Why Mentoring Matters

I'm posting these comments for you to see how fabulous our Gen-Y'ers are (not to be boastful or bragging, I'm just honored to be able to meet these kids). Their ability to listen, distill, discern, learn, apply and share are way beyond what ours were at their age, let alone 10, 20, 30 years older. We need to listen, distill, discern, learn, apply and share their wisdom with the rest of the world.  As my friend Carmen Medina has said, "Optimism is the greatest act of rebellion." Please, get to know Gen-Y kids, share with them, encourage them - the joy you will receive is overwhelming.  They are our future!


From: Sabrina Yu (Jing-Wen)
Thank you once again for meeting us last Monday!
Date: 23September, 2012 2:19:28 PM EDT
To: Deborah Mills-Scofield <deborah_mills-scofield@brown.edu>

Hello Deb,

The EP [Entrepreneur Program] leaders would like to thank you again for speaking to us at Ben and Jerry's. We also have something to say to you.

Sabrina: ""Dear Deb, I am always inspired when I talk to you or read your blog posts. Thank you for encouraging us and providing great insights!"

Elizabeth: "Deb - you are wonderful and we are so grateful to have your time - thanks for inspiring us and encouraging us to think about important things. You are a tremendous role model, thanks again!"

Ashley: "To be entrepreneurial is to be creative--thank you for reinforcing that Deb!"

Max: "Thank you so much for coming by and chatting with us. I loved the emphasis you placed on "doing" and "creating," and hope to create an outlet on campus for students to experiment with easy prototypes from the MAKE Magazine collection. Brown is a place of opportunity for the initiated, and after listening to you, I am very energized to spread the spark. Warm regards,"

Alex: "Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us. Your observation that a business serves as a vehicle for learning resonated with me. A personal goal is to give as many students as possible the opportunity catch, and learn from, the entrepreneurship bug. Brown students love to create change, entrepreneurship is the perfect platform. Regards,"

Joseph: "Dear Deb, Thank you for giving EP members an opportunity to hear you speak. I personally enjoyed listening to you talk about the time-tested wisdoms and values of entrepreneurship. I am trying to start a business and your words were invaluable. I hope to see you again in the future. Best regards,"

Sabrina Yu 
Brown University, Class of 2015 

Summer’s Trump Cards

We use the term "trump" a lot (hum...gambling influence on our culture?).  So I thought I'd posit a few trump cards of my own for the summer - here they are:

Meaning & Purpose Trump Money & Profit: While we see this in the younger generation, isn’t it really true for all of us, even if we don’t admit or realize it? Hey, ½ (or more) of our lives are ‘at work’ – so we should enjoy it, relish it, be passionate about it.  It should be a means AND an end, not just a means to an end….

Challenge:  Increase the meaning and purpose of those who work with and for you before the end of August.

Paradoxical Thinking Trumps Critical Thinking:  While I was raised to think paradoxically (more eastern than western), for most of us, it’s formidable – we’re been trained in logic & linear progression.  But life, work and innovation are about AND/BOTH, not EITHER/OR – that’s a false choice.  Look at the edges.

Challenge:  Discover a paradox, perhaps at the fringe, to help you and your team innovate before the end of August.

Culture Trumps Strategy: The best made plans are worthless if they’re not aligned with the culture. Sometimes the strategy can help transform the culture (for good or bad), but if the culture doesn’t support it, it won’t happen.  Perhaps that’s why I think CEOs need to be CCS’s – Chief Culture Stewards.

Challenge:  Start to check the health of your culture – really, be brutally honest -before the end of August.

Strategy Trumps Structure:  In most crises, the first thing the organization does is restructure; ok, problem solved. How can you restructure without knowing where you’re going and how best to achieve it? Yet I fight this all the time with most clients.  Remember – Form follows Substance. Structure is a trailing indicator, not the cure.

Challenge:  If you have a good strategic direction, check to see if you’re organizationally aligned to make it happen before the end of August. (if you don’t, email me!)

Structure Trumps Processes: In helping clients formalize SOPs, we’ve realized that structure can stand in the way.  Understanding how process improvement in one area affects another can help you negatively affect other process in other areas.  It’s the 2nd, 3rd order effects, the ‘unintended’ consequences that can get you.

Challenge:  Identify a few key processes and see their ripple effects throughout your systems before the end of August.

Please share your efforts on these challenges so we can learn from & help each other!!