I have had a mentor for nearly 20 years and, while I moved nearly 1000 miles away from him about two years into our mentoring relationship, we continued.
We didn’t do this by flying back and forth; we used collaborative technology.
At the time, “collaborative tech” was a camera and simple microphone mounted on our PCs at work. The technology evolved and soon we were sharing documents and data during our discussions, albeit still tied to our desks. Not too long after that, we were connecting from our homes, from airports, etc. and able to easily share a plethora of content before, after or while on the call.
I attended a “nextchat” twitter chat today about mentorships and I was pleased to see so many people on the chat embracing (or wanting to embrace) collaborative technology for these relationships. Lord knows there are striking benefits, the biggest of which being that collaborative technology broadens the potential mentor/mentee net; previous boundaries of geography, industry, time zones, etc. are easily removed with collaborative technology.
Taking a few discussions offline, I quickly learned that many professionals want collaborative technology readily present in the workplace but their efforts are stifled due to key leaders or decision makers either:
- Not conceding it is desired (if not required) to better communicate and collaborate
- Not willing to invest the money
- Not willing to support it
- Not willing to use it themselves
This continues to flabbergast me!
As a leadership coach, I have a consistent message to my clients:
Give your team the tools they need to get the job done and then,
GET OUT OF THE WAY!
We, as business leaders, as managers and as supervisors must quit getting in the way!
When we fail to listen to our staff about what is needed in order to better work with coworkers, we are getting in the way.
When we fail to invest in the tools that improve efficiency, increase quality and decrease errors and waste, we are getting in the way.
When we fail to enable the research into and/or fail to approve the platforms that support innovative technology, we are getting in the way.
When we fail to try something new and, instead, protect the sacred cows we rode in on, we are getting in the way.