Highly honored to share this guest article written by COL (RET) Alan Landry.
No one gets anywhere alone. For good or ill, each of us represents the product of every person who dared to get involved in making us better, or chose to walk away leaving us to our own devices. Every success and every failure we experience is rooted in this simple thought. Mentorship is the “heart of the matter,” refining us, defining us, and ultimately, molding us into the people we are today. Most people can remember at least one teacher in our early developmental years that saw more potential in us than we did in ourselves, and through that belief, gave us the ability to rise to a place we did not believe possible. Alternately, most of us can remember at least one teacher or coach who did not see, or develop, our talents, and in that disbelief, often created a self-fulfilling prophecy. Mentorship has a unique power to lift others up to their unseen potential. It is about investing yourself in the life of another person to create growth, share life experiences, and learn from one another. Like so many other important things in life, the more you give, the more you will receive, and the richer and more significant your life will become. Mentor relationships can become so important to both the mentor and the mentee that they will last a lifetime.
My experiences as a career Army officer and as a corporate leader convinced me that mentorship was one of the most significant ways for any organization to increase its human capital. In so doing, that organization not only increases its competitive advantage, it also changes lives for the better. Those experiences also led me to believe that this area remained one of the most underdeveloped resources in many teams. Too often, formal programs missed the point of what effective mentorship was about, providing little in the way of tools or techniques for either mentors or mentees. Many programs made mentorship optional rather than a fundamental leadership responsibility. Yet I never saw any team or organization that could be successful without it. I also never met a single individual who did not want to be part of an effective mentor relationship to grow, to be developed, and to be believed in.
Mentorship is a discipline that can be taught, and learned. As a strategist, I also believed that tools could be developed and applied to mentor relationships to create life strategies and to provide a useful framework for making effective decisions. In every organization I belonged to, the need for mentorship was consistently greater than the programs and resources that were being dedicated to the practice of mentorship. I wanted to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem, so I devoted a year to writing a book that would capture my personal experiences, perspectives, and tools that anyone could use to become a better mentor and a better mentee. The title of the book, “Growing Mentor Intelligence™ – A Field Guide to Mentoring,” reflects my belief that effectiveness as a mentor can be grown through time and experience, just as with any other form of intelligence. No matter where you are in your personal and professional life, you have the power to become a better mentor to those who reach out to you, and a better mentee to those who have made the decision to mentor you. The more you apply the lessons and tools in my book, the more you will grow your own Mentor Intelligence™. This is a simple, practical way to make a positive difference in the world, to become a more effective leader, and to create change that can last a lifetime. Take the chance to become part of someone else’s life through the practice of effective mentorship, grow your Mentor Intelligence™, and be changed yourself in the process.
About the author: COL (RET) Alan Landry graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1974. He is a veteran of the First Gulf War and NATO peace support operations in Kosovo. After a distinguished 26 year military career, Alan began a 10-year career in strategy and business development with Raytheon Company where he continued to develop his perspectives on leadership and mentoring. Alan is currently the founder and owner of ALtuitive Holdings, LLC. He and his wife Paula live in Alpharetta, Georgia, where he is able to write, support a children’s non-profit (Dreams For Kids), and enjoy quality time with their four children and ten grandchildren. For more information about Alan, visit his website at www.altusleadership.com.