Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mentoring Conference Oct.2012

This October, the Mentoring Institute at the University of New Mexico is hosting a conference: Facilitating Developmental Relationships for Success.

If you'll be attending, please let me know? I will be there and very much looking forward to it!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mentoring is a contact sport

By "sport", I mean in the spirit of collaborative - not competitive - play. Think volleyball over dodge ball; group juggling over racquetball; Red Rover over Duck Duck Goose :-)

It's not for the fastidious who wish to remain uninvolved and unattached. It is eye contact. face to face and, occasionally, with handshakes and/or hugs. It can be done in groups or pairs, with or without props and according to formal or individual rules.

Winning is not about a trophy but the opportunity to play on different/bigger teams or with more folks.

You have to commit, dive in and be ready to share the field. You can't play by yourself. You don't need to be invited; you have a global free pass if you're willing to put up your hand and join the fun.

Relationships over acquaintances; depth over breadth; length over height. It takes a career to master and lifetime to enjoy all the benefits.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mentoring is everywhere

My son has a mentor. I bet neither of them think of their relationship as 'mentoring'. Perhaps that's because mentoring has recently been come to be viewed as Mentoring - something formal, big, a holy grail of relationships.

Mentoring happens all the time. Once we've joined a community, we're each other's best resource. The fellow guiding my son through the complexities of being a motorcycle enthusiast: discussing bikes; debating mechanics; peering at engines and nodding knowingly; getting your mom to agree to even having one in sight of the house... well, he's probably not thinking "what do I teach this kid next time?" They meet every few weeks and my son brings him the questions and theories he's been mulling. They top the whole afternoon off with iced coffees or beers.

mentoring or Mentoring - both are a wonderful tool and means to build paths. It happens at the grassroots and at the formal, business levels. Mandated, sought or inherent to a philosophy, mentoring is part of our societal fabric.

Monday, July 9, 2012

We don't know what we don't know

...but we are expected to know that we don't know :-)

We are the sum of our experiences and flavoured by our natures. In the business world, the more experience one has, the more it is assumed we will make less mistakes.

The problem is society and technology are changing so rapidly that, even if a situation feels similar, the nuances may be brand new. Past experiences may have no firm anchor in a current dilemma or decision. So assumptions need to be reconfirmed every time.

For some, this kind of uncertainty makes new projects feel like mountain-climbing every time. For others, it keeps planning fresh.

A recent  HR blog posting on Harvard Business Review talks about how one HR professional loves to read "unconventional" resumes as potential employees who are adaptable to change can be identified if they also show change as an acceptable course of action in their own careers/lives.

The point that many seem to be making these days is that we don't have to know everything; we simply have to be willing to learn new pieces.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

RIP Ray Bradbury

One of my mentors died recently - Ray Bradbury: a prolific author whose work spanned novels, short stories, screen plays, theatrical scripts and essays. Many of us read Dandelion Wine, The Martian Chronicles and, of course, Farenheit 451 (or saw the '66 film and wrote the grade 10 essay based on Oskar Werner's performance).

I started reading Ray Bradbury in grade six. My dad had a copy of a collection of The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit and Other Plays. I was hooked.

When I first became a stage director 10 years later, I asked if I could produce "To the Chicago Abyss"... the production sold out and we sent Mr. Bradbury a fan letter with pictures from our show. He responded - a letter and signed posters of his upcoming movie for the whole cast (Something Wicked This Way Comes). Our show was brought back for a second run (and had an off off Broadway offer!) and also swept the Quebec Drama Festival awards that year. By that time, Ray Bradbury and I were corresponding, albeit sporadically. He always included a handwritten note in his response or package.

By that point I had devoured everything he had written and was a committed fan. My ex got a gig working on the Ray Bradbury Theatre TV series for a season; I was so proud. I was directling a lot of new work that included many speculative/science fiction scripts; my palette finely tuned by Bradbury work. I was overjoyed in the late 80s to be assistant on the combined stage and opera version of "Something Wicked" with Gyllian Raby. Ray Bradbury came to see the show and I finally got to sit down with him in person. I shook so badly I could barely speak to him. I stayed as close to him as I could the whole time he was in town.

His writing set the tone for much of my own early writing. His plays deeply influenced my ear for language and search for the inner life of a character. His letters kept me inspired. The poster, framed, still hangs in my house.

I was at work when the news broke. I could break down our personal relationship into mere hours and a few letters but he is/was undisputably the biggest influence on my creative life.

"Thrash them with licorice whips till they cry 'mercy'" is wisdom by which I run my life.

RIP Ray Bradbury.

with great respect