Learning the Easy Way

Nov 26, 2021


Successful mentorships require respect, transparency, celebration, and responsiveness. Discover how mentorships can benefit both parties.

Many organizations have a formal mentorship program. It’s considered a perk! …And quite frankly, ingenious! Without spending extra capital on formal training and costly mistakes, a protégé is likely to be apprised of spoken values and best practices along with unspoken norms and expectations. Heidi Mausbach, CEO of Ervin & Smith, explains mentorship programs increase recruiting and retention, improve engagement (of the mentored and the mentor), and boost skills and attitudes. Mausbach’s Omaha-based digital marketing and advertising firm leverages both formal and informal mentorships.1 

Relationships can be officially assigned or organically developed with professionals inside or outside an organization. Regardless of the formality, mentorship should not be taken lightly by either party. I am reminded of a high-level professional whose single meeting with his mentor was rescheduled 5 times over a 6-month period. That’s how mentoring becomes the un-perk! Commitment is required of both participants. The CEO of MENTOR, David Shapiro, confirms it “should be clear from the outset that mentoring is a priority and a serious enterprise. That means buy-in from top executives,” too.2 Consider the actions of an Old Testament executive, Jethro (a priest of Midian), who prioritized a visit with his son-in-law, Moses.

Here are the components of good mentorship as modeled Exodus 18:3

  1. Caring & Respectful: Jethro knew Moses was in the news, he made plans to visit Moses in the wilderness, and sent word when he was close by. They checked in on a personal level before they got down to business. Keep your meetings, confirm details in advance, and take time to exchange a few pleasantries before reviewing the last quarter. (v 1-7)
  2. Private & Transparent: Moses ushered Jethro into a private conference room, or tent, before telling him “everything the Lord had done to Pharaoh and Egypt” and “about all the hardships they had experienced”. Conversations are kept confidential and may cover any topic, in fact, it’s through this candor that timely insights are shared. (v 7, 8)
  3. Celebratory & Grounded: Moses attributed his success to the Lord. Jethro also celebrated and praised the Lord specifically and repeatedly. Jethro got the whole gang together for a “sacrificial meal”. Recognize positive outcomes and milestones often, express gratitude for those involved, and celebrate with the whole team. (v 8-12)
  4. Observant & Responsive: Only after observation and a few questions, Jethro called Moses on one of his processes. Jethro expressed concern about burnout and gave advice, which Moses immediately heeded. Focused mentors seek more information before providing counsel; they also expect to see their guidance addressed. (v 13-27)

Good mentorships require genuine attentiveness, relentless candor, speedy acknowledgement, and continuous improvement. Travis Node's article, Mentoring in the Old Testament - Jethro and Moses, reminds us Jethro and Moses enjoyed a forty year partnership (Exodus 3:1). Long term mentoring improves the bottom line, is supported by leaders at all levels, and a constant priority for both parties-- whether it is formal or informal. It’s a perk! It’s really about teaching and learning the easy way. Oh, if you happen to miss your mentor meeting by six months, you better be traveling through the wilderness…by camel.

Sources: 1, 2 The Costco Connection: The Merits of Mentoring, July 2016; Travis Node: Mentoring in the Old Testament - Jethro and Moses: Part 1Part 2Additional Articles about Mentoring in the Bible.

by Michelle Sugerman • Leading Synergies, LLC • © All Rights Reserved

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