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

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.

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.