Join Simon T. Bailey for an in-depth discussion in this video Seeking mentorship and stretch assignments, part of Building Business Relationships.
In my own experience, the one area I found to be shared by successful people is having a mentor. To grow in your career, it is important for you to seek mentorship and stretch assignments that will improve and enhance your contribution to the organization. Before you seek a mentor, ask yourself, what skills do I need to know and sharpen? And how will this benefit my team, the department and my organization? The answer to these questions will help you find someone who has mastered their core expertise and ensures that they align with your goals.
Where do you find your mentor? Seek recommendations from trusted advisors, close friends and management. It is also safe to look outside your organization, so you can speak freely about challenges, career aspirations and accomplishments. Additionally, sometimes you don't need to be mentored one to one. Read trade journals, participate in networking groups and follow thought leaders as further sources for your development.
In my personal experience, my first mentor was a general manager of a service company. This individual helped me understand my areas of opportunity and behaviors that needed to change if I was to succeed long term in the organization. As a result of their positive influence, I received a stretch assignment that enabled me to acquire key skills and traits that increased my value to the organization. Once you've found a mentor, you should ask four important questions.
First, what have been your greatest successes and failures? This allows them to share their insight on what worked and didn't. This should inform you on how to approach life and business. Second, where should I invest my energies to get the greatest return on investment? This question will allow you to focus on effectiveness instead of busyness. One of my failures was focusing on the minor instead of focusing on the major.
For example, we lost a client to a competitor, and I focused on the competitors stealing the client, instead of our efforts to retain the client. Third, what can I do to stretch? This will enable you to identify new areas of growth for the organization and core skills needed to thrive in this role. A stretch assignment should be a project you have never done before. And if it's a good one, it will scare you a little bit.
But it should help you grow. And the fourth question, how can I best help you? The purpose of this question is to show your mentor that you also want to give, not just receive. Offer to help them achieve their personal or professional goals. These four questions are critical to a positive mentorship, and a successful stretch assignment.
Discover how you can build meaningful rapport, set yourself up for visibility and success, manage up when you don't click, develop executive presence, and cross-train within a team to better serve the organization.
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- Understanding the four key business relationships
- Building relationships in person and virtually
- Supporting your manager's objectives
- Articulating your needs to your manager
- Managing up
- Communicating with difficult team members
- Resolving cross-department conflict
- Identifying mentors and sponsors
- Making first impressions with executives<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.