Bankers, investment and retirement counselors, financial planners are just some of the professionals in financial services who are seeing. more and more, that the short-term focus often emphasized in business is NOT the way to increase a firm’s competitive advantage. Investors are investing in the human resources that have the wisdom, experience, and savvy to make the best decisions, decisions that pay off in more than one way, for clients, for the firm, and for themselves as individuals, over the longer term.
The need for that investment in the human resource in their firm has been made even more critical and timely as baby boomers reach retirement age and leave the firm. Mentoring has become the business strategy of choice by building the knowledge and skills of junior members of the firm through formal mentoring relationships with senior gurus within the company.
The mentoring programs and mentoring processes have been challenging to build and do well, in part because the competitive environment, especially within a firm, has created a climate when sharing one’s personal knowledge and advantage has NOT previously been in the individual’s own best interests. As tough as it is to develop trusting, supportive, non competitive mentoring relationships that target other people’s success, some new often unintended benefits have been discovered and capture for their firms by doing just that.
Mentoring builds team work, a progressively more vital element in finance where the complex environment, research that’s needed, costliness of mistakes, and specialization of disciplines REQUIRE effective teams and teamwork. Mentoring relationships are a BIG help in learning how and increasing understanding of the value of building these kinds of partnerships.
Mentoring is about learning, trying new things, and growing, all things that require risk-taking for the sake of improvement. In the financial world, risk-taking is a common, but carefully undertaken process, where risks are planned and balanced by hedges, and where learning by making mistakes is dangerous. The very nature of mentoring is about positive, measured, planned, and worthwhile risk taking – great practice for wider understanding and success in the financial world.
Mentoring creates the discipline for taking time for collaborative debriefing of lessons learned during the work day and other longer term processes. Such time has often been seen as a luxury, but thoughtful people appreciate the value of building into the day and definition of the work, the task of learning and getting better each day. It’s no longer a luxury to do this, it’s become a matter of survival for individuals and companies, and the mentoring process creates the skills and climate for doing it.
Great in theory, huh? It’s NOT just theory. Here are some examples of financial firms who have made mentoring a priority because they want to grow and succeed.
MENTORING PROGRAM EXAMPLES
FINANCIAL AND DIVERSITY
Morgan Stanley – The Morgan Stanley Mentor Program goal is a reflection of a business strategy to increase the number of women in sales, executive ranks and other areas of targeted need. The realized that retaining women employees in both client interfaces and internal planning and decision making will be a key competitive advantage, externally by attracting and retaining women clients, and internally by creating opportunities to develop and keep gifted employees, and thereby to build their talent pipeline and succession as senior people retire. Morgan Stanley uses the group mentoring because part of their emerging emphasis is on increased team work and the power of collaboration. Group mentoring therefore, supports that strategic initiative.