Walk into some organizations and there is a certain electricity in the air. You can feel it pulsating in the voices wafting over cubicles and resonating in hallways chats. These are the innovative organizations known for the creative company they keep.
This year’s harvest of SBN innovators certainly demonstrate that it takes an appetite for rewriting the rules to join the ranks of celebrated innovators. Several practices set these shining stars apart from those who only dream of becoming as brilliant.
Innovators recognize innovation as a strategic tool.
Building a strong brand quickly has played a pivotal role in Crooked River Brewing Co.’s comeback plan. With an innovation-driven, industry-blazing concept-to-market cycle of 45 days with its Expansion Draft beer, Chris Livingston suggests that innovation “is how we get noticed” in the crowded microbrewery field.
Today’s innovators leverage innovation as a strategic tool for standing on the shoulders of those who allow the success of past innovations to prevent replacement by a new generation of innovations. Innovators instead embrace the emergent as it fuels the most valuable asset in any enterprise: The market’s attention.
Innovators hire in creativity.
In the last eight years of getting real results from virtual offices, Data Now’s Karen Brown has discovered the immeasurable value of hiring in the creativity you need to be an innovator. The lessons learned in this bold venture start with the fact that skill development dollars go much farther when invested in people who come to the table creative.
An added bonus is that motivations are high when hired in skill levels allow her to develop jobs around the talent rather than trying to squeeze talent into pre-formed jobs. And why not? As Brown proposes, “We try not to rely heavily on old rules.”
Innovators are organized for creativity.
With 450 franchises, ProForma’s Greg Muzzillo creates an environment known more for freedom than management. Over the past 20 years, he has built a culture that thrives on the “very informal.”
People have the freedom to innovate, and more important, the ideas driving innovation capital in one operation are cross-bred across franchises.
“Every day we wake up and do something new,” Muzzillo reports. Innovators don’t manage innovation by waiting or hoping for it to occur. They know that innovations spring only from the kind of culture that can ignite and sustain it.
Innovators leverage the magic of collaboration.
When your business depends on dozens of creative people cooking up technologies that handle the complex world of event logistics, new ideas need to flow wide and deep in the organization.
“We just bleed ideas here,” says PlanSoft’s Ed Tromczynski. What this innovator has done is develop a system for facilitating the kinds of collaborations that craft coherent innovations from the creative abrasion of diverse minds at work. It is one of many innovators discovering the alchemy of collaboration in the innovation process.
The lessons extracted from this year’s bumper crop of innovation leaders speak volumes about the importance of putting innovation at the top of any growing enterprise’s list of capital assets, then creating the kind of organization that unleashes the potential of these assets. As Chris Livingston aptly represents it, “We like it out on the edge” the cutting edge where leaders are known to pioneer.
Jack Ricchiuto is a Cleveland-based management consultant. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
If you ever wondered what its like transforming a freight engine into a bullet train in six months, ask the start-up team at E-Debt.com. Like other dot coms emerging at the edges of the current e-commerce ecology, Akron-based E-Debt.com. is working fast to build a better mouse click.
E-Debt.com, which launched last month, was founded by local businessmen Michael Zoldan, president and CEO, and Morton Stone, chairman of the board. The founders positioned the start-up as a pioneer business-to-business infomediary, where consumer debt portfolios can be viewed, processed through due diligence and traded on the basis of price, at auction or through private online mediated negotiations.
According to Stone, By providing a consistent format for efficient comparison of debt portfolios, E-Debt.com will raise the standards of fairness and competitive pricing in the transaction arena.
As a start-up, E-Debt.com is achieving construction of its business, market and site at dizzying speeds. The formula for start-up success begins with an unstoppable leadership team, says the companys CFO, Steve Lefkowitz. Three qualities characterize the practices of leaders in this brave new world of e-commerce.
1. They believe in the companys concept. The concepts unique focus energizes the team to move with the velocity required to meet market and/or investor expectations.
2. They are what Lefkowitz calls amoeba-like. Where in traditional start-ups, division of responsibilities dominates the culture, e-leaders cross-participate in multidisciplinary decision making. As Lefkowitz proposes, Managers cant be individuals who want to be in a solo management role.
3. They thrive on intelligent risk taking. In a business born of risks, where decisions are made in minutes, not days, everyone becomes a decision maker, moving forward at the speed of light.
Internet start-ups, as with any business, are replete with challenges. Tangents continuously tempt the field of frenetic energy away from its focus. In the E-Debt.com world, tangents that surface in the early phases are fast-forwarded into phase two or phase three of the rapid prototyping process.
Unknowns abound, especially when start-ups focus on new niche offerings. This world is not a secure haven for people who have a penchant for being knowledge egoists. In fact, as Lefkowitz suggests, We try very hard to identify what we dont know ... we are organized around the idea of being learn-it-alls rather than being know-it-alls.
Add to these challenges the incentives awaiting those who arrive first in their markets with unprecedented value to investors and early adopters. Stealth due diligence becomes a prime requirement for those daring to join the ranks of the best positioned to market.
On the plus side, the marketing of the business takes on new dimensions, because the concept is mobile. Unlike bricks and mortar models, e-commerce marketers can traverse time zones, giving prospects an instant, total experience of the business concept from front page to back office.
Because technology is the backbone of the product and the process, speed, cost and global availability become more possible than in any bricks and mortar business model.
Above all, according to Lefkowitz, the site needs to leverage the users competencies in the unique service of his or her goals.
This is not our site its their site, he insists.
Jack Ricchiuto is a Certified Management Consultant and author of Collaborative Creativity and Accidental Conversations. He can be contacted through his Web site, www.newpossibilities.net.
No labyrinthine business plans or celestial investors shadowed Margaret and Philip Nabors when they split the cost of a $60 cooking pot for their first catering gig.
Nor did they stray far from their deepest personal passions when they evolved over the past 20 years from their original market in the Valley to the 56,000 square feet of their new Solon store.
The owners of the Mustard Seed Market, based in Montrose and recently expanded into Solon, have used a consistent set of guiding principles: honesty, imagination and sustainability. These principles have driven every decision that has shaped the enterprise's stores, restaurants, entertainment and education programs and catering services.
The Mustard Seed management style is, in Philip Nabors' words, "radically decentralized." The store is a bundle of diverse services, departments and programs, each with its own unique operational and growth requirements. With 400 well-educated and creative employees who think of themselves more as talent than costs, Nabors has discovered that he cannot manage -- only unleash.
His approach is simple: "We show them where the playing field is, inspire them, aim them, and let them go without getting in their way. We invest a lot of authority in our department managers to make decisions."
One of the more curious dimensions of the enterprise is the Nabors' business plan. Driven by the principle of sustainability, Mustard Seed inspires its present with a future infused by the imagination of a 500-year plan. The plan is centered on the question all growing enterprises contemplate: What business are we in?
The Nabors' answer is that Mustard Seed is in the business of life support. The 500-year plan rolls out accordingly. In the first phase, grow more stores, vertically integrate the company with local and regional farmers and processors, and from there, support the development of demonstration villages.
In the second phase, focus on biosphere competencies related to air, water and waste product recycling. By the third phase, you're positioned to support sustainable life communities of intergalactic space travel. Nabors clearly doesn't propose this construct as a prediction, only an effective provocation to evoke as much growth potential within the enterprise and its value ecology as possible.
In the meantime, the business is beta testing one of its newest ideas: Chefs are being prepared to go into customers' homes to provide anything from meals prepared according to nutritional requirements to meals for the next night and lunches for the next day. If the concept takes off, customers can even request wine specialists and waiters.
According to Nabors, "How people will be taking meals in the future will change radically."
Other innovations include satellite meal stores located, for example, in urban and rural areas that cannot support large-scale supermarkets. When you're in the business of life support, the boundaries for innovation are far from claustrophobic.
The business ethics of Mustard Seed Market are also as unique as its vision and vitality. Even in a climate of virtually zero unemployment, Nabors stubbornly maintains, "I refuse the warm body approach."
His selectivity in people selecting food needs to remain as selective as the standards he holds for his the goods he sells. When it comes to suppliers and vendors, "Truth is the foundation of how we do things," he says. "We do not feel we have to prosper on the backs of others."
Even the Nabors' spin on the competition is, giving this ethic, understandably cooperative. He notes, "We have a warped view of the competition. The people we would expect to call 'competition' are folks we are helpful toward," providing advice, partnerships in legislative efforts and education.
At the heart of Mustard Seed's uniqueness are its standards for products, whether they are food, nutritional supplement or personal care, housekeeping or pet products. Seeing themselves as important links in a life support chain, Nabors sees everyone in that chain as stewards.
The emphasis on small business suppliers is an important part of this equation. With the obsession with selection, Nabors indicates, "We'd rather be a more important customer to a small company than an unimportant customer to a big company."
To this end, Nabors hosts a whole palette of educational programs and invigorates efforts at the local and national levels aimed at better education of government decision-makers and the public who influence their decisions. From where Nabors sits, the large agribusinesses tinkering with pesticides and genetically altered food sources may last only as long as their lack of education about impacts and alternatives, not to mention a radically different perspective on the future of life support ecologies and policies.
Between the business plan and its ethics, Mustard Seed offers an elegant solution to one of the more chronic issues facing all growth-eager business owners today -- employees needing motivation.
Because it offers its employees a great story along with great jobs, employees bring to their work an intrinsic belief that they are selling trust as the prime ingredient behind every product and service. As Nabors is quick to point out, "It's not what you sell, but how you sell it and why you sell it."After all, one of their mantras is that "the ultimate job satisfaction is believing in what we do and having integrity in how we do it."
How to reach: Mustard Seed Market & Café, (330) 666-7333
Jack Ricchiuto is a management consultant and author. He can be reached through his Web site at www.newpossibilities.net.
Companies that contemplated Web enabling their business five years ago but postponed the adventure until this year will navigate a landscape that has changed dramatically.
Web design has moved far beyond the days when commercial Web sites were simply brochures on steroids. That was a time Howard Cleveland, DigitalDay's chief creative officer, calls the first generation of four that have evolved with the help of new technologies, discipline fusions and ways of understanding the Web's unlimited market capabilities.
"Now, the shift is toward branding -- the unique experience people have with your company," Cleveland says.
In his designer's eye, this means businesses need to focus their resources on the profound shift from building Web sites to building customer centers.
One of the core design features is the development of sites that reconfigure themselves for each customer. For Interactive Media Group's Creative Director Glenn Somodi, this is enabled by adjusting information for each visit.
"You can't have one Web site for 10,000 customers -- you need 5,000 or 10,000 sites powered by intelligence technologies that automatically adapt and configure to changes in customers and their needs," Somodi says.
The biggest trend in the next generation of commercial Web design, says Somodi, is profiling. The strategic crafting of graphics, navigation and question sequencing add to the mix, allowing customer profiles to drive personalization so the efficiencies of cross-selling are reaped by both the customer and supplier.
Cleveland concurs, saying that "now premier service is self-service."
One of the biggest design challenges in Somodi's business is to create a "simple design that will accommodate for constant change in message and information delivery."
For Sonda Katila, of Kent State University's Visual Communication Design Division, this means paying unprecedented attention to the design principles of information placement, viewer orientation, page transitions and nonlinear navigation.
"You wouldn't approach the space of the screen exactly the way you would print space," Katila says.
For this reason, Web design is no longer the domain of print people -- it is a collaborative space populated by the graphics, IT and marketing trades. It is a New World where control has migrated from designers to users. The way users move through and interact with a site is a challenge to be understood and accommodated more than predicted and controlled.
For Katila, Web design begins with a study of the behavioral and informational needs of users. Then it becomes a process of integrating aesthetics with data-base capabilities.
"You've got to marry functionality with cool," she says.
Cleveland pulls these twin design principles together with his emphasis on branding.
"Brand is the foundation of design -- even before you consider graphics and functionality," he says.
Whatever generation of Web design your business supports, the future of the art is certainly not what the past has been.
Jack Ricchiuto is a management consultant and author.
At the corporate offices of FirstMerit Corp., Category Leader Doug Wofsey doesn't hesitate to praise the benefits of Web-based purchasing.
"Orders are being handled quicker and more efficiently," says Wofsey.
Like many companies considering the migration to Web-enabled transactions with their B2B vendors, FirstMerit has placed a premium on characteristics like reliability and security. According to Vice President and Divisional Controller Stan Hujarski, "Security is a big issue because of access to other areas in our system."
In the process of planning its adaptation to e-transactions with US Office Products, FirstMerit made sure data security meetings were involved and "we were satisfied with the security" of the site, Wofsey says. Because of the design of US Office Products' site, FirstMerit has not been required to invest in extra security measures.
One of Wofsey's favorite features is the drop-down menu of frequently used items that evolves with the patterns and changes in customer use. Purchasing limits outlined in contracts between vendor and supplier are built into the authorization functions in the online process.
Prominent in FirstMerit's future phases of B2B e-commerce is the plan to more completely "migrate our purchasing from a paper to an e-based process," Hujarski says.
The bank also anticipates Web-enabling aspects of its RFP processes, particularly because of its expense modification and reduction capabilities.
Even at this stage, when it adds up reductions in inventory, handling, communication and processing, FirstMerit has realized a 10 to 20 percent cost savings with some vendors and 30 to 35 percent with others.
At the law firm Stark & Knoll, e-purchasing with US Office Products is a profitable approach to time and dollar savings. Convenience of partners and staff also factors largely into the equation.
"It's quick, it's reliable, and we get immediate feedback on when we will get delivery," says partner John Krajewski.
Like many companies moving to e-business as a business customer, Stark & Knoll maintains four priorities in assessing the effectiveness of design: speed, security, real-time status information and confidentiality.
Stark & Knoll has also begun innovating with B2B e-business as a provider. Its extranet facilitates communication, document editing, due diligence and scheduling with its partners, clients and peers in merger and acquisition deals.
At United Disability Services, Associate Director Howard Taylor finds the Web an invaluable tool for procuring products, services and information. Whether tapping into US Office Products' inventory online or mining the growing number of purchasing consortiums online, UDS is a satisfied benefactor of this new media for managing purchase quality and costs.
Beyond procurement impacts, e-business provides the company with fast access to governmental and industry resources for research into laws, innovative practices and new ideas for growing its business.
Jack Ricchiuto is a management consultant and author.
Determined not to follow the statistics of its downturned industry, Herman Machine represents a new breed of enterprise growing more by agility than agenda.
When Hermans president, Suzanne Rickard, started to think strategically about her companys sales potential, she began with the premise that successful growth may be more like a lattice than a ladder. In her consideration of different strategies, Rickard stumbled on a business growth class at Akron University, where a serendipitous encounter with Martin Machines president, Rick Martin, led to an unplanned twist in her quest for growth.
She couldnt have scheduled this conversation any more than she could have forecasted the mutually profitable fit between the partners of this new venture. Rickard is one of many agile leaders who expect that growth is more often about focusing forward to the hyperlinks in our next conversation than looking backward to the details of yesterdays agenda.
Hers was the lesson of accidental conversations that the more connected we are, the more potential for new possibilities we create.
Herman is just one of many organizations seeking growth through agility. A recent study by Coopers & Lybrand shows that although 66 percent of the fastest growing U.S. companies have business plans, a meager 25 percent of those follow them closely. What do the vast majority do instead? They prefer growth by agility to growth by agenda.
These stories and statistics invite us to seriously rethink how we go about growth in a world that continuously evolves in surprising ways. No matter how diligently we put plan to paper, new resources and opportunities are continuously evolving in ways we cannot neither predict nor plan.
In practical terms, we can invigorate our growth by considering some of the practices of the new breed of agile browsers and improvisational networkers who have discovered the power of accidental encounters in unleashing new levels of growth:
- Put people at the top of your list of favorite search engines;
- Do something every day to increase the bandwidth of your opportunity and resource network;
- Continuously assess the degree of freedom people in your organization have in their connectivity;
- Measure the effectiveness of any growth plan on its ability to connect you and your organization to new opportunities and resources;
- Create common spaces and events in your organization where the serendipity of the informal organization can develop and thrive.
What we have to gain is the intuitive rediscovery that serendipity is as powerful a strategic tool for growth as any other we may have.
Jack Ricchiuto is a certified management consultant and author of Collaborative Creativity. His upcoming book, Accidental Conversations, is available next month. Contact him at his Web site, www.newpossibilities.net.
Again in 1999, Spiral Brush has endured the costs required to successfully deliver hundreds of innovations for customers looking for modifications, reapplications and new solutions for their technical processes.
For 60 years, innovations have given this Stow supplier the agility to be profitable in new, growing and flat markets. It has become one of a growing number of companies which has cultivated a brisk business with innovations for customers looking for solutions that lower their costs.
According to Spirals president, Cliff Heaton, to pursue a strategy of not investing in innovations would cause it to be locked out of these markets ultimately a strategy for going out of business.
This year, with 65 percent of Spirals sales coming from innovations, the cost of innovation will be well worth its weight in profit and brand gains. When it comes to assessing the cost of innovation, Heaton is all too happy to be an innovative supplier in an over-populated field of order takers.
As with any part of your business, there are two kinds of costs to consider in innovation: Those that result in revenue and brand gains, and those that result in revenue and brand losses. Assessing the costs of innovation always implies a 360-degree perspective considering the cost of concept, development, production, marketing, sales, service and continuous improvement.
Two key questions to consider when assessing the potentials of any innovation are:
- Do your customers have problems and needs that go beyond what they can find in your catalog or brochure?
- What will innovation cost compared to the potential costs of not innovating?
When it is clear that your markets will reward innovations over shelf solutions and catalog options, your aim is to keep the costs of innovation down. Four strategies to consider include:
- Accelerate your learning cycle by partnering with customers for more field than lab testing.
- Involve end users and content experts as early and as concurrently in the development process as possible.
- Resist assuming that new materials applicable to innovations do not exist; get closer to suppliers who can partner in innovations with you.
- Build innovation into your brand in order to decrease the costs of marketing and selling new offerings. The more known for innovation you are, the less youll need to spend to attract attention to and confidence in your innovations.
Dont forget about trends in your markets. In Spirals case, Heaton says, As the world moves more toward order takers, you cannot afford not to innovate.
He resists the lure of grocery store margins (typically around 1 percent) that come from dependence on catalog and shelf sales. Experience tells him that there is gold in them thar innovation hills of higher margin altitudes. At Spiral, the margins and profits of innovation far exceed those of their catalog business.
Wisdom in his company means eagerly taking on the costs of strategies required for a thriving business.
The lessons of companies like Spiral Brush point to the importance of always looking at innovation costs in relation to their potential for gains. At Spiral, the cost of innovation is the cost of success.
Jack Ricchiuto (email@example.com) is a Cleveland-based management consultant.
In an appreciative business culture, leaders make it easy for people to perform at their best by helping them focus on their strengths and passions. Appreciative leaders know that people do their best work when their work is inspired by constant attention to their successes and strengths, what's working and why.
Not everyone gets it. According to the Gallup Organization, only about 20 percent of 1.7 million employees surveyed globally say their organizations make good use of their strengths. That means 80 percent don't believe their talents are being properly used.
Benefits of appreciative leadership
Appreciative leaders express more interest in the passions, strengths and successes of their teams than in their weaknesses, problems and deficiencies. They believe a negative focus might evoke perspiration but not inspiration.
People who work with appreciative leaders feel more trusted than micromanaged and more confident in their strengths than demoralized about their weaknesses. In appreciative organizations, leaders make sure people's work is designed in a way that engages their strengths and that goals are defined in ways that engage imagination.
On the flip side are deficiency managers, who obsess over what's wrong, who's at fault and why. Appreciative leaders help people obsess over what's working, what's improving and why. They are certain that when people take an appreciative focus to themselves and their work, they perform with optimum levels of self-confidence, self-trust and enthusiasm for improvement.
How to become an appreciative leader
People dedicated to creating appreciative cultures passionately work toward creating them, whether that takes months, years or generations. But several things accelerate the learning curve.
Training and coaching managers, leaders and leaders of leaders in appreciative leadership helps. Involving people in the defining of performance goals and metrics helps. Fostering a culture of innovation and creativity dedicated to "wow" experiences for customers helps.
But in the end, it matters little how long the transition takes. What matters is the passion with which we embrace every opportunity to take steps in the direction of appreciation. Ultimately, the organization's tendency toward appreciation will self-organize into a sustainable momentum of success.
Jack Ricchiuto is a leadership and team performance coach and facilitator. He is the author of "Collaborative Creativity, Accidental Conversations, Project Zen," and the recently released "Appreciative Leadership." Reach him through his Web site at www.DesigningLife.com.
According to trend watchers here, the climate update for Ohios Polymer Valley is calling for a good chance of double-digit growth over the next 4 to 5 years.
With almost 45 percent of Ohios polymer-related producers located in Northeast Ohio, what determines the growth rate of any single player in this field will have as much to do with generic trends as with how their leaders create the conditions for their own luck and success. Look for several interdependent and synergistic variables to play key roles in this effort.
New technology. With more than 20,000 polymer-related materials in his database, John Hickman, president of Plastech Consulting of Tallmadge, says that as much as 30 percent of those materials will turn over in the next three years. The next generation of materials will drive new applications, start-up and investment opportunities.
According to Frank Kelley, dean of The College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering at the University of Akron, we will see new opportunities driven by emerging technologies in the areas of information electronics, biomedical technologies and control systems in which polymers will play a new active role.
With the conversions from nonplastics to plastics, there is no foreseeable end to the proliferation of new alloys and blends available to original equipment manufacturers.
E-commerce. John Colangelo, Director of Business Development at the Edison Polymer Innovation Corp., says hes optimistic about the growth of the industry in the region. Polymer companies especially processors coming from industrial paradigms need to become part of the knowledge economy. Colangelo suggests that OEMs will be looking to reward those suppliers which have reinvented their capabilities to provide more diversified deliverables at the speed of a click.
They may continue the practice of sending larger, more unchanging orders off-shore for labor cost considerations, but domestic suppliers which have the speed, efficiency, and flexibility will attract the orders that will represent the emerging market opportunities.
Manufacturing process capabilities. New technologies and applications, combined with the need for lower costs, will propel more processors to innovate with process methods, management and technologies.
Innovating with changeovers, robotics, value-added assembly, customization and finite capacity scheduling will become imperative for the kind of speed, efficiency and flexibility OEMs will require.
Technical literacy. With new process challenges and material innovations, polymer work forces and management methods will require an equivalent level of improvement and innovation. Even with employee turnover and low unemployment, the winners will be passionate about creating knowledge workers in an intellectual capital-intensive industry. It will also become critical to recruit, retain and retrain people equipped to meet these new challenges.
Learning organization. With the dizzying speed of change and innovation in the polymer industry, it will become more important than ever for companies to be learning organizations. Those falling to lower performance percentiles in the industry will be those failing to keep up to date with new technologies, materials, applications and process improvement methodologies and technologies.
More than ever, companies will need to partner with resources such as industry trade associations, economic consortiums, research and training institutes like those at Akron University, patent literature resources, as well as expert and consulting resources such as EPIC and Plastech.
Although forecasts in this dynamic industry may be challenging, one thing that seems apparent is that the crystal in our portent ball will likely be a polymer.
Jack Ricchiuto is a certified management consultant and author of Collaborative Creativity and Accidental Conversations. He can be contacted through his Web site at www.newpossibilities.net.
There is a Chinese saying, When you drink the water, remember the source. To remember the source of many of our finest qualities is to remember those who mentored us.
Akron Beacon Journal Vice President and Editor Janet Leach recalls the mentors who inspired her enthusiasm for leadership and passion for journalism. The dizzying pace of her daily executive duties is regularly infused with the lessons of her mentors.
As a rising star at the Cincinnati Enquirer, mentoring by people like her editor, Larry Beaupre, took the form of bringing you into something youve never done before, she says. Other mentors taught her the difference between leading and managing and the vital importance of thinking big.
Gender has been neither a barrier nor an issue in the quality of mentoring Leach continues to thrive on.
Mentoring crosses the boundaries of industries. Larry Parsons, CEO of Brewster-based Wheeling & Lake Erie Railways, provides for his succession leaders the same type of mentoring he receives from lifelong mentors such as octogenarian and railroad guru William Holtman, who spends a week every year getting Parsons business perspective on new tracks.
As an emerging mentor, Leach says good mentors are generous with their experience, have the ability for deep listening and demonstrate an intuitive belief that this person will succeed.
For Parsons, mentors give a sense of direction and a presence you wouldnt have otherwise.
They subscribe to the philosophy that business growth depends on the growth of its leaders. Mentoring is not only an effective talent and knowledge retention strategy, it becomes a tool for growing the leadership that grows the business.
One of the more potent media for talent development is peer mentoring, a hot feature of The Executive Committee, known as TEC the 47-year-old international association of local professional networks for executives.
According to Dennis Sabol, a TEC chairman in the greater Akron area, the committee provides resources to executives with robust personal, professional and business development agendas. Select executives in small local groups provide confidential and powerful peer mentoring.
TEC members trade probes, provocations, resources and support they might not get from their spouses, partners, accountants, or yes-saying staff. Sabol says members, who represents diverse levels of achievement, get direct value from deriving quality mindshare with their peers and mentors.
This is mentoring at its best: an effective accompaniment to the kinds of mentoring Leach and Parsons provide and enjoy.
Mentoring relationships can be just-in-time and ongoing. What seems clear a lesson for wanna-be mentors is that no one is a mentor on everything.
It takes a whole village of mentors to raise great leaders.
Jack Ricchiuto is a management consultant and author. He can be reached through his Web site at www.newpossibilities.net.