the fast track in the organization. For example, one might be mentored by a person who falls out of favour with organizational executives. His emulation of this mentor may do considerable damage to his career opportunities. The intent toward the emerging champion was not bad, but the mentoring relationships had negative vocational outcomes, due to the mentor being on the wrong career track. This is another form of “spoiling”, even though the parties to the dyad may not be aware of it. A potential champion within an organizational setting should therefore assess the risk of collateral damage that may accrue to him through the choice of an organizational mentor.

A final form of mentoring dysfunction relates to sexual harassment or sexual undertones in a cross-gender mentoring relationship. The manifestation of sexual overtones within a mentoring relationship is clearly inappropriate and dysfunctional. The more intimate the potential mentoring relationship the higher the risk of this dysfunction. The history of both business and church is filled with sound relationships, which bred intimacy that ultimately led to sexual involvement. Any cross gender mentoring relationship should always bear in mind the fact that women are stimulated by words. It is therefore recommended that such cross gender relationships be either within group settings or within the context of transparency e.g. ensuring that there is either chaperonage or meetings are held in public and open venues.

Sabotage


Sabotage is a form of mentoring dysfunction that manifests in typically three formats namely revenge, silent treatment and career damage. It occurs within a career setting when on of the partners has bad intent.

This occurs especially in situations where dependency develops. If the mentor is dependent on the mentoring partner, whenever the mentoring partner outgrows the relationship the mentor holds him back. For example in an organization where the mentoring partner is a subordinate of the mentor, the mentor may not recommend the partner for promotion or career enhancing opportunities for fear of losing him. When the mentoring partner finally realizes this, he resents the mentor and may engage the silent treatment behaviour. Resentment may build to the point where the mentoring partners seeks revenge on each other resulting in an abusive relationships. Whether revenge is taken directly (such as verbal insults) or indirectly (such as an attempt to damage the other’s career politically), the relationship has reached a level of intensity, which may transcend issues related to the organizational situation.

Natale, et al discuss the role of envy in mentoring relationships which can result in protégés cloning themselves into images of their mentors or the mentor blocking the progress of a protégé who is a “rising star” in the organization. I know an excellent gentleman who has successfully mentored many promising young men to success, but later ruined the relationships because of jealousy once the protégé succeeds past his mentor. His envy and jealous often left them with bitter memories of strife. Mentors or would be mentors need a strong sense of self-worth that enables them to rejoice in the success of their charges. The mentor stifles the protégé’s advancement. This is rife with mentors with an inferiority complex. They derive their sense of worth from being the “top dog”.

If the mentoring relationship is within an organisational setting, there is a likelihood of triangulation that may occur between a boss, subordinate and a mentor. Sometimes clashes arise as mentors try to protect their charges from “unreasonable boss” and end up interfering with departmental issues. It is also possible for a cunning protégé to create strife and conflict by manipulating the mentor against the boss.

Another form of sabotage may be deception. This manifests when either the mentor or the mentoring partner:

  • Manipulate information to result in compliance. For example some part of the information may be deliberately withheld so that the counsel given would just be an endorsement of a preset decision
  • Engage in ingratiatory behaviour – pretending to agree with the mentor to gain approval, flattery or self-presentation. These are benevolent acts of deception in order to influence or manipulate the other.

NegativeRelations


In this post we will discuss a dysfunctional relationship that manifests as negative relations where there is definitely some bad intention on one of the partners in the sphere of social relations. The two most common forms are bullying and becoming hostile to each other.

Bullying within mentoring relationships sometimes occur especially with the stereotypical tyrannical mentor who must have everything his way. The mentor may either be exploitative, manipulative or egocentric. This kind of mentor will use spirituality or organizational power to manipulate the mentoring partner into submission. The mentor within organisational settings wields both power and authority. If the mentoring partner pushes back then the relationship becomes abusive or the mentoring partners become organizational enemies. The resultant dilemma for the mentoring partner becomes choosing to remain in an exploitive relationship or enter into conflict with the mentor (who is defined as a more senior and more powerful individual in the organization). Either alternative is unpleasant and potentially damaging to the mentoring partner emotionally. A hypothetical case is where the mentor befriends a charge and provides counsel but with the intention of financial gain. The moment the protégé draws the line, the mentor becomes vindictive and seeks to manipulate his charge. For example in a spiritual setting the issue of honour for the mentor may be drawn too far resulting in the protégé failing to extricate himself out of the abusive relationship without feeling guilty.

Issues of co-dependency and suffocation within the relationship can occur. Some people cannot make any decision without the input of the mentor or alternatively the mentor has to approve any decision made by protégé. As pointed out before the mentor provides insight and guidance but the final decision should always remain with the emerging champion. Some dysfunctional mentors become surrogate mothers in the lives of the protégé and impose themselves in every aspect of his life. A rule of thumb is that the mentor should only give counsel when it has been sought unless the situation has dire consequences. Mentors exist in a person’s life by invitation and therefore should be cautious to maintain the boundaries of the protégé. Mentors should not seek to live out their dreams through the lives of their mentoring partners.

Some mentoring partners feed into the tyrannical behaviours of mentors by being timidly submissive and unquestioning. This normally emanates from unhealthy parent-child relationships. The emerging champion should be able to honour and respect the mentor while at the same time reserving his ability to think critically and assess the counsel and advice of the mentor. An unhealthy submissive relationship may be a way to avoid responsibility for the actions of the mentored person. However in life despite the input of our mentors we are ultimately responsible for our choices and destiny. Consequently if my mentor becomes abusive I reserve the right to terminate the relationship. I should not be controlled by the mentor. Influenced – yes. But controlled – absolutely not.

CausesofDysfunctionalMentorship


Although it is clear that good mentoring leads to positive outcomes, bad mentoring may be destructive. In some cases, it may be worse than no mentoring at all. Although truly dysfunctional mentoring relationships are likely to terminate, relationships that are marginally effective may simply endure. Perhaps these relationships endure because the mentoring partner receives some limited help from the mentor, or because he does not want to risk negative repercussions from terminating the relationship. Perhaps, these marginal, dependent or abusive relationships serve needs that are simply dysfunctional; some individuals may seek dysfunctional work relationships just as they seek dysfunctional home relationships. Dysfunctional mentoring relationships may result in more harm than not being mentored.

Researchers noted that some mentoring relationships run into turmoil when:

ü  the interests of the parties change,

ü  differences in judgement exist between mentoring partners and each party insists on its view,

ü  Mentoring partners have undue involvement in one another’s personal problems beyond the levels of the other’s comfort.

ü  Some mentors are tyrannical or selfish.

Sometimes people have idealized images of mentors and the mentoring process and when their ideal and realities of mentoring fail to match problems arise. Mentors are frail human beings who face challenges like everyone else. Failure to appreciate this results in protégés being frustrated and disappointed when they encounter the humanity of their role models.

Sometimes mismatches occur in formalized mentoring. This results in serious conflicts within the mentoring relationship. Studies have shown that formalised mentoring is less effective than informal relationship based mentoring. I agree with Andrew Gibbons[1] who argues, “A deep irony is that often, the more organised and structured we make mentoring, the less likely it is to really work. I feel that mentors are like noses and strawberries – it’s best if you pick your own. Thus, even the best intentioned efforts to make mentoring work, can founder as it will have its most positive effect when it evolves naturally, often without consciously considering mentoring is happening at all”.

Another potential cause of dysfunction is lack of support and unrealistic expectations.


[1] Andrew Gibbons, Getting the Most from Mentoring accessed from www.oscm.co.uk.

Dysfunctional Mentorship


A few years ago we took our daughter and her friends to Imire Game Park, near the small town of Marondera in Zimbabwe, for her birthday party. It was an exhilarating day, which was capped by a game drive. We saw an interesting phenomenon when we met a herd of buffalos. This herd included a towering elephant who acted as the matriarch. This elephant grew up with the buffalos and thought that it is a buffalo. It protected and defended them. It refuses to associate with elephant herds. At one time a bull elephant was introduced to her for mating. They were kept in the same pen. It attacked and killed the intruder because it felt that its turf was being invaded and its authority undermined. This elephant thought that it was a buffalo. Psychologically it was improperly nurtured and was not exposed to mature elephants and therefore its thinking is warped. It has lived its life below par. Though it protects the herd of buffalos, it aggressively attacks any would-be threat to its authority. Its strong nurturing instinct when coupled to its warped sense of identity made it a menace to any potential champions in the herd. She was happy as long as the buffalos and members of the herd were in their place and no one dared to rise to championship.

Sadly there are dysfunctional mentoring relationships with mentors who act like the matriarchal elephant among buffalos. They will support and encourage their charges as long as they do not outgrow the matriarchal elephant. Any growth beyond a certain level of influence poses a threat to the mentor who then seeks to destroy the protégé. Although mentoring is a force for good, if abused it can destroy rather than nurture champions. Mentoring can build you or sow seeds for your destruction depending on the spirit and character of your mentor. Mentoring is excellent but it has its pitfalls.  There are some dysfunctional mentoring relationships.

Consider this biblical case. Eli, the priest, had problems restraining his children who abused women and sacrifices at the temple in ancient Israel. He mentored Samuel, the prophet who was brought to the temple by her mother. In later years he also had problems restraining his children who became unruly. Samuel mentored David who subsequently had problems restraining his own children. It appears to me that mentoring has potential to pass on the weaknesses of the mentor as well. In biblical language this could be considered as a form of transference/impartation of spirits. It is known psychologically that when we communicate intimately we communicate our words as well as our moods, attitudes and our spiritual demeanour. Is it possible that we can also pass on our negative character flaws as well as what could be called generational iniquities?

I know an organisation where people complain about certain characteristics, mannerisms and dysfunctional leadership styles of the founder. Yet the majority of the middle managers in that organisation behave exactly the same way towards their subordinates.  One day I said to one of the middle mangers, “Do you realize that you are repeating the leader’s behaviours that you disdain?” He was shocked. What they detested in their leader, they replicated in their own lives. By relating to that mentor they inherited his weaknesses as well. When you relate closely to a person the spirit that works in them is transferred to you as well. That’s why you eventually have intimate people behave in very similar ways.

One way to control for the weaknesses of mentors is to have multiple mentors, in which case one will cover for the other. In certain critical areas you must have a number of people you are accountable to. That protects you.  Proverbs says, “In the multitude of counsellors there is safety”. The good thing about multiple mentors is that it restores the responsibility to make the final decision to the protégé. The mentors give different perspectives but it is the responsibility of the emerging champion to analyse the diverse views and then take an informed decision. Too many people substitute mentors for their own decision-making responsibility. It’s a fear of being responsible for the consequences of their decisions and so they look for mentors who would carry the risk. The Makoni amplified version of the Shona proverb says, “For maximum benefit from counsel, have the ability to think independently about the counsel given.”

If a mentor is uncomfortable with you consulting others, it is likely that he is seeking control. You should be able to have brainstorming sessions with both mentors sometimes.  It does not have to be adversarial. They are on the same team whose brief and mandate is to facilitate your achieving maximum impact.

I want to state categorically that in a mentoring relationship the control remains with the protégé.  If you believe that your mentor is too controlling, it’s up to you to draw the boundary. It is your life that is being built. It is your life that can be destroyed. You can start with a relationship that is sound and solid and get to a point where your mentor is intimidated by who you are. When you continue in that relationship, you will self-destruct. You should be able to say, “Thank you very much. I really appreciate what you have done. I will always respect you but I think at this stage I am moving on”. You control the relationship and never the other way.

I start with the premise that the function of leaders is to produce more leaders not more followers. Ralph Nader

You cannot stand before the throne of God or any court of law to say, “I am not liable for my actions since my mentor counselled me to do this”. At the end of the day you are accountable for all the decisions you make.  It does not matter how much counsel you get – it is your life and destiny at stake, and therefore you have the final responsibility over all decisions affecting your life. It is your responsibility to live your life according to your understanding of the revelation of the will of God, not according to your mentor’s understanding. However you are also liable for the consequences of that understanding should it prove deficient.

I take in counsel but I retain the final responsibility. Similarly business executives have final responsibility over the recommendations of consultants. They cannot shirk responsibility on the basis of the consultant’s opinion. They still need to assess the consultant’s input and then make a decision whose consequences they will live with. My pastor always says we are not guided by prophetic words. They are not the rule of thumb for the way we live. I seek to understand them and interpret them and make the final decision. I am finally accountable for every decision I make. Even if it’s my mentor who told me to do it, if I am not in agreement I am able to tell him that I am still weighing my options. I should be able to engage my mentor and let him explain his reasoning and the assumptions of his counsel. I do not have to do it simply because he told me to.

I led a young man to Christ in 1984 and mentored him. By God’s grace he qualified as a medical practitioner.  At some point I caught him trying to recruit some of my staff away from me. Such is life. Mentoring relationships do not always work out the way you think. You have things like that. You will develop people and they steal your business or customers.  Some of your star sales people whom you have groomed will turn around and hurt you.  But you need to have the capacity to forgive and keep blessing people because your call is to influence people for God and to touch the world for him. He never said everybody will appreciate you, neither did he say there will be no challenges. So as mentors, you will be hurt but you need to move on and keep building people. That’s life. You will not stop nurturing though others disappoint you. It is therefore apparent that dysfunctional mentoring can also originate from the emerging champion.

Dysfunctional mentoring does not occur as often as good relationships. However it’s important to recognise that dysfunctional mentoring does exist and can have severe consequences. There is potential for mentoring relationships to change over time and become dissatisfying and destructive as individual needs and/or organizational circumstances change. It is therefore possible for a perfectly sound mentoring relationship to turn dysfunctional. Since mentoring relationships are often intimate, the consequences of negative interactions could be detrimental to both mentoring partners and other related parties.

mentorship model


Any champion in the making needs at least to be in four mentoring relationships namely an upward mentor, downward mentor, internal peer mentor and external peer mentor. Lets discuss these in detail.

An upward mentor is someone you look up to because he has excelled and distinguished himself in your chosen field. He has expertise or wisdom due to experience and maturity and you want to tap into his tacit knowledge. He may be a coach or a sponsor – somebody who has done what you aspire to and you look up to him. In an organizational or professional setting, this will be a person senior to you. His wisdom and expertise adds value to the emerging leader as he offers perspective gained from years of excelling in the field. Within my dental field I was privileged to work with an astute dentist, the late Bill Sylow. Bill shaped my view of dentistry. I looked up to him and learned a lot about practice management. I learned both what to do and what not to do. It is important for emerging champions to learn from the successes of their mentor as well as from their failures.

One of my mentors is continually in a quest to expand his capacity by seeking out new mentors depending on his current ministry focus. He currently pastors a church of about ten thousand but is aiming at pastoring hundreds of thousands. He has thus chosen to learn from Pastor Chris Oyakhilome who has a worldwide ministry and pastors a church of over two million. This upward mentoring expands his competences and widens his vision.

Downward mentoring refers to someone you are currently mentoring. This implies that while you are being mentored you in turn mentor someone else. When you mentor and teach others, you learn and grow. As someone so aptly puts it, “A teacher has not taught until the pupil has learnt and taught someone else.” Begin to impart to others what you have learnt, it increases your learning skills while multiplying your influence. I believe that emerging champions even while still being nurtured should nurture others as well. From the biblical record Barnabas nurtured Paul who nurtured Timothy. In turn Timothy was required to nurture faithful men who would be able to teach others also.

Internal peer co-mentoring refers to people within the same age group, same organization/profession influencing each other. The biblical David and Jonathan were peers who sharpened each other to fulfil their destinies. These are people who share same values and similar aspirations. Dr Matthew Wazara has been a peer mentor to me. We meet often to talk, plan, pray and sharpen each other. His influence has made a huge difference in my life. I am amazed at his intensity and perseverance in pursuing his God given dream in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. Matthew has paid a heavy price in business but still pursues his dream with an unbelievable tenacity and passion. The world is yet to hear from this young man. He is destined for great things and I believe that he will change the face of healthcare service provision in this nation and beyond.

Champions in the making also need peer- mentors from outside their frame of reference. These are people who are either outside their profession or organizations. There are some weaknesses that can crop up without you noticing and if all your mentoring relationships are internal you may lose the balance. An external co-peer mentor challenges your routines, assumptions, beliefs and worldview. This brings balance. You don’t need all your mentoring relationships to just be from your church.  If you are a professional you don’t need all your mentors to be in one organisation because sometimes you develop groupthink.  So co-peer mentoring will allow people from outside to challenge why you do what you do. One of the strengths of Tom Deuschle as a pastor is that he has developed a circle of mentors who do not necessarily belong to the same church movement. Some of his mentors are diametrical opposites in personality and style and life philosophy. This has brought tremendous balance to his life and ministry.

Model Contemporary mentor


Many would be champions struggle to access some celebrated heroes and wonder how they can be mentored by these. This article shows how to gain access from these mentors easily. We discuss  model contemporary mentor.

This is a passive mentor. It can be somebody you admire from a distance because he inspires you. But you do not have a solid relationship with him. Nigel Chanakira, the founding CEO of Kingdom Financial Holdings, is one of my heroes. I admire his entrepreneurial spirit and his commitment to charity.  It took a while for us to have a closer relationship particularly since he was domiciled outside Zimbabwe. We communicated by e-mail. I followed his exploits from press reports. He was a model and hero. But with time it was possible when he returned home to be able to establish a relationship that is closer. By learning from a distance and following his exploits – I later managed to gain access. He has spoken at our Champions Turf gatherings.

This is a person you see from a distance and exerts passive influence on your life. As you study everything about him, even though you don’t have a relationship, you still derive value. Of course the value you derive is limited. But it’s a starting point.

I have a number of Zimbabwean business executives that fall into this category. I have benefited from some of their wisdom by inviting them to guest lecture to my MBA students. The strategy of inviting them for lectures added value both to the students and to me. Some of these who have been kind enough to guest lecture for me were Joe Mtizwa of Delta Corporation, Shingai Mutasa of TA Holdings and Patterson Timba of Renaissance Holdings. Just last year all these have spoken at our Champions Turf Dinners. Sometimes attending these kinds of functions will also give one leverage and bring you to the attention of movers and shakers. Many young champions have been mentored by attending these informal learning dinners.

Pay any price to stay in the presence of extraordinary people. Mike Murdock

Hebrews 13:7-8 says to consider the lives of your leaders who have gone before you and imitate their examples. This is where you are following and imitating their footsteps without necessarily the benefit of a closer personal relationship. Most pastors are contemporary models for their flock since it is not practical for them to maintain a close mentoring relationship with everybody in the church. Senior corporate executives may also be contemporary models to someone within the organization.

However if the things you want from that person are crucial to your destiny, you must create strategies of getting close to that person and convert him from just a contemporary model to a close relationship that can maximize your learning. A friend of mine wanted to get closer to his contemporary model. He bought enough shares in the model’s publicly listed company until he sneaked his way onto the corporate board. He thus had immediate access to his hero and now the mentoring relationship is more active. That’s strategizing. It may cost you financially to get into the kind of mentoring relationship you desire. If you want it desperately and are convinced that the relationship is an important link to your destiny, then you should not hesitate to invest your financial resources to attain it. However one should not seek to bribe his way into such a relationship as this is both unethical and detrimental in the long run.

We have thus proven that it is possible to learn from a distance while strategising to get closer to a potential mentor for maximum benefit.

sponsor


Sponsors

I absolutely believe that people unless coached never reach their maximum capabilities.

Bob Nardalli

Sponsors empower you with resources and analytical skills about the organisation.  A sponsor will show you the intricacies of the organisation and helps you negotiate organizational politics. Organisations have unwritten rules which you violate to your peril. So you need someone who has been there to sponsor you and walk with you along the way. Sponsors know critical people in the organization and will open the doors for you. Sponsors defend and protect you from organizational hawks as well as from your own mistakes. A sponsor may hide you under his wings because he sees your potential but is aware of your weaknesses.

Corporate entrepreneurs are people who are innovative and may create break through products which may cannibalize and replace the organization’s cash cows. They are critical in making sure that the company’s cash cows are not replaced by competitors since this will threaten the survival of the organization. However people with vested interests may seek to thwart such innovative products. For the projects which can secure the future of the organization to succeed, corporate entrepreneurs need some respected organizational sponsors to adopt their project, protect and defend their cause. These would be respectable high achieving executives who have credibility and know the inner workings and political manoeuvrings of the organization. Their support is crucial for the survival of entrepreneurial ideas.

Counselling


A Counsellor

A counsellor is someone who offers encouragement. A sounding board  who listens with either a view to advise or just to allow you to express yourself and clarify your thoughts. Sometimes we need people to listen to our rumbling and as we rumble we gain clarity of thought. They offer perspective and major evaluation. In other words they can tell you, where you are going wrong in your personality, your opinion and your attitudes. Counsellors in most cases come in for short periods of time. If you find a counsellor who desires a long-term counselling relationship and requires you to be dependant on them then there is a problem. A counsellor should be able to help and then release you to move on. A counsellor may also help deal with emotional issues.

Bob, a friend for many years, emigrated some years ago together with his family. He developed serious family issues with his in-laws. On one visit back home I had a chat with him and felt impressed to encourage him. He was relieved because at that point he felt trapped with no one to confide in. He feared that discussing the family problems with an outsider would be a betrayal of the family. I knew the family well. I was acquainted with the behind the scenes happenings in his extended family. I pointed out where I felt he had been ill-treated and corrected him where he had been wrong. He confided that he was at a point where he was considering divorce due to the stress in the family. However he felt relieved to know that someone understood what he was going through. A while later I got a long distance call from Judith, his wife. She told me that what I had discussed with her husband a few weeks earlier really helped him. She then explained to me the family situation. I listened, asked questions and then gave her some counsel. I asked about their marital relationship. She recounted how the challenges and conflicts in her family of origin had adversely affected her marriage. What compounded the situation was that she pressured him to quit their current church family. He would not budge but began to default on his priestly role in the family. On probing it became clear that she was tiring him with complaints and nagging about both the church and family issues. I asked her not to put him under any pressure and desist from discussing the issues of conflict for a month. I gave her an assignment to pray for God’s help and release the matter to His capable hands.

A month later I received an excited call. Her voice exuded joy and exuberance that had been missing for a while. The conflicts had ceased in their family. Bob had started to take his rightful position in the home. They were now praying together. She had peace of mind concerning the strife in the family of origin although it was not fully resolved yet. Bob had finally decided to resign from the church without her prodding and they had wonderfully settled in a new church family. Their marriage had been saved.

Once in a while Judith still communicates to update me on developments. The challenges of her family of origin are still a work in progress but she has also noticed her own complicity in the strife and is working on it.

Creating, nurturing and celebrating champions