So today is the 1st anniversary of launching my blog on leadership, innovation, and failure. I cannot even start to explain how much I have learned along the way. My goal was to mix my ideas and my research trying to post at least one article per week. Over the last year I have written 68 posts which have been read by over 5000 unique visitors to the blog. I would like to offer a huge “thank you” to everyone who took the time to comment, provide feedback, or help share my articles with your networks!
Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of Steve Blank‘s (@sgblank) work (I have linked to some of his recent articles below) and I did appreciate the distinction that he had drawn between teachers, mentors, and coaches in his article for LinkedIn. But as I read the article I found myself upset with his response to a question from an audience member. I felt that he had shown indifference to the audience member based on his response. The question was “How do I get you, or someone like you to become my mentor?” The individual was clearly asking for a suggestion on how to find a mentor. Steve’s response was “At least for me, becoming someone’s mentor means a two-way relationship. A mentorship is a back and forth dialog – it’s as much about giving as it is about getting. It’s a much higher-level conversation than just teaching. Think about what can we learn together? How much are you going to bring to the relationship?” Steve finished the article with this advice regarding mentorships “But never ask. Offer to give.” To me that advice sounds to close to, “I’m too busy, don’t bother me with your question.”
Earlier this month there was a great and refreshingly candid interview from the Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) with former Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley that captured his thoughts on what companies get wrong (Link Here). The interview hit on so many of the topics that I have tried to capture over the last few months that I thought I would try to highlight a few:
For the better part of the last decade I had focused my career on driving innovation for Best Buy, a Fortune 100 retailer, and the undeniable king in the consumer electronics category. When I joined the company I was focused on identifying innovative products and services that were specifically tailored for the needs of their newly identified customer segments. I then joined a team where we focused on creating new concept and prototype stores and lead the team responsible for the Escape concept store in Chicago. Eventually we shut down our two concept stores and I worked to reshape the team into an internal capability that could deliver new prototype stores (i.e. Best Buy Mobile), new retail models (i.e. Best Buy Express), and identify new growth product and service categories (i.e. Personal Transportation, Home Energy Management, and Health & Fitness).
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