November 2011

President's notes

Wanted: Trusted counselors

By C. Edwards

Mentoring has a long history. In Homer’s Iliad, Odysseus entrusted the education of his son Telemachus to his old friend, Mentor. And, although revealed to us more recently, “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” Obi-wan Kenobi mentored Anakin Skywalker and his son Luke.

To help solve the enormous challenge of our current shortage of skilled, dedicated people, our industry will need similar heroes. Mentoring by our more experienced members will be essential to welcome, nurture and develop new protégés.

As a trusted counselor, a mentor must be willing and prepared to discuss a protégé’s needs and hopes openly, objectively and in confidence. CIM is rolling out our new Leadership Development Program to ensure that our industry is defined by leadership excellence in addition to technical excellence. Exceptional leadership will be developed and defined by good mentorship and that is why CIM’s leadership program will provide senior industry executive mentors for participants, and also guide the development of each participant’s own mentoring skills.

Jethro Tull sang to us, “Your wise men don’t know how it feels to be thick as a brick.” All of us mentors need to pay attention to this. We are mentors in part because of our greater experience; however, if presented crudely or arrogantly, this may intimidate our protégés. To paraphrase from a recent on-target phrase from The Economist, I humbly ask our mentors to be courteous and gentle, and to remind yourselves how ignorant it is to have forgotten what it felt like to have but little experience.

Chuck Edwards, CIM President

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