CEO Report: Commit to Mentorship in 2018
Posted on January 08, 2018
Happy New Year! I hope that you had the opportunity to spend some quality time with loved ones over the holiday season and to recharge as we head into what promises to be a very busy and challenging 2018.
As we return to our work routines and the predictable flurry of activity, it would be easy to become fully absorbed in the many internal and external issues that confront our organizations. And as we think about our New Year’s resolutions, it is similarly easy to focus exclusively on ourselves (I’m going to eat healthier, exercise more, take that vacation, etc.).
That’s all well and good, but I have a special request. Please consider an addition to your work routine — and your resolutions — for 2018: a commitment to mentorship.
As it turns out, Sir Richard Branson’s headmaster was wrong: he didn’t end up in prison, and he didn’t become a millionaire. As the founder of the Virgin conglomerate, he instead became a multibillionaire, one of the most successful and visible entrepreneurs of our time. His book, The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership, is a terrific read, and if you have followed the arc of his career, you know how passionate he is about mentorship. It is a passion that I share, because I have been the direct beneficiary of talented, principled leaders who have taken the time and interest to serve as mentors.
For those of us fortunate enough to have found a measure of professional success, I believe it is incumbent upon us to “pay it forward” by offering to share our experience and insights with those who are at an earlier stage of their careers or may simply be taking on a new challenge with which we may have more familiarity. It is critically important in the development of future leaders and, frankly, there are few things more personally and professionally rewarding.
Many young men and women entering the professional workforce for the first time are armed with enthusiasm, intelligence and a solid work ethic. But they often lack what could rightfully be termed the “secret weapon” of an experienced leader who takes an interest in their development. That leader may or may not work in the same organization and may or may not even work in the same field. And as someone once pointed out to me, mentors are like friends — it’s OK to have more than one.
Of all the lessons I have learned from mentors, the most powerful remains the importance of passion. How can you tell if you are in the right job? The right career path? The right relationship? The answer is: you have passion for it. Whether you are a chef, a football player, a teacher or a business executive, you cannot truly be your best — and truly be happy doing it — unless you are passionate about what you are doing. In my MHA career, I have seen many very successful executives who look, talk and act very differently. But the one thing they seem to have in common is passion for what they do.
And a willingness to pass it on.
We are now halfway through the MHA program year, which will conclude in June at our Annual Meeting on Mackinac Island. As we reflect on the last six months, we can be very proud of numerous tangible accomplishments that have directly improved our ability to deliver high-quality, cost-effective care to our communities.
To maximize our ability to continue this success well into the future, I ask that we take time this year to invest in the people who will be entrusted with carrying out this important work. Mentorship should be a priority for us all.
Posted in: MHA Rounds