Leader Pathways

The Life of Leading Greatly  
December 2006

Mentoring Leaders for Bold Tomorrows

Individual Mentoring or Custom In-house Group Programs

Publishing and Speaking

In this Issue:

Is Your Company Ready for Leader Mentoring?
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In Michael Shenkman's book The Arch and the Path we see how great leaders embark on a strenuous life path in order to transform mere possibilities into more expansive and encompassing opportunities for all. Shenkman vividly portrays how the life of leading is a journey of the mind, heart and spirit that is like no other.

Buy this book!

   Is Your Company Ready for Leader Mentoring?

Michael ShenkmanAre some organizations more likely to use the professional leader mentoring offered by the Arch of Leadership (AofL) than others? Absolutely.

Want to know if your company is amenable to our services? Read on.

Those companies in which our services have been most successful retain most or all of the following characteristics:

  • A CEO who is truly devoted to developing young leaders
  • An HR department that is strategically involved with developing its organization’s leaders
  • A pressing need to have leaders who can respond quickly and decisively to changing market demands
  • A high level of technical and organizational sophistication and continual learning
  • A well-led corporate structure, including effective strategic and budgetary planning and review processes that guide the organization
  • A culture of personal respect and honesty, i.e., a very low level of internal politics.

Such characteristics raise the bar pretty high for successfully implementing a mentoring program. No doubt.

They also mean that AofL-inclined companies are already pretty good places to work. This is consistently true as well.

But I have also seen our leader mentoring program succeed in other settings such as:

  • Entrepreneurial start-ups, in which all the senior executives are assigned an AofL mentor. The company thus engages in creating a true philosophy of leading that can permeate the culture as it grows.
  • Associations with rotating leadership. Here, those prospects in the organization marked for leader roles are mentored. Continuity of leading throughout all the many changes taking place is greatly enhanced.
  • Large technical and engineering organizations where leaders must be groomed from a pool of technically trained experts. The shift to leading is often a difficult and surprising one for technically trained people. AofL helps to make that transition a successful one.

To cover all situations, three other characteristics hold true for each and every one of them:

1) The CEO really must value developing the organization’s leaders. Unleashing the leader potential of top prospects in an organization is a big deal. To be successful, a CEO has to be of large spirit and imagination if leader prospects are to take advantage of opportunities to lead, learn and grow as they arise. This means opportunities to fail as well as celebrate successes. And, we are implying, to not be threatened by opportunities.

2) The HR department has license to actively develop leaders. An HR department with a mandate to do this helps to choose candidates, keep the program moving administratively, and integrate it all into the organization’s larger picture of personnel development.

3) Finally, people who go through our program must open themselves to introspection and to making real changes. It’s not so much that our mentoring process mandates that they do new things, although that may be necessary, but rather that our mentoring helps people realize that they must value their actions, decisions and risks differently. Our mentoring helps aspiring leaders to shift their attention when necessary from technology to people, and/or from knowledge to intuition and sensitivity.

Of course the HR department provides an essential ingredient to the process of helping managers make the shift to leading. The professionals in strategically-oriented HR departments are often in the best position to recognize that managers are undergoing these changes and may need some organizational support along the way. As such, HR can guide people to roles and responsibilities, and to foster the patience required to effect a successful transition from managing to leading.

Charles Hoffman, the CEO of Covad Communications - one of our most successful client companies - has said it this way, to our graduating classes: “My greatest accomplishment will be developing leaders who can contribute to the company, for sure, but also to their families and to their communities. I can offer the opportunity, but it’s up to you, mentee, to put it to its best use.” That’s the spirit that portends great Arch of Leadership success!

Does your company possess that kind of spirit, or aspire to it? If so, contact me so we can explore your situation. Your leaders are your future. Our role is helping you get them there.

For more info, visit www.archofleadership.com. 

Does your firm cultivate “creative leading?” If not, or if you’re not sure, see Michael’s latest article Not Taught in Business Schools: How to Cultivate Creative Leading, just published in Nonprofit World. Click here: http://www.archofleadership.com/archinthenews/archinthenews.htm#article

Web: http://www.archofleadership.com