The glow surrounding networking events draws many young professionals like a bug light. The opportunity to meet and understand how others were successful is important for their self-development. It’s an opportunity to gather as many tips for success as possible. The tips are rarely implemented once young professionals leave the networking event, however, as the energy from the event is zapped away in a few days by reality. Few people hold themselves accountable to the goals they set. They’re not thinking holistically, especially with how their job intertwines with their life.
So what can be done? Kate Vitasek sat down to reflect on this and brainstorm with one of her longtime protégés, Joe Tillman, a senior researcher for SC Visions—after speaking at a recent Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) conference, which was attended by 100-plus student assistants, as well as supply chain professionals.
Kate asked Joe: “So what are things I’ve done as a mentor that you can now pass on to some of these hopeful students who are now starting their career?” His answer? “You’ve set up the perfect environment for me to be accountable to myself.” I pressed: “But how did I create that environment?” His answer: “Vested. I’m vested in my own success.”
Think about it. Young professionals today need to be vested in themselves. Some likely think this is a far-fetched approach. Others may claim it to be a paradigm shift. As Joe and I sat down to discuss this topic, we began to write down how I’ve helped him follow the five rules of being vested in both his professional and personal life.
In my books on being vested (Vested: How P&G, McDonald’s and Microsoft Are Redefining Winning in Business Relationships; Vested Outsourcing: Five Rules That Will Transform Outsourcing and The Vested Outsourcing Manual: A Guide for Creating Successful Business and Outsourcing Agreements), I write that any vested relationship flourishes best in a culture in which participants work together to ensure their mutual success. In its simplest form, being vested is a mindset in which two or more parties build on each other’s strengths to create and develop something better. In the case of mentoring, that something better is to help a young professional grow and prosper. In the case of my mentoring relationship with Joe, I definitely was vested in his success because he worked for me at the consulting firm I founded—SC Visions.
As I write in my books and teach in my courses, being vested has five rules that—when applied—drive innovation and create value for the parties involved. Following the methodology drives radical focus and accountability on a vision, and delivering results against it. While it was designed to help companies structure outsourcing relationships, Joe’s success in applying the rules reminds me that the five simple rules apply to personal lives as well. Instead of getting radical results on outsourcing, the mission concentrates on driving protégés to be vested in themselves and having a radical focus on accountability of their own personal performance against their own vision of what they want to do with their life.
The rest of this article focuses on each of the five rules of being vested, and how Joe and I created an environment to best set him up for success in his new career at SC Visions almost eight years ago when I first started mentoring him. I recruited Joe to help write this article. Our approach is a “his and hers” viewpoint—with me speaking from the voice of the mentor and Joe speaking from the voice of the mentee. We hope our insights provide some insight on how to get the most of your mentoring relationships—regardless of the role you play.