Archive for the ‘management development’ Category

Who is Mentor Resources?

September 1, 2011

Mentor Resources is the second largest provider of software for the administration of formal mentoring programs for large enterprises, including Fortune 500 companies, professional associations, governmental organizations, universities and other non-profits.

WisdomShare ®, our web-based application matches Mentors and Mentees, provides how to tools and training and follows up with the participants. What makes WisdomShare ® unique is our proprietary matching algorithm which uses job experience, work skills and over a dozen personality characteristics to reate a match.

Kim Wise, the founder of Mentor Resources, has been matching Mentors and Mentees for nearly 20 years. Over time, it became obvious that a Great Match creates better results from a Mentoring Program. Mentor Resources was founded on the idea that a Great Match could be found using software. Today, Mentor Resources is the premier provider of tools for formal mentoring Programs.

WisdomShare ®, our matching algorithm, is based on Ms. Wise’ experience. In addition to job experience and work skills, the software evaluates over a dozen personality characteristics to find a Great Match.

The goal of all Mentoring Programs is to speed up the process of Sharing What Works. We believe that the Mentee will accept advice and adopt strategies from a Mentor more quickly if they have similar strengths and communication styles.  Studies by our clients have shown that more than 95% of all Mentees in programs which use WisdomShare ®  report being well matched with the Mentor.

The web-based software has been designed for ease of use by the Human Resource Department or the Program Administrator. The software integrates seamlessly with an existing Intranet.

A Great Match creates better results from a Mentoring Program – measurable in higher retention, higher employee engagement, lower cost, faster promotions or whatever the goals of your organization’s mentoring program. WisdomShare®  is one-of-a-kind in delivering great matches.

Sharing What Works is our goal and motto.

Our software is based upon a strengths-based learning model.  Our cloud-based software improves knowledge sharing, helps corporations reach diversity goals and strengthen business resource groups (ERG/BRG) and enhances existing talent development programs.

Talk to us about your mentoring program needs at +1-415-380-0918 or Info “at” MentorResources.com

When Education and Training Aren’t Enough: IT Business Analysts

November 8, 2010

One area where Mentoring is critical to the development of Talent is the crossover between Technology Project Management and Business Analysts – employees who can keep the IT project on track to solve the business problem. This combination of skills goes by different job titles in different firms: Business Analyst, Business System Analyst, Business System Planner and Business Solutions Architect are among the most common.  Regardless of the title, this is an experienced manager, who is able to keep the IT project on track as a solution to a business problem.

The person may come out of the Operations or IT.  Their role is to bridge the chasm and facilitate communication between the two sides. As with any other leadership role, competency comes from acquiring the technical skills (education and training) and experience, which is facilitated by mentoring from someone more experienced.

At minimum, Business Analysts need education in Project Management, Business Administration, plus Computing and Management Information Systems. 

These managers are challenged by: 

1)     A temptation to overanalyze.  Seeking feedback from both sides is essential, but can lead to analysis paralysis.

2)     Business Analyst move into a generalist role with both the business and technical arenas.  One risk is the loss of credibility if the Analyst doesn’t stay current with technology and business trends

3)     Business Analysts can sometimes dominate the conversation.  Often, this causes them to become a barrier rather than a facilitator of the conversation.

But probably the biggest challenge is the lack of skill.  IT departments tend to assign employees with strong technology skills the role of Business Analyst.  They often lack the management skills and business skills.  They get caught up in the projects specifications, and lose track of the larger business problem which the specifications attempted to address.

We just read a very interesting article on Business Analysts – and almost every page of the white paper made reference to the challenge of developing this talent and the role of mentoring.  Please click here to go to Business Analyst: The Pivotal IT Role of The Future by Kathleen B Hass, PMP for Management Concepts 

Management Concepts offers a number of training offerings for the development of Business Analysts. But even with offerings focused on “leadership and facilitation skills, rich in lean-thinking, agile tool sets … and a real world IT situations including outsourcing challenges” their printed material continues to discuss the importance of mentoring for both the individual’s career and as a tool for managers advancing the organization’s IT Business Analyst capability.

Mentor Resources is the second largest provider of tools for formal mentoring programs.  WisdomShare™ has been designed to find a great match between the mentor and the mentee, so that they are both engaged and thus, a faster transfer of knowledge and experience.

Preparation for a Community of Practice

November 3, 2010

Formal Mentor Programs almost always have to goal of managing and transferring knowledge.  Well-run companies recognize that knowledge (or intellectual capital) is the source of their value creation, and that these assets need to be shared and expanded within the firm.

In this context, we have been thinking about the classic, Cultivating Communities of Practice, by Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermott, and William M. Snyder. Communities of Practice come together around their shared interest and expertise.  If the community is thriving, it increases the intellectual capital of the individuals and the organization. The book focuses on “aliveness,” a key characteristic of successful Communities of Practice, and how to encourage its development.  Aliveness is driven by the personal interactions of the participants. 

It can be challenging to get a  Community of Practice started, as a “community” is a human institution that, by definition, is spontaneous, self-directed and usually evolves naturally. Communities, unlike project teams or matrix reporting structures, need to invite the interaction – as this creates “aliveness”. 

According to the authors, creating a Community of Practice in your organization means thinking along the lines of life-long learning, rather than traditional organizational design.  The first step is to draw in potential members and to have them extend the community to their personal and professional network.  

Creating the right environment to encourage the development of a Community of Practice, involves first building a robust culture of sharing knowledge across multiple locations and departments.  This would describe most of the firms who believe they have strong mentoring cultures. 

If your organization is thinking about how to create or improve its mentoring culture, we would like to talk to you. Mentor Resources is the second largest provider of software tools for formal Mentoring Programs.

From Affinity Group to Business Resource Group

October 9, 2010

Thank you for visiting the Mentor Guru Blog. We have moved and this blog is now posted at:

http://www.mentorresources.com/blog/bid/111584/From-Affinity-Group-to-Employee-Resource-Group-ERG

Our goal is to share two decade of experience managing corporate mentor programs.

Good Boss: How to Be the Best

October 2, 2010

At Mentor Resources we believe in Strength-Based Learning.  We have built an entire company around the idea that a Great Match creates better results from a Mentoring Program.

But we recognize that most mentoring programs are part of a company’s leadership development or talent management program. So we read many of the newly published books on leadership and management development.

One that is worthy of you time is: Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best … and Learn from the Worst.

Written by Robert Sutton, Professor of Management and Engineering at Stanford University, the book blends the latest management and psychological research with stories derived from reaction to his prior book, The No Asshole Rule (a NY Times bestseller).

By contrasting examples of the best and worst bosses, Sutton builds a case for staying in attuned to how the people who work directly for you react to what you say and do.  The best bosses are self-aware and know that their success depends on accurately interpreting their impact on others, and having the self-control to make adjustments that spark effort, dignity, and drive among their people.

Most supervisors suffer from overestimating their intellectual and social skills, but the best bosses are keenly aware of their flaws and work to overcome them.  They constantly seek to change and improve the situation, sometimes calling in others to help. The best bosses devote significant effort to understanding how their moods and actions impact their followers’ performance.

A Summary of Useful Tricks for Taking Charge

Since the single most important thing bosses to is convince others that they are in charge, we will share with you Sutton’s seven steps for enhancing the perception of leadership:

1. Talk more than others, but not the whole time.

2. Interrupt occasionally—and don’t let others interrupt you too much.

3. Cross your arms when you talk.

4. Use positive self-talk

5. Try a flash of anger occasionally.

6. If you aren’t sure whether to sit or to stand, stand. Place yourself at the head of the table.

7. Surrender some power or status, but make sure everyone knows that you did so freely.

We are very interested in talking to organizations about their leadership development programs and the role of a formal mentoring program.