This podcast is linked to the recent quarterly article about the speech Marvin Bower made way back in 1964. Rather than focusing on the many useful elements of the speech, we will focus on the unifying theme of finding outstanding people, inspiring them and requiring the highest levels of conduct from them.
We will discuss something very personal to us. Firmsconsulting recently had a series of events in the Southern USA. We invited clients and students from several schools to attend these events. At one such event in Dallas, a long-time reader attended. He was a 28 year-old MBA from, lets say Wharton,whom we will call Edward.
This podcast discusses Edwards behaviour during the few days he spent with us and we will focus on the sequence of events which led to what we felt was a weak display of values. The striking thing about this is that we consider value breaches to be spur-of-the-moment decisions due to high emotions. Edward’s sequence was the opposite. Based on his behaviour, choice of questions and actions we could observe him plan and build up to this moment. In other words, Edward was not emotionally driven, but rationally chose his course of action.
As mentors, we need to provide very specific and direct advice for mentees to improve. We feel Edward will be an outstanding professional if he eliminates this pattern in his behaviour. As mentors, we need to guide him to change his behaviour, though he does need to demonstrate he understands the problem and is taking steps to correct it. You get to make mistakes in life. Just make them once.
Listeners should note how we analyze the situation and diagnose the problem. These kind of obstacles are very important to fix since they are usually never discussed or mentioned in feedback. Typically, you may be told to be more of a “team player” but that does not help if you do not understand WHAT you did to make your colleagues think otherwise, or WHY you did it. These kind of soft-issues make or break important mentor-mentee relationships and define relationship structures in any consulting firm.
Unintended breaches of value are treated far more leniently than planned breaches of value. Intent is what matters.