By Malcolm Aylett, CCWC Member
If you think having credentials, being smart and working hard are the only keys to success in business…think again! In a 35 year career working for such companies asAvonproducts, Gillette and Mary Kay, among others, I would not have achieved the success I did without having a mentor every step of the way. I had a mentor from my early 20’s to well into my 50’s.
I started as a trainee and eventually became a CEO, and if it had not been for those who mentored me along the way, there is no way I would I have ever enjoyed the success I did. Every successful person I know, man or woman, has had a mentor at various stages of their career.
So, how do you get a mentor? Let me count the ways! First and foremost get yourself noticed for the right reasons. When I became a mentor to others, starting over 20 years ago, it was always because someone did something to get noticed.
How do you get noticed? Let’s discuss a few options:
- Seek out people smarter than you and solicit their opinion in areas you do not have expertise in. They will be flattered that you asked. If you have a “boss,” get on his or her agenda and figure out their priorities, then work hard to help them achieve them. Over time they will come to trust and appreciate you.
- Volunteer for the toughest jobs, the ones others will not touch. You won’t succeed in all of them, but you will succeed in most. Your reputation as a “go to” person will flourish, and you will get noticed.
- Be everywhere and always accountable for your own actions. Don’t fall into the trap of playing the “blame game” that so many others play.
- Smartly manage your professional relationships up, down, and sideways.
- NEVER NEVER gossip. It will come back to haunt you.
- Always reach out to extend a helping hand to others you work with that will get you noticed.
- Seek out the influencers and decision makers in your organization. They are not always the ones with the titles. Ask their advice on how you can have a positive impact on the organization.
Bottom line, do some or all of the above on a regular basis and suddenly you will find you have a mentor: someone who will be a guide to you and a sounding board, someone who will give you honest feedback when you ask. A person who will smooth the way for you, see that you get the interesting assignments and someone who will be there when you need it. They will fight the good fight on your behalf. Suddenly you will find your career on an accelerated glide pattern and others will ask the question, “How does she/he do it?”
Malcolm is an active member of the women’s chamber and a charter member of the mentoring committee.
Malcolm Aylett Edward Jones Financial Advisor