15 December 2009


I recently had a chance to have a little mentoring session with an old friend. We'd worked together a few assignments back, and he is now at somewhat of a career crossroads. So he stopped by and we spent about an hour talking about his past, his aspirations, his options... and I look forward to seeing what direction he ends up taking.

This meeting was probably the most important thing I did at work all week. Taking time to listen to and consult with a fellow traveler, to be there and help him figure out what he wants & where he's going... man, that's some crucial stuff. Of course, it'll never show up in a weekly status report or a metrics chart. Its impact on operations isn't directly measurable, particularly since this guy isn't part of my current organization. It might even be called "waste" in certain frameworks.

But for any who are tempted to call those 90 minutes "waste," let me respectfully suggest that such a label devalues people AND overlooks the positive contribution made by activities like mentoring. If you really need a term that means "anything that does not add value to the product," fine. But maybe "waste" isn't the right word...

1 comment:

LookingUp said...

My all-time favorite leader, (now-retired) Lt. Gen. Charlie Croom, said repeatedly, "You take care of yourself first, then work." In other words, you're not going to do a good job unless you yourself are doing well. That's why the general advocated things like wellness programs for civilians, telework, strong mentoring programs, etc. If exercising 30 minutes a day or spending a long lunch break mentoring someone meant a more productive employee in the long run, then those few minutes were well spent. And a more productive employee will add value to the product in the long run.