Once someone becomes a Master in their field, they often feel a desire to pass on their expertise.
This mentoring ‘completes the circle’ of their journey from novice to expert.
It’s good for them and good for humanity.
It’s also very good for business.
But only if everyone plays.
All Your Eggs
When getting to know a new client, one of my penetrating briefing questions is:
What would happen to your business if you died tonight?
Around 85% say their business would die with them.
Given how few businesses survive, and how much effort it takes to build and maintain a good one, it seems a shame to link a firm to its founder’s fate.
You wouldn’t dare present Cats without lead role understudies.
Why should your business deserve less?
Putting Yourself Out
I once spent two years teaching my friend Adam everything I knew about English, writing, business and client service.
As Adam has brains and charm by the truckload, it wasn’t long before clients sought him by name.
Then he started systemising my business in a way I never thought possible.
Then he started editing my work and teaching me English!
My skills (and Empire fortunes) blossomed under Adam’s tutelage.
Until he needed more than the Empire could offer.
Biting my tongue till it bled, I gave the glowing reference Adam deserved.
His new boss acknowledged my pain at relinquishing such a gifted associate.
The vessel of all my knowledge was gone.
I wasn’t back to Square One, but I was alone again. I’d learned that:
- Trainees teach you (at least) as much as they learn.
- Training them doesn’t mean you get to keep them.
In the good old days, apprenticeships were plentiful.
An employer could take on a youngster knowing that, if they chose to leave at the end, there were others doing likewise from other firms.
After some musical chairs, everyone got what they wanted.
During my human resources career, I watched this ‘all-in’ system collapse (amid strident warnings from those who saw Australia’s future).
The titanic salaries of the last mining boom revealed our dearth of skilled people.
Like emission targets, no-one wants to train young people unless everyone’s doing it.
The penalties for kind souls who press on regardless seem dire.
One such soul is Jude Oldmeadow (on the right in Judy McEachern’s photo).
In theory, trainee Bo Lou Nolten could take Jude’s expertise to an arch rival, or set up in competition herself.
Despite this risk, Jude is pouring her knowledge into Bo at a phenomenal rate.
She’s focusing on what goes around, without any guarantee of what may come around.
I think this is noble.
Bo thinks it’s incredible (as you’ll see from her passionate perspective).
Perhaps unstinting generosity and unbounded confidence are the signs of a True Master.
Are you a Master?
Are you passing the baton?
If not, why not?
Paul Hassing, Founder & Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire