Tag Archives: Mentor

Where Does Opportunity Grow?

During a recent speech to college students, I was asked several questions at the end that told me they were searching for the source of opportunity.  Who isn’t it, right?  There are so many possible career paths that this is really a hard question to answer.  I decided to take a look at my own customer base to get some idea where opportunities have come from.  Here’s what I found.

First, let me say that this is not statistically accurate.  This is only my assessment of my own business and I don’t recommend you extrapolate it too far.  It’s intended to provide some insight into possible locations for your next opportunity or, at least, provide support for a strategy.

To understand where success was coming from, I took a look at the pre and post profiles of all of my past clients.  I was particularly interested in reviewing what they wanted and how they went about getting it.  Then, I looked for commonalities in their approach.  The graph below shows the results.  Note that I grouped the opportunities by strategy.  The “sit and wait” strategy is one where a certain amount of effort is initially expended before any opportunity can be obtained.  For example, many clients come to us seeking a raise or promotion in their existing company.  They had accomplished many things in their jobs and even built a great reputation.  Yet, this effort didn’t seem to lead to any major gains in income.  So many people couch themselves in this type of situation for years; that is, they settle for a job when they want a career.  It’s a low return proposition.  If you’ve been in a company for years and haven’t reeled in any great opportunities, “sit and wait” is probably the only method that will really work for you, but why waste the good years of your life on that approach.

The second bar on the graph was from business owners who chose to invest in SEO, online marketing, etc.  It does provide results, 6.5% in this case, but you can’t make huge leaps and bounds with it.  You might think I wouldn’t be saying that this since my company does offer such services.  I’m just letting you know what we’ve learned.  That’s what a coach does.  As for job seekers, we see many of those.  However, their results of creating ideal profiles in social media space don’t provide those huge returns you may read about on the web.  There’s just too much competition.

When you look at the graph, you don’t really see big success until you reach the “Go Get It” strategies shown in Green.  In reviewing these clients, their strategy involved two very important things:  people and action.  It was striking to see the improvements in success as our clients engaged in activities directly with real people, not the virtual ones.  Opportunities are more likely to be found or created when you are directly in front of people, not connecting on LinkedIn or Facebook.

People do business with people they know and trust.

With our entrepreneurial group, we’ve seen considerable success creation when business owners are connected, such as with partnering to sell complementary services to expand their customer base.  Each owner could easily chase new customers on the web, but it’s much faster when you directly engage with a known group of buyers.

Lastly, action is a big key to building greater success.  Earning a degree, starting a company or getting a new job in a new industry seemed to give our clients feelings of great success.  I suspect much of this is due to the fact that these very intentional and all-encompassing activities put the full use of their power and talents to work.

opportunity

One of my favorite speakers, Jim Rohn, once said “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”  Constant action with people will bring you your greatest success.  Remember, people will allow you to do anything you want.  If you want to sit and wait, they’ll let you do just that.  They might think that’s what you want to do.  If building greater success in life is what you seek, you have to define it and then go find people who can help you get it.

Opportunity is everywhere.  Where are you looking?

Here are a few lessons from my analysis to keep in mind as you consider how to approach new opportunities.

  1. Be active. I know updating social profiles and networking online are touted as the keys to greater success. They are important but it really isn’t an active process because it relies on someone finding your profile and viewing it.  Most people on LinkedIn are looking to receive opportunities, not give them away.  What are you doing today?
  2. Engage with people. Business started out with direct interactions between people.  It’s still the most effective way.  You can ignore an email but it’s a little harder to ignore a face-to-face request.  Who did you reach out to today?
  3. Change methods. If your current methods aren’t working for you, change them.  Don’t stay in a job for 5 years waiting on a promotion.  Go find one somewhere else.  What changes have you made today?
  4. Consider a coach or mentor. Most people use coaches and mentors because they push them to action.  Find someone who will help guide and push you to do what you should be doing on your own.  Eventually, you’ll build the habits you need to manage your career.  Who is helping you find your opportunity?
  5. It’s a lifestyle. Pushing yourself to build your dreams into reality requires constant effort.  Most of us create new goals once we achieve old ones, encouraging ourselves to move onward and upward.  The habits you create in chasing opportunity will serve you well your whole life and create the perception that others will develop of you.  How do others see you?
  6. Assess your surroundings. Having studied high performers for many years, I’ve found that they level of success you achieve is a function of the success achieved by those around you.  If you surround yourself with high achievers, you’ll become one or they’ll kick you off the team.  Who is on your team?

Your opportunity is out there. 

What are you waiting for? 

Go Get It!

The MBA Guide to Mentoring

Has your career mobility stifled?  Has your salary flatlined?  Perhaps you’ve fallen into the trap of trying to achieve your career success individually.  As a high achiever, you already know that many have achieved greatness.  We’ve read about them and you find tons of stories about they continue to do great things.  But they don’t achieve these things merely with their own effort.  They have help.  So many of try to gain success by impressing others.  Unfortunately, the ones we’re trying to impress aren’t really concerned with our success, only their own.  So how do you select the right people?  You must search and find those who are willing to invest in YOU.

Here are a few statistics to consider:

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) notes in this article from August 2011:  “The Corporate Leadership Council of the Corporate Executive Board surveyed 880 high-potential employees. More than 25 percent said they planned to change jobs within the next 12 months. That’s potential attrition 2.5 times greater than just five years earlier. Among the dissatisfied, 64 percent said their current employment experiences are having little impact on their development.”

Inc Magazine says CEOs can’t find the talent they need.

In an overview of its “2011/2012 Talent Management and Rewards Study, North America,” Towers Watson says, “…almost 60% of North American companies are having trouble attracting critical-skill employees, an increase over 2010.”

In an article from The Wall Street Journal on reverse mentoring: “In an effort to school senior executives in technology, social media and the latest workplace trends, many businesses are pairing upper management with younger employees in a practice known as reverse mentoring. The trend is taking off at a range of companies, from tech to advertising.”

For my friends in the UK:

Sage surveyed more than 11,000 small and medium sized businesses in 17 countries across the world, to find out their attitudes towards business mentoring. Here’s what they found.

  • 93% of small and medium sized businesses acknowledge that mentoring can help them to succeed.
  • 28% of small and medium sized business currently make use of business mentors
  • 27% of business decision-makers would be most likely to go to people they know for business advice and mentoring.
  • 9% of business decision-makers would go to ‘select business mentors’ as their first option for business advice.

There are so many things you can learn from mentors.  Think about it.  Why do you read a book?  To learn from others.  But you can’t usually get access to the author to understand how to mold their advice from the book to fit your situation.  But mentors can help you do that.  While it’s hard find statistics that identify the impact mentors have, some mentoring statistics show that professionals who have used a mentor, earn between $5,610-$22,450 more annually, than those who perhaps didn’t use a mentor.  That’s a pretty good benefit, at the very least.

Stop chasing dreams by repeating lessons others have already learned.  Your career should be a learning experience but don’t make it one full of things you wish you hadn’t learned.

Before you head off to find a mentor, check out our latest ebook release, The MBA Guide to Mentoring.