YouTube: Virtual Mentors

YouTube: Virtual Mentors

Development requires growth. The more you grow, the more value you can add to your business, people and teams. Consequently, it is important to build an advisory board of mentors to add to your career portfolio of experience, knowledge and skills. One mentor will most likely not fit all of your development needs. You will need different mentors for different areas of development.

What are mentors? Mentors are people who expand both your knowledge and your thinking. They challenge you with words and inspire you with action. Mentors give you advice and judgment. Mentoring is about learning at every opportunity, either directly or indirectly from people.  It is important to note that technical advice is not mentoring, it is talking to someone who is a subject matter expert.

While books are the most common form of indirect mentoring, the Internet is also a great source of information. For example, most of the top business schools have channels on YouTube with executive discussions on specific subjects. These channels give direct access to the best business leaders in the world. Below is a sample of the executive discussions that I have watched.

Andrea Jung, Chairman and CEO, Avon Products – Reinvention – Leaders must reinvent themselves to remain effective. They cannot reinvent a company without reinventing themselves first. The reinvention will only be as good as the reinvention of the leader. They must be able to look at the business objectively. They must be able to do things a turnaround leader could do.

Arun Sarin, Former CEO, Vodafone – Globalization– The concept of the G20 versus the G7 is here to stay. Approximately 75% of the world’s incremental GDP will come from emerging markets, principally driven by China and India. You must be comfortable with doing business across the globe. International experience is and will continue to be necessary for career advancement.

Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO, Nissan-Renault Alliance – Mentors – Mentors are very important. The most important thing that they can teach you is what not to do. I have had a lot of bosses over my career. I learned as much from the bad ones as the good ones. If you have a boring boss, determine why he or she is boring. Commit to not repeating their mistakes.

Donald Knauss, Chairman and CEO, Clorox – Humility –Humility is competence without arrogance. As you gain power, the less you use it, the more authority you will be given and the more powerful you will become. Authority is persuading, not commanding. For example, MLK had no power, but he had significant authority. People believed in what he was advocating.

Ed Zander, Former Chairman and CEO, Motorola – Startups – If you have a passion to work for a startup, go for it. It is a rush to build a company and take it public . . . but remember, only one in ten make it, as in just get by, not become the next Facebook. It is okay to take risks, but it is also important to show progression at a company and not just move from firm to firm.

Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO, Google – Change –Change happens when things are hard. It happens during economic downturns, not periods of abundance. Difficult times provide the opportunity to re-lean what creates value. Value is created by building real businesses that do new things that matter to everyone at any level of society. Change creates opportunity.

Evan Williams, Founder and CEO, Twitter – Prioritization– Twitter has 40 employees. We have limited resources and time. Every day we must decide to work on what will make the most contribution to the company. It comes down to priorities. If we choose to focus on revenue, we will be doing fewer things to maximize growth and user value. Setting priorities brings focus.

Herb Kelleher, Chairman, Southwest Airlines – People– The business of business is people. Leaders must be driven to do right by others and to serve them with excellence. If you can or want to help someone, even if it is inconsequential, work as hard as possible on it. If you have a passion to serve others, everything that you do will be infused with passion.

Jeff Bezos, Chairman and CEO, – Choices– I never regret trying and failing, but I always regret never trying. Choices can be hard. Meaning and success are determined by choices. What type of choices do you make? When things get tough, are you relentless or do you give up? Do you follow your passion or is inertia your guide? We are our choices.

Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO, General Electric – Perseverance – If you want to accomplish anything important, people will dislike you more days than they like you. You have to be able to take a punch and keep moving forward. You need to have a deep understanding of yourself. You need to have other things in your life that are important to you, not just your job.

John Chambers, Chairman and CEO, Cisco Systems – Execution – You will constantly face these choices in business: Do you want to be an innovative company or a company with great operational execution? Do you want to be an innovative leader or a leader with great operational execution? The latter is always the right answer. Operational execution triumphs innovation.

John Doerr, Partner, Kleiner Perkins – Entrepreneurship– The best way to predict the future is to create it. The second best way is to fund it. I believe in the power of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs do more than anyone thinks is possible with less than anyone thinks is possible. They know the power of risk taking. They know that to ask permission is to seek denial.

Ken Chenault, Chairman and CEO, American Express – Integrity – One of the most critical responsibilities of a leader is drawing the line between performance and doing the right thing. If everyone is doing something, if it is ethical and legal, why would you not do it too (e.g., excessive borrowing)? If it is inconsistent with the company’s values. You must constantly adhere to your principles.

Kevin Turner, COO, Microsoft – Greatness– Develop a divine discontent for the status quo. Good is the enemy of great. Good enough is never enough. Come to work every day knowing that you can do better. You can always improve something. Do it without getting de-motivated. Become energized by constant improvement. Greatness is always the aspiration we are moving toward.

Lou Gerstner, Former Chairman and CEO, IBM – Leadership– Leaders influence people to do things they would not do on their own. They get in the skin of people with their commitment and passion. Leaders do not just discuss the need for positive change, they give people a vision to work toward. They create an environment where people can realize their full potential.

Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, Salesforce.comService – The business of business is to make a profit, but it is also to do good while doing well. Businesses should use their assets, capital, equity, people and relationships as a force for doing good in the world. Service must be fully integrated into the company’s culture or the total value of the effort will be greatly reduced.

Mark Hurd, Former and Chairman and CEO, Hewlett Packard – Culture – Culture adapts to the company. Any time a leader takes action, including recognizing, rewarding and terminating people, they create culture. Why? Because they convey what is important to them and what they value. Leaders create culture by taking action, so they must constantly explain their actions.

Meg Whitman, Former Chairman and CEO, Ebay – Action– Success requires action. You miss 100% of the shots you do not take. Always move quickly on opportunities knowing mistakes will be made, but can be fixed through iteration. The price of inaction is always higher than the cost of action. Being first also carries the presumption of competence and innovation.

Steve Ellis, Managing Director, Bain and Company – Innovation – The pace of change is accelerating and relentless. If you are not working to obsolete your business, someone else is. The greatest lessons come from failure, not success. It is critical to encourage innovation and risk-taking. It is how progress is made. People cannot become paralyzed by the fear of failure.

Steve Jobs, Chairman and CEO, Apple – Passion– You have to do what you love and love what you do. Work fills a large part of your life. The only way to feel satisfied is to do great work. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you have not found what you love to do, keep looking. Do not settle. As with all matters of the heart, you will know it when you find it.

The best mentors do not seek to create a new person. They seek to help a person become a better version of themselves. The greatest learning occurs when you select the right mentor for the right situation. Leveraging the Internet, including YouTube, will help you expand your knowledge and thinking in specific areas. Always be open to learning from others.

ADD-ON (02-22-11)

A.G. Lafley, Chairman and CEO, P&G – Satisfaction – The customer is the boss. When and where we get products and services right, we put the customer at the center of everything that we do. Everything begins and ends with the customer. In the case of innovation, we want their engagement on the front-end. When we have an idea, we want to co-create and co-design products and services with them.

Alan Mulally, CEO, Ford – Growth – If you do not grow profitability, you will go out of business. Profitable growth means creating products that people want and will pay for. It also means creating them more productively than competitors. The data will set you free. Tough decisions have to be made, including work force reductions. Free cash flow enables balance sheet improvements and investment for the future.

All contents copyright © 2010, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.


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