Ellen Ensher reviews three components of organizational culture including: espoused values, basic underlying assumptions and observable artifacts, as well as discuss tips to make mentoring more than a program but part of the overall culture.
- "Culture eats strategy for breakfast" says management guru Peter Drucker. 70% of Fortune 500 companies have formal mentoring programs. However, many companies today are focusing on developing a mentoring culture as well. I'm going to walk you through Schein's model of culture using Zappos as a best practice example. This will give you a tool to help you make mentoring part of your own organizational culture.
First, ask yourself, what are your organization's values, philosophy, and mission? How can you bring these values to life through mentoring? At Zappos, there are 10 core values, which include being humble. I spoke with Jon Wolske, a culture evangelist at Zappos, yes, real job, about their mentoring culture. According to Jon, being humble is remembering what you've done in the past that worked and didn't work and being willing to share it with others through mentoring.
At Zappos, people can search for a formal mentor, but it's just part of a culture that employees provide mentoring to each other as needed. Second, what are your assumptions and beliefs about how people should behave at work? One of the biggest assumptions at Zappos is that everyone's behavior should reflect the idea that delivering happiness to customers is job number one. Even though the vast majority of sales happen online, the customer service hotline is open 24/7 and customer service reps are encouraged to make a personal connection with their callers.
Third, look around your office. What are the visible artifacts in terms of symbols and office decor that you see? What are the informal rules or stories that people tell about your company? All of these are indicators of your culture. Next time you go to Vegas, you can actually take a tour of the Zappos corporate headquarters. It will tell you a lot about their culture. Employees are likely to greet you with a megaphone and ask you to talk about how weird you are, which is one of their core values.
Mentoring is all about helping people understand the informal rules about how things really work at the office. Culture is like air, it's vitally important, but we don't always notice it on a daily basis. For more information on how to make your organization develop a mentoring culture, I recommend Lois Zachary's book, Creating a Mentoring Culture. The best way for you to make mentoring a success is to create a culture where mentoring thrives.
- The benefits of formal mentoring programs
- The types and purpose of mentoring programs
- Designing a framework and a needs assessment
- Creating a mentoring culture
- Ensuring organizational support
- Choosing participants
- Training essentials for mentors
- Concluding and celebrating your program
- Evaluating your program
- Making your mentoring program last