CSD: Who Was Your Mentor?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of an article from Convenience Store Decisions magazine.
Way back when I entered the oil industry as a bookkeeper in 1968, I did not have a clue how fortunate I was to have not one, but two great mentors.
Both have had an enormous impact on me and my family, as I have enjoyed a lifelong lift from being in their presence during the early part of my career.
I thought I was being ‘trained,’ but mentoring goes far beyond training. I would surmise that mentoring starts where training ends. Training is an obligation, where mentoring is passion.
The most concise description of mentoring that I have come across is that a mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself. Don’t we all really need that?
It is my sincere opinion that a would-be mentor is looking for candidates who have the potential, desire and determination that evokes memories of one’s own younger years and thus stimulates the desire to assist.
For those of us who have had the good fortune to receive outstanding leadership and guidance in our careers, there is an obligation to ‘pay it forward.’ While researching the role of a mentor in business, I found that there is actually a Pay it Forward organization based on the book and movie bearing the same name.
Paying it forward is to act without the expectation of being paid back, but with the hope that the recipient pays the favor forward by helping someone else.
The c-store industry has an unmatched record in sharing information and encouraging employees. We can be proud of that track record, but as you look around at many of our leaders, there is quite a bit of gray showing. For the industry to continue to flourish, the leadership torch must continually be passed on to a new generation. In short, the time is now to impart your wisdom.
There is more than an implied obligation to continue mentoring and paying it forward. Seek out those in your organization who might need that extra push and you just might find a diamond in the rough.
Mentoring also affords employees an opportunity to start anew with an improved attitude.
The c-store industry remains under constant attack by drug stores, supermarkets and big box operators that want to steal our business. Now more than ever we need to expand and improve our mentoring efforts if we are to continue the growth and profits that we count on to sustain our future. Remember that old saying, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
Discussion questions: Is mentoring becoming a lost tradition at retail? How can retail organizations, down to the store manager level, create better environments to encourage mentoring?