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Since you are reading this blog post and others, you hopefully have a thirst for new knowledge. Even so, you might still be limiting yourself in thinking you know enough about certain subjects that are key to your success.
When you’ve been in the same role for a while, it is so easy to become complacent. The world keeps evolving, do you? In these situations, some so-called experts “don’t know what they don’t know.” I prefer to think I know very little about my profession and I need to continually learn. And one of the most effective ways to do this is to have a mentoring plan. This is nothing fancy. It is simply a list of people and resources you can connect with to learn new things. Many know exactly what belongs on this list, but do not commit to it. After creating your list, you should attach an action plan to each one. My personal list for mentoring covers a lot of the ground. If any of the following are new to you, you might find the ideas useful.
When Social Media started to pick up in popularity, I started to interact with other recruiters around the globe. I quickly realized that most of these folks enjoy sharing their views and don’t mind offering insights on tackling challenges in our industry. I rely on channels such as Twitter, BlogTalkRadio, and email to have valuable exchanges with these colleagues. Oh, and don’t forget that old piece of equipment with the buttons on it—I think it’s still called a telephone.
Sometimes a quick exchange isn’t enough. My business partner, Craig Fisher (@Fishdogs), and I have quick update conversations all the time. But periodically, we have a long, tear-it-up, cover-all-things-pertinent kind of discussion. Most times, this leads to brainstorming on new ideas or a look-back on old ones. Every time we have a discussion like this, I learn something new and we have a list of things to tackle. Do you have someone you trust to have these kinds of conversations? Do you have scheduled meetings?
Obviously, there is more information in “written” word out there than we can handle. Reading blogs and articles within our industry can be helpful. However, you need to choose blogs and books wisely so that you can stick to a routine. It helps to pick authors you easily relate to, but also to pick ones you often don’t agree with. Think of them as your devil’s advocates.
When picking these formal and informal mentors, also consider people outside your industry. There are many elements of our jobs embedded in other roles we’re not in touch with day-to-day. Sales and Marketing. Communications and Community Relations. Some of us even have to deal with Accounting and Legal issues. It pays to have friends in these areas. They can draw parallels to our challenges very easily and offer a unique perspective.
Also consider in your mentoring plan, that you need to think about “taking it to the next level.” When you truly feel you know everything you are going to learn from your current mentor circle, you need to think about looking to someone who knows more. Of course, you first have to admit you still can learn more. I recently committed to an organized road bike trek across America this fall. I’ve been riding a while, and have put many miles on my road bike in the last several years. And I’ve had several mentors in this area, too. Several of whom I attribute getting me to this point. But a wake-up call such as this has highlighted that I am a long way from being able to pull it off. Nutrition. Endurance. Conditioning. All terms I have ignored for years. Needless-to-say, I have enlisted a professional coach to train me all year. What are the areas you’ve been ignoring where you need professional assistance? Writing? Presentations? Negotiations? Think about it.
Lastly, I would urge you to consider being a mentor to others. What you’ve learned over your career can be valuable insights to those who are just starting out or are in over the heads. It is a great feeling to share thoughts with others and see light bulbs going on. But there is a bonus. Many times when I’ve helped others, I’ve learned something new myself. A fresh perspective from a mentee can get you thinking about your own habits or approaches.
We all learn in different ways. The message here is to find creative ways to keep learning and hold yourself accountable to a plan centered on learning. I think Mahatma Gandhi put it best: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
About the author:
Jeff Lipschultz is a founding partner of A-List Solutions, a premier recruiting firm in Dallas-Fort Worth. Jeff has built and managed diverse teams in engineering, marketing/sales, program/process management, and client relations for over 20 years working at several Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, and a small OEM. Jeff has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin and University of Illinois-Chicago, respectively. He has a Master’s in Business Administration from Southern Methodist University with a focus in Marketing.
Jeff blogs about the hiring process from all perspectives, employment trends, and sometimes quirky observations of society. You can find his posts in his blog, AOL’s emurse, and Job-Hunt.org. He is a Six Sigma Black Belt and a charter member of the Drucker Society of Dallas (www.druckerdallas.org). Jeff is also an avid road cyclist, die-hard Cubs fan, volunteer teacher, but most of all, a dedicated hubby and dad of two great kids.
Follow Jeff on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jlipschultz
By Noel Cocca
CEO/Founder RecruitingDaily and avid skier, coach and avid father of two trying to keep up with my altruistic wife. Producing at the sweet spot talent acquisition to create great content for the living breathing human beings in recruiting and hiring. I try to ease the biggest to smallest problems from start-ups to enterprise. Founder of RecruitingDaily and our merry band of rabble-rousers.
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