Everyone we want to know is six degrees of separation from us. This video teaches you how to utilize your network to land your dream mentor.
- I have developed and taught an approach to researching mentors to thousands of business students and executives over the years. It is a modern and more methodical twist on the truism that everyone we want to know is six degrees of separation from us. I have seen many successful pairs develop by those using this approach. I'm excited to teach it to you now. I'm going to walk you through a real example about Liz, my former business student.
Her career dream was to be a US diplomat in France and she was looking for mentors. I asked Liz to apply the three research steps. The first step I recommended to Liz and I recommend to you is to research the rock stars or the thought leaders in your organization, industry, or profession. Every profession has successful people that stand out. To identify your potential mentor, look for TED Talks, blog post, books, and Linkedin articles by people in your profession.
Also, ask your network, who are the top people in your industry? In addition, look at who are the leaders in your professional organizations. For Liz, she found the list of top US diplomats and ambassadors from her research. If you use multiple research approaches, you will likely find that a small group comes up consistently. This list of names becomes one of your target list of potential mentors.
You may not have a direct connection to these top leaders immediately, but by accessing your primary and secondary network, and using a warm connect, you may be able to connect with this person eventually. A warm connect is when someone you know introduces you to the person you want to know, either online or in person. Second step I recommended to Liz and I also recommend to you, determine who is already in your primary network.
Your primary network consist of those people who already know and care about you. To stimulate your thinking, I suggest you take a look at your list of personal contacts. Write down a list of 20 to 30 people in your primary network who might be good mentors or might know someone they could introduce you to. Accessing your primary network is important for two reasons. First, there may be someone in your primary network list who would be a great mentor for you.
And second, there maybe someone from your primary network who could provide you with an introduction to someone in their network. Your primary network can provide you with a connection to members of their network, which can become part of your secondary network. I highly recommend that you use Linkedin and search for alumni in your desired industry and profession, and explore their secondary network. In Liz's case, she was happily surprised to find out how many LMU alums have worked in France and were even part of the foreign service.
Third, I recommended to Liz to go deeper and explore her secondary network. She did so during my class and surprisingly, for all of us, sitting across from Liz was the roommate to the son of the US ambassador to France. Next, Liz used the power of a warm connect to be introduced to her classmate's roommate's dad. Remember, reaching out to a potential mentor via a cold connect can work.
However, if you take the time to find a warm connect, your chances of meeting the mentor of your dreams increases tremendously. You may not get as lucky as Liz right off the bat but stick with it and this process will work for you.