Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Every little step counts...

How relevant is designing a good Mentoring program? Though there are several angles to this, Two critical questions to consider are:

1. Is an organization mature for a Mentoring program?
2. How relevant is Mentoring as a people development practice?

There are several angles to look at when we consider the first question. I believe that Mentoring cannot be an isolated event in the workplace. Inputs for the program need should come from Managers, potential participants and from inhouse development programs. This reiterates the fact that Mangers must be willing to don the "MENTOR CAPS" as a way of life in organizations.To ensure participation, the program design and outputs become a key point to consider. The Program design has to encompass People, Process and systems. Lets not forget that an organization is a wonderfully designed system akin to the Human Body. Creation of any new program/process/system can cause an "equilibrium wobble".My friend, Muralidharan Raghupathy rightly says, "mentoring is done to improve the attributes of the person.If we have to consider improving the attributes of a person, then the mentoring program has to be deep, targeted and highly customised for individual needs at the end of the day". It also then becomes an imperative that mentoring is "one on one" and has a 360 degree focus on the mentee from the mentor and the organization. To enable this 360 degree focus, the mentoring program has to have a framework and at the same time,ensure flexibility, what i call " Flexible Framework".

To focus on the second question Relevance of Mentoring as a People Development practice- the sub question would be: Do we have too little or too many related practices? How do we differentiate Mentoring from the rest?
I still remember when we had the preliminary discussion regarding the Mentoring Program in MindTree, many of these questions were debated across many colleagues. I also know that to finally freeze on a specific approach took us close to three weeks and i truly believe those deciding days were crucial for the success of the program.
In reality, people in organizations are in a hurry all the time. It is more a mindset to set time apart and enable a willing mentee to develop holistically. In that sense, the program design should be aligned to appropriate recognition systems that encourage participants and appreciates their time and selfless efforts towards contributing to the growth of a fellow employee and overall contribution to the organization's people development plan. All said and done, mentoring is a selfless activity but lets remember "Encouraged people achieve the best; dominated people achieve second best; neglected people achieve the least"
I hear an "echo" - program design is crucial to the outputs of every mentoring program...
A staircase composed of very small steps can reach just as high as a staircase made of large steps, and the climb is much more manageable. Every little step counts.
Doing just a little is infinitely more rewarding than doing nothing. And just a little can quickly lead to just a little more.
Five minutes a day adds up to two and a half hours a month, and thirty hours over the course of a year. If you spend those five minutes each day making minor improvements, they can steadily bring about major accomplishments.
Offer one small gesture of kindness each day and multiply it over the course of a lifetime. You’ll find your world filled with rich, rewarding and genuine relationships.
Every little step counts, because the little steps are usually the ones that actually get taken. There’s virtually no risk, and yet the rewards, over time, can be enormous.
What one little step would make life better for you this very day? Get in the habit of taking small positive steps, and you’ll create big, lasting success.
-Author Unknown

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