5312 Slices
Medium 9781576751503

The Decision Debacles

Paul Nutt Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF
Medium 9781609947101

26 Arduous Alliances: Mentoring in Precarious Situations

Chip R. Bell Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Mentoring in Precarious Situations

The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.

C. S. Lewis

There are many learning alliances that are potentially arduous because of the precarious context in which the relationship is cast. We will examine two situations: mentoring in a super-fast-paced milieu and mentoring when the protégé is in a different location. We will first examine white-water mentoring.

Speed is both the genie and the ogre for today’s supervisors. Some thrive on it; some long for the olden days. Like it or not, however, warp speed (a.k.a. cycle time, just in time, or out of time) is a trademark of our unpredictable work environments.

Dubbed “permanent white water” by Peter Vaill in Managing as a Performing Art, the nature of today’s business world challenges the supervisor’s coaching and mentoring responsibilities. There are too many “I’ll have to get back to you” responses to “Help me figure out how to” requests. The pressure to do wins out over the requirement to teach and learn. What can you do to coach on the run and still be effective? How can you keep up with the demands of the “Time’s up!” moment while making sure protégés receive the one-on-one attention, support, and tutelage they need to avoid skill obsolescence? Below are three tips for navigating through the white water.

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Medium 9781576753446

5. Change, Stability, and Renewal: The Paradoxes of Self-Organizing Systems

Margaret J. Wheatley Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

She who wants to have right without wrong,
Order without disorder,
Does not understand the principles
Of heaven and earth.
She does not know how
Things hang together.

—Chuang Tzu, fourth century B.C.


One day when a child, I stood beneath a swing frame that towered above me. Another child, older than me, told me of the time a girl had swung and swung until, finally, she looped over the top. I listened in silent awe. She had done what we only dreamed of doing, swung so uncontrollably high that finally not even gravity could hold her.

I think of this apocryphal story as I sit now in a small playground, watching my youngest son run from one activity to another. He has climbed, swung, and jumped, whirled around on a spinning platform, and wobbled along a rolling log until, laughing, he loses his balance. Now he is perched on a teeter-totter, waiting to be bumped high in the air when his partner crashes to the ground. Everywhere I look, there are bodies in motion, energies in search of adventure.

It seems that the very experiences these children seek are ones we avoid: disequilibrium, novelty, loss of control, surprise. These make for a good playground, but for a dangerous life. We avoid these things so much that if an organization were to take the form of a teeter-totter, we’d brace it up at both ends, turning it into a stable plank. But why has equilibrium become such a prized goal in adult life? Why do we seek so earnestly after balance? Is change so fearsome that we’ll do anything to avoid it?

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Medium 9781605094113

13 Measure Your Progress

Brian Tracy Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

There is no road too long to the man who advances deliberately and without undue haste; there are no honors too distant to the man who prepares himself for them with patience.


You have incredible mental powers that you habitually fail to use to their full extent. By systematically setting goals for your life and making detailed plans to achieve them, you will save yourself years of hard work in reaching the same level of success. Goal setting enables you to use vastly more of your thinking powers than most other people.

Your conscious mind is the “head office” of your life. Its role is to deal with the information in your environment, identify it, analyze it, compare it against other information, and then decide what actions to take.

But it is your subconscious mind that contains the great powers that can enable you to accomplish vastly more than you ever have accomplished before. Most of your mental powers are “below the surface.” It is essential that you learn to tap into these powers to motivate, stimulate, and drive you forward toward the achievement of your goals.

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Medium 9781583762073

12. Concentrate on Results

Brian Tracy Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


The first requisite of success is the ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem or goal incessantly without growing weary.


Your ability to get results is the most important single determinant of how much you are paid and how rapidly you are promoted. Results are everything in the world of work. In study after study, researchers have found that within two years of leaving college or school, your education has little or no impact on your career. From that point on, all that really matters is your ability to perform and get results for your company.

Many people start off with limited education and skills, but as the result of focusing on results single-mindedly, they accomplish vastly more than people who begin with better educations and greater natural advantages. This must be your strategy as well.

To become more result oriented, ask yourself these three questions, all day long:

1. What are my highest value activities?

What are the things that you do that contribute the very most value to your work and to your company? This is where you should focus most of your time and energy. If you are not sure of the answer to this question, ask your boss.

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