Monday, November 26, 2018

The Business Case for Youth Mentoring -- The Value of Mentoring Youth to the Business Community

The Business Case for Youth Mentoring
The Value of Mentoring Youth to the Business Community

By David Mead
[Author’s Note:  I typically write about the issues facing business owners and C-level executives. While some of you might be confused about the linkage with the topic of mentoring, I maintain that mentoring young people is a critically important business issue! – Dave Mead]
As we enter the season of giving, I thought it might be appropriate to share an article about giving back. Many of us have long been concerned about the lack of role models and adult guidance for many of our youth and it has been demonstrated that youth who have a formal mentoring relationship do better in school, have better graduation rates, have lower incidence of substance abuse, and lower incidence of crime, not to mention an overall better future. As I have become familiar with the statistics about the value of mentoring, I found that the results are compelling. Mentoring benefits not only the individual and the community, but also employees and businesses.

Most successful people know the value of mentors - I know I have been fortunate to have had several key mentors over the course of my life and career.
One of the things my mother used to say: "If something concerns you, stop whining about it and do something to make it better." Years ago, I was a youth mentor for a number of years and it was very rewarding. I saw the impact on my mentee firsthand. But, I also realized that there are far more young people needing mentors whose needs are unmet. In Colorado, almost 300,000 young people aged 5 to 22 need a mentoring relationship. Currently, fewer than 20,000 have an engaged mentor - Less than 7% of the need is being met.

I joined the Board of
  Mentor Colorado (Colorado Mentoring Partnership) in 2014. Mentor Colorado is the support organization for the 65+ youth mentoring organizations across Colorado (like Big Brothers Big Sisters, Denver Urban Scholars, Gunnison Valley Partners, etc.) to help them in scaling their activities with the adoption of best practices in recruiting, training, and supporting mentoring relationships. There are mentoring partnerships in 26 states. Colorado is one of the most recent states to form an organization. The models Colorado is following are the organizations in Minnesota, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania which have dramatically increased the number of quality mentoring relationships.  
MENTOR (The National Mentoring Partnership) and Ernst and Young sponsored a 2015 report,   The Business Case for Mentoring : Mentoring at the Crossroads of Education, Business and Community, which demonstrates the value of mentoring to the individuals, the community, and to business. As the report states it, "Mentoring is changing the trajectory of thousands of young people's lives." Especially in this period of talent scarcity, there is an increasing need to focus on workforce development – and that starts with making sure our young people are equipped to join the workforce.
 The case for business involvement in mentoring is simple. Mentoring adds value to individuals, business, and the community
  Value to the individual and community.   Some of the benefits to the individual and the community include:
  • Better school performance.  Improved attendance,  higher graduation rates, and more likely to go on to college or learn a trade
  • Less Substance Abuse. Mentored youth are less likely to start using illegal drugs and alcohol.
  • Lower Crime rate. Fewer disciplinary problems and lower incidence of criminal behavior
  • Better jobs. Better jobs and much less likely to be dependent on entitlement programs
 Value to companies and employees Key reasons companies and employees engage in youth mentoring: 
  • Fostering employee engagement, satisfaction and retention. Today's employees are strongly attracted to companies that are purpose-driven and that offer opportunities for engagement.
  • Cultivating and developing the future workforce. Prepare a more productive workforce
  • Supporting vibrant communities (which include your customers) 
  • Branding
    • Improve your company’s image in the community
    • Increase community awareness of your company’s mission
Mentor Colorado can help your company get started. Many companies have a fragmented approach to not-for-profit activities. Other companies may not know how to get started. Mentor Colorado is helping sponsoring companies with the development of mentoring programs, training, and organizing mentoring activities for their employees.

GET ENGAGED!  Become a sponsoring organization and make a difference.
If you would like more information about how you and your organization can get involved, please contact Executive Director, Hannah Krieger or Dave Mead 


Donate - Remember Colorado Gives Day is December 4th. You can make your donation now.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Youth Mentoring and the Business Community: 3 Powerful Reasons for you to Get Engaged


  

            Get Engaged


Youth Mentoring and the Business Community: 3 Powerful Reasons for you to Get Engaged

There is a long tradition, going back centuries, of strong societies nurturing the next generation of workers and craftsmen — using structures such as apprenticeships, internships and formal guilds to reach out to youth and help them find fulfilling, meaningful vocations. By intentionally guiding and educating young people to find and develop rewarding careers, communities and even entire nations can help to ensure that there is a stable social foundation, a continuity of goods and services, and a citizenry capable of pursuing their dreams and contributing to the greater good.
Listed below are three powerful reasons that companies and employees should get involved in mentoring.

1. Fostering employee engagement, satisfaction and retention - One representative from Intel noted, “We find that in terms of employee engagement and retention, there is a reputational pull of doing this kind of [mentoring] work, especially for potential hires coming out of the universities where they have experienced mentoring relationships.” As one representative from Citi said, “It’s that piece around the desire of individuals to work for an organization that is socially responsible and civically engaged … this resonates with our employees and they want to be a part of it.”

2. Cultivating and developing the future workforce - Much has been written recently about the difficulty some industries are having finding qualified and well-prepared employees. Companies work in mentoring fits into a new paradigm of creating and fostering pipelines and pathways rather than focusing only on training once employees arrive. For example, Bloomberg’s growth as a company has led it to be more proactive about finding future employees: “As we’ve evolved and then become a much larger company with more and more stakeholders, the business case for us is really about talent development and diversifying our talent pipeline. We recognize that today’s youth are the future of our company going forward and we need to take responsibility for better preparing them for tangible roles in the corporate workforce.”

3. Supporting vibrant communities (which include viable customers) - Companies also recognize that they are part of the communities where they are located, that their businesses will struggle if educational systems or the community itself is struggling. A representative from American Express framed this as their “commitment to service and giving back to communities where employees live and work, helping in your own backyard.” IBM explained its emphasis on education this way: “We live and we work in these communities where these kids live. We have a responsibility to do as much as we can to help them and make these communities thrive — and education is certainly a big factor in that.” With national partners like the NBA Cares, Starbucks, LinkedIn, Deloitte, EY and Bank of America and state contributors to the mentoring movement like KPMG, Richey May and Home Advisors more and more companies are recognizing the power of mentoring. 

Mentor Colorado is leading the youth mentoring effort in Colorado. Give the power of mentoring today finding a mentoring opportunity with one of our mentoring agency affiliates here, or a partnership opportunity with MENTOR Colorado’s Executive Director, Hannah Krieger.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Mentor Colorado is pleased to welcome Hannah Krieger as its new Executive Director


HannahK-headshot.jpeg
Mentor Colorado, which helps 65+ youth mentoring affiliates to increase the numbers of quality youth mentoring relationships across the state of Colorado, is pleased to welcome Hannah Krieger as its Executive Director.



EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Hannah Krieger 

Hannah Krieger joins Mentor Colorado as Executive Director on November 12, 2018. Previously, Hannah was the Director of Strategic Relationships for WeCOACH, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving, empowering and connecting women coaches of all sports and levels across the country. Prior to joining WeCOACH, Hannah Krieger served as Executive Director of Sportswomen of Colorado, a non-profit focused on empowering and celebrating girls and women in sport in the state of Colorado.

During her time with the Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club, Hannah started and oversaw Soccer for Success (a U.S. Soccer Foundation program), which served K-8 students in under-resourced communities throughout the Denver and Aurora areas. She also managed over 3,000 youth soccer players and 350+ coaches and volunteers in their 4-Under through 10-Under programs. Hannah has continued to serve as a National Facilitator and Trainer with the U.S. Soccer Foundation since 2013, where she works to train Soccer for Success coach-mentors and trainers around the country.

Hannah earned her B.A. from Smith College, a Master’s in Sport Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University, and was a Fulbright scholar in Saarbruecken, Germany. 

The Continuing Quest for Accountability - Part IV - Top 5 Accountability Pitfalls

[Editor's Note: True Accountability can be the biggest impediment to strong results in a company. In Parts I and II in this series , we asked the questions: "Is a Lack of Accountability a Problem in My Organization?" and "Am I Part of the Accountability Problem in My Company?In Part III, we addressed "Starting Down the Path to Greater Accountability"  In this issue, we outline the top 5 accountability pitfalls that can kill company performance. I hope you find this useful. -dpm]
The Continuing Quest for Accountability - Part IV
Top 5 Accountability Pitfalls

When people are held accountable - to themselves and their stakeholders - good things get done. According to Steve Tobak of Moneywatch, here are the top five "accountability" pitfalls that business leaders and executives typically fall into, in my experience. Some of them don't even appear to be accountability-related on the surface, which is why they're so insidious. If you want a high-performance management team, make sure you avoid them:
Unclear responsibility. Misalignment of Goals. This is probably the most common pitfall. Show me an organization and I'll show you managers with misaligned goals and vague responsibility. Two people shouldn't have the same functional responsibility or own the same goal. If you do that, you're asking for things to fall in the crack. That doesn't preclude "matrix management"; the trick is to ensure goals and responsibilities are properly aligned. It can be done.
No follow up. Poor execution. This is practically an epidemic in organizations. Executives are great at coming up with goals, strategies, even metrics. Unfortunately, they're also notoriously bad at following up. I don't care how driven and entrepreneurial executives are; without follow up, nothing good happens. Companies must have a relatively objective and, sorry to say this, strict process for both setting and scoring management performance metrics.
Compensation plans that reward poor performanceClosely related to the "no follow up" problem, most companies have terrible executive compensation plans. Maybe 1 in 10 actually rewards the right behavior and has enough teeth to foster accountability. The problem? The bar for making gobs of money is set too low, and there's not enough difference between success and failure, plain and simple.

Management bad behavior. When it comes to management behavior, most executives and boards just look the other way. That lack of accountability plays a key role in business failures because dysfunctional leadership results in bad strategic decision-making and poor employee performance and execution. Granted, coming up with metrics for this sort of thing is challenging, but I think "360s" are pretty effective. 
Flawed company strategy. This is rarely seen as an accountability problem, but it is. When company executives push a flawed strategy, two things inevitably happen. First, smart people in the organization call them on it - publicly or privately - word gets around, and management credibility suffers, big-time. Second, folks will start covering their behinds, pointing fingers, acting passive aggressively - all sorts of dysfunctional behavior that wreaks havoc with organizational performance.Not surprisingly, I find that management teams at consistently successful companies make accountability a priority and, therefore, avoid these pitfalls. It take a real commitment of precious management time and resources. But not only is the payoff worth it, it's a necessity in our hypercompetitive business world. 
________
This may sound strange coming from a firm that stresses strategic growth and execution, but it will do little good to establish strategies, action plans, and metrics without accountability. Because - without accountability, the results will be more of the same - disappointing results. The data shows that companies with true accountability greatly outperform those with a lack of accountability. Don't let another year go by. Neglecting the next steps in your company's growth and maturity can be very short-sighted. The next downturn is coming - possibly starting as early as Q4 of 2019. Get prepared. You need to have your company firing on all cylinders. 
Need help? The Mead Consulting Group has helped many companies achieve greater accountability...and better results.  Contact me to discuss how we can help you do things a bit differently this next year.

Monday, October 29, 2018

The Continuing Quest for Accountability -Part III Starting Down the Path to Greater Accountability

[Editor's Note: True Accountability can be the biggest impediment to strong results in a company. In Parts I and II in this series , we asked the questions: "Is a Lack of Accountability a Problem in My Organization?" and "Am I Part of the Accountability Problem in My Company?In this issue, we explore how to start down the path to improve accountability at your company. I hope you find this useful. -dpm]
 
The Continuing Quest for Accountability -Part III
Starting Down the Path to Greater Accountability

Over time, as organizations grow, certain norms become ingrained into the culture. In early stages, decision-making can be centralized in a few hands with key people wearing many hats. This is essential to being successful in small early-stage organizations. As organizations grow and people are added, decision-making, "ownership", and accountability need to change as well.

If decision-making, ownership of decisions, and accountability doesn't change, it can lead to a culture of losing. What happens if decision-making, ownership of decisions, and accountability doesn't change? We see this with many Mead Consulting clients. Many times the senior people (including CEOs and business owners) have difficulty letting go. They are the "smartest guys (gals) in the room." They continue to want to influence all decisions, not trusting those lower in the organizational structure. Over time the middle managers and employees become conditioned to "delegate decisions upward." Decisions, projects, new products, etc. are not owned by individual employees, but become the province of the senior managers. Some of the symptoms are micro-managing, lack of commitment to goals, missed deadlines, poorly designed products, missing sales forecasts, and a general apathy among employees. 

Performance in these companies suffer, strong performers leave. In a number of these companies, a fatalistic culture of losing ensues. No one really feels that they have the power to change things. Ouch!

Cultures take about 3 years to become reinforced. We saw this during the 2008-2013 period when companies hunkered down, rewarded cost-cutting, and became risk- averse. When the economy started to rebound many company cultures had become so risk-averse that they missed opportunities - or were too timid to take advantage.

When belief biases have set in, it can be very difficult to get employees to buy into change. With companies with a culture of a lack of accountability, there are significant headwinds encountering change. Some of this is related to "Belief Bias." Because people have not seen positive change, they do not believe it is possible. Certain negatives have become accepted beliefs or truths over time. Some examples of belief bias in product companies are: "you can't accurately predict what customers want in a new product - it's a crapshoot"; "You can't plan production;" "Downtime is a fact of life"; "Management doesn't care/doesn't listen"; "We can't make money doing this"; "Oh Boy. Here comes yet another initiative"; "We don't know how what we do matters."When belief biases have set in, it can be very difficult to get employees to buy into change.

How can you begin to change a culture of a Lack of Accountability? It isn't about words, or slogans. You have to begin to change beliefs - with positive experiences that actively demonstrate a new way of operating. It starts at the top - with you - and the senior leadership. Pick a couple of problem areas and get started (Some of these are listed in Part II- Am I Part of the Accountability Problem in My Company?). You have to create new, positive experiences that build the accountability culture. It requires commitment and repetition, repetition, repetition. Remember, they have probably heard hollow words or seen abandoned programs or initiatives before, so it will take time before the employees believe in the new ways.

Don't waste time strategic planning or planning for 2019. It will do little good to establish strategies, action plans, and metrics. Without accountability, the results will be more of the same - disappointing results. The data shows that companies with true accountability greatly outperform those with a lack of accountability. Don't let another year go by. Neglecting the next steps in your company's growth and maturity can be very short-sighted. You need to have your company firing on all cylinders.

Need help? The Mead Consulting Group has helped many companies achieve greater accountability...and better results.    Contact me to discuss how we can help you do things a bit differently this next year.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Am I Part of the Accountability Problem in My Company?

[Editor's Note: True Accountability can be the biggest impediment to strong results in a company. In our last issue we asked the question:
"Is a Lack of Accountability a Problem in My Organization?" In this issue, we continue to explore why accountability may be lacking in your company.]

The Continuing Quest for Accountability -Part II 
Am I Part of the Accountability Problem in My Company?

As leaders of businesses and organizations, we typically think of ourselves as ultimately accountable for the results and success of the organization. We likewise think we hold managers and other leaders in our organizations accountable as well. But...is it possible that the culture we have created actually results in a lack of accountability?

Consider the following behaviors and ask yourself, not only how well you do these, but also, how well you encourage these behaviors in your business?
  • Do you actively obtain the perspectives of others?
  • Do you communicate openly and candidly?
  • Do you actively ask for and offer feedback?
  • Do you learn from both successes and failures?
  • Do you act on the feedback you receive?
  • How well do I align the each employee's work with the key results?
  • Do you value loyalty or tenure more than performance from employees?
  • How is the collaboration across functional boundaries in the organization?
  • Do you always do the things you say you'll do?
  • Do you track progress with reporting that is proactive and transparent to the organization?
  • Do you actively build an environment of trust?
Some business owners think that setting up and tracking metrics from their managers is accountability and do not acknowledge the importance of the above list of attributes. Some business owners or CEOs we have worked with respond with automatic "Yes" responses to these questions. Some suggest that this is "Management 101." The truth is that we find at least several of these behaviors or attributes lacking in many companies and in many business owners or CEOs. In order to get the best results in your organization, every employee needs to feel personal responsibility and accountability for the results. Can you say that exists in your organization?

Submit yourself to some self-reflection. Ask your managers how they honestly think you score on these questions. You might be surprised that others perceive you differently than you perceive yourself.
If you want to change the results in your business, you need to change to a culture of accountability. How does that change start? 

In the end...it all starts with you.

Don't let another year go by. Neglecting the next steps in your company's growth and maturity can be very short-sighted. You need to have your company firing on all cylinders. The Mead Consulting Group has helped many companies achieve greater accountability...and better results.   Contact me to discuss how we can help you do things a bit differently this next year.

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Continuing Quest for Accountability - Part I Is Lack of Accountability a Problem in My Organization?



[Editor’s Note: For over 25 years, Mead Consulting has been conducting assessments at client companies to identify barriers and challenges to growth to the next level. Lack of true accountability continues to be the most frequent issue. I thought it might be useful to address accountability in this article. If you are beginning your planning cycle, a lack of accountability may impede your progress              – dpm]
The Continuing Quest for Accountability
Part I – Is Lack of Accountability a Problem in My Organization

Speaking with a new client recently, the CEO asked me to identify the most frequent problem we see with our new clients. I responded, “Lack of true accountability.”  He seemed skeptical and suggested that we wouldn’t find that to be true at his company. So I asked him, “Does every employee feel responsible for the company’s success and know what their role is in ensuring that success?”
It occurs to me that people have become numb to the meaning of the word, accountability, and that it always seems to apply to everyone else, some other department, etc.  –“They need to be more accountable for results.”
What are some of the attributes in an organization lacking accountability?
Do any of the following look familiar?
·    Unclear Vision and Direction: Employees do not know the keys to company success – or they all have different views as to what they are.
§  Goals may be unclear, confusing,  or there are too many different goals
§  “We keep adding initiatives and projects and never take anything off the list.”
·   Micromanaging or Command and control: Employees do not feel they have control over how to deliver results
· Lack of Job Understanding or Training: “I have never been shown what is expected”; “I didn’t receive any training”
·   “I don’t know where to go for help”
·  Undervalued: “No one cares about my opinion.” People do not feel their opinion is valued – that is, every employee
·  People do not feel comfortable delivering bad news such as the “project is behind schedule” or “we have a major quality problem.” So they ignore or sugarcoat things.
·   People do not feel trusted.
§  “I am not confident my efforts will be rewarded”
§  “I suspect that my manager (the company leader) may take advantage of me”
§  “I question my manager’s (the company leader’s)motives”
§  “I am sure they will take credit for my accomplishments”
· Departments do not cooperate with each other; We constantly practice the “blame game”
·  Employees are Not Engaged - Employees do just enough to get through the day
Be honest. Do you recognize any of the above in your company? On the long personal and organizational “to do” list, accountability should be at the top of the list.  Lack of accountability can paralyze an organization and prevent it from moving forward.  If you see a fatal flaw in yourself, your current leaders, or your organization in any of the above, you should address it immediately.

In the next issue, we will address how to develop a culture of accountability and personal responsibility. Hint: It begins with you!