How to Take Advantage of Mentoring in Organizational Development (OD) and Leaders Development

In the last few years OD has become very popular framework to redesign holistic people & leaders development for large organizations. In this “renewed” war on talent, where it is no longer about quantity of talent that matters rather it is more about quality or right talent that is in dire need for most organizations. Although we hear several companies in manufacturing, banking and IT are making layoffs, the way I see it these companies are retaining and keeping their best talents braving the perfect storm coming their way.

One common theme in OD is mentoring and coaching. I have worked with several clients to design part of OD components (few get implemented), but often OD becomes a long list of training programs after training programs with various consultants and trainers (internal and external). There is little thought in optimizing the OD outcomes to the organization. I think we shortchanged ourselves by not taking advantage of mentoring. The mentoring portion often not implemented because “too much resources needed” to roll out.

Here I wish to share how organizations can take advantage of mentoring in OD. This is simple, practical and implementable at small scale, which later can be scaled up further.

A. Decide 1-2 mentoring goals. Yes, just one or two goals first. I learn from behavioural change model, once we are able to change one or two behaviours, our confident level improves and we start to tackle other challenges next. Example mentoring goals are:

  1. Developing leaders for non-core businesses
  2. Retaining Gen-Y workforce in key positions
  3. Promoting high performance Gen-X for global expansion
  4. Improve customers base for new products and services
  5. Supporting emerging leaders for career direction
  6. Encouraging leaders to learn and develop each other

B. Find and recruit the people and leaders that most attracted to mentoring and people development. Often not all top executives love mentoring idea because they need to make time for it. However, OD chief needs to be able to present a compelling business case for it. Prep sometime with the CEO prior this engagement. Bring along several key talents in the initial meeting to convince the CEO.

C. Present a business case that outlines the following:

  1. Mentoring goals.
  2. Business SWOT – Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat
  3. Skills available and acquired in the company – identify the leaders (potential mentors)
  4. Skills required and needed in the company – identify the content (potential faculties)
  5. Rolling out plan and scheduling (start small – have 2-3 mentors assigned to less than 10-12 talents)
  6. Guidelines, processes and coordination (keep it minimal and spartan)
  7. Measurement of outcomes and duration (6-12 months is enough)
  8. Monitoring plan and expectations
  9. Proposed investment (only include this once the rest has been thoroughly discussed with CEO and CFO)

D. Say if you still find it difficult, here you can do it the stealth way:

    1. Find organizational leaders that love people.
    2. Find talents that show exceptional performance and demonstrate leadership qualities.
    3. Conduct 30-45 minutes behavioural interviews with your colleague or partners.
    4. Find good matching between the leaders (mentors) and talents (protégés)
    5. Speak to friendly direct supervisors of this plan (recruit the direct supervisor to oversee the development)
    6. Prepare some basic guidelines for mentors and protégés.
    7. Roll out under stealth mode.

I personally feel that mentoring has strong and deep developmental advantages other than training programs. Mentoring has talent retaining effect too!

Having a basic level mentoring program would enhance training programs done in the company because the participants will contextualized what they learn and relate it back to the organization when meeting with their mentors.

Besides, the developmental programs can be more targeted and expanded based on feedbacks from the mentors.

Brickbats please send to donkhairul@gmail.com

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