January is National Mentoring Month! In that spirit, we’ve been sharing insights that compel deeper understanding of its value. Scroll down for an entire list of resources after the post.
Mentoring should not be an island on its own. It should be connected so that it can both support and reinforce entire ecosystems, internally and externally. For example, mentoring helps with learning. Learning supports talent development and career growth. Strong talent supports high performance and innovation, which drives the fulfillment of an organization’s purpose, mission, and vision.
Let’s look at it from an individual point of view. Mentoring grows knowledge and relationships, which could lead to more relationships as mentor and mentee introduce people to one another–people that could collaborate on achieving great success together. This sets the conditions for what Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From, called liquid networks. He compared them to neural networks, which require two things: size (a densely populated network) and plasticity—the ability to adopt new configurations. He even gave an example of a lab where it became clear that “the ground zero of innovation was not the microscope. It was the conference table.” (p. 61)
Liquid networks create an environment where those partial ideas can connect…They make it easier to disseminate good ideas, but more importantly, they help complete ideas. (p. 75)
My previous post answering, “does mentoring work?” also shows how liquid networks that originated with mentoring relationships can lead to so much more. Socrates mentored Plato, who mentored Aristotle, who mentored Alexander the Great. Even Oprah had a mentor in Maya Angelou.
See how it’s all connected? By connecting mentoring to a larger ecosystem, we can create a culture of innovation and collaboration that benefits everyone involved.
If mentoring is a topic of interest for you and/or your organization, here are some additional resources below, or schedule a meeting to chat about your needs.
- Our eBook with Chronus, “Mentoring for a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace”
- Karen Jaw-Madson’s Fireside Chat with Chronus, “How to Use Mentoring, Sponsorship and Culture to Build an Inclusive Workplace”
- Karen Jaw-Madson’s interview with Hive, “How to Implement Strong Mentorship Programs in the Workplace”
- Coaching, Counseling & Mentoring, Second Edition: How to Choose & Use the Right Technique to Boost Employee Performance by Florence Stone
- Ma, Y., Mukherjee, S., & Uzzi, B. (2020). Mentorship and protégé success in STEM fields. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(25), 14077-14083.
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