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FCW : February 2013
20 February 2013 FCW.COM Mentor s Guide: Facilitating Effective Learning Relationships." In surveys, 96 percent of executives and 98 percent of millennial employees say mentor- ing is an important development tool. Moreover, 35 percent of employees who don t receive regular mentoring look for another job within the year, and 62 percent who have received mentoring say they are very likely to stay with their current employer, Zachary said. "Mentoring is a great opportunity to develop yourself professionally, to develop yourself as a leader," she said. "Throughout your career, you need multiple mentors at different times." Finding a mentor Sometimes, mentor relationships develop naturally through people you meet in the course of your work. But the more targeted and intentional you are in your choice of a mentor, the more you will get out of the relation- ship. For instance, it is helpful to have a mentor who is not in your immediate chain of command so that he or she can give objective feedback without also being responsible for managing your performance. "It s very dif cult for a mentee to be open and honest with someone who signs their paycheck or evaluates their performance," Zachary said. In addition, avoid choosing a friend or someone with a similar style to yours, said Susan Grunin, CEO of Think Strategic Consulting and chair- woman of the American Council for Technology s Human Capital Shared Interest Group. "I ve had soul mates and I ve had mentors," she said. "People who think differently have insight that you can t get if you just hung around with someone like you." Furthermore, you should articu- late the reasons you are looking for a mentor beyond just "getting ahead." If you want to learn a speci c skill, such as managing meetings or improving organizational performance, look for a mentor who excels in the targeted area. Or perhaps you want exposure to someone who has worked at a num- ber of agencies or in a variety of roles within your organization. Also con- sider practicalities such as whether you would prefer a mentor who is geographically close to you or some- one who attended the same college or university. The questions to ask yourself are, "'What do I want to learn, and what am I looking for in a mentor? " Zach- ary said. "Identify some criteria so you don t get sw a mentor --- who do you know?" Mary Davie, assistant commissioner for integrated technology services at the General Services Administration s Federal Acquisition Service, gravitated to GSA s Mary Whitley early on as a mentor because she admired Whitley s strength as a leader and her ability to command an equal voice at the table. "I felt I could learn a lot from her in terms of leadership style, in terms py , of being very clear in communications HOW TO INFLUENCE POLICY Step 2: Know the opportunities to help shape policy The newly appointed leader is expected to support the administration's agenda and needs to be quickly briefed on that agenda. However, the brie ng process might also be used to reveal opportunities to provide policy re nements and other forms of in uence. It might also become apparent that there are other initiatives the appointee has in mind that have not yet been considered. Fitting those new initiatives into the over- arching direction and philosophy of the already articulated goals will increase the prospects that those suggestions will be favorably received. Although the pre-exist- ing agenda will be a priority, the appointee might well be asked to drive this additional agenda. Step 3: Develop relationships with key of cials Some of the president's closest agenda- setting advisers are in the Executive Of ce of the President (EOP). Several of those of ces have a statutory mission that includes policy development. A few examples are the Of ce of Management and Budget, the Council of Economic Advisers, and the Of ce of Science and Technology Policy. The White House Of ce, itself an EOP entity, encompasses other central policy- setting of ces, including the Domestic Poli- cy Council, the National Economic Council, and the Of ce of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. New political leaders would be well- advised to learn more about EOP of ces that have portfolios related to the agency they will be serving, including the key people involved with those portfolios. For more senior appointees, it might be appro- priate or even anticipated that you reach out to those of ces for a brie ng. Establish- ing a trusted relationship could support the opportunity to contribute to shaping or suggesting additional policy initiatives. Step 4: Know your agency's role in policy-making and its "go-to" people Newly appointed leaders should learn the historical and expected responsibilities of their agency or of ce. Although you should have evaluated those considerations when you were contemplating the offer to serve, a validation of that initial research will inform your ability to drive and execute agendas. A related step is to identify and establish relationships with the people in your agency who have held key responsibilities for car- rying out its mission. The support of your "go-to" people will enable the responsive- Executive Handbook
March 15, 2013