Who’s your CEO mentor?

Chief Executive Officers play a number of different roles in an organization. One of them may not be formally factored into their role, or exercised as often as it should be. I’m talking about the importance of being someone’s mentor. Yes, you, and yes, I realize you are busy. However, whether you realize it or not, or if you have not mentored someone in a while, perhaps you forgot about the fact you might get more out of this experience than the person you are mentoring.

I’m referring to the number one benefit of being able to assist and provide insightful guidance and direction to your mentee. Potentially in an entirely different manner than you would to your direct staff, and also those you lead on a daily basis in your CEO role.

Of course, I realize that CEO’s schedules are some of the most difficult to find an opening on, but without exception, it will be non-negotiable for you to find time each week on your schedule for the person or the individual’s you will be mentoring. I say will be mentoring, because after reading this article, either you, or someone who would like to be mentored by you will be connecting with one another.

As someone who naturally enjoys mentoring others, I can appreciate not everyone might be comfortable taking on the responsibility to do this. However, if you are the CEO, or in a leadership role, I need to remind you that you have a perhaps unwritten obligation to impart and share your experience with others. Possibly even unconventional mentees, such as ones who are at the very beginning of their careers. Or, perhaps in an entirely different industry. It’s also probable, you might find yourself mentoring a newly minted CEO. They certainly would benefit from your experience.

So, is there a particular method for finding a mentee or CEO mentor? Not really, as there are numerous approaches someone could take to find one or the other. For example, asking people in your network if they could connect you to their CEO would be one way to get started. In fact, it might be easier to ask a CEO to mentor you, than a CEO to approach you to ask if you would like to be mentored by them.

I consider it one of the highest honors when someone asks me to be their mentor. I also take full responsibility for being completely engaged and willing to be vulnerable with sharing what I have learned with the people I have, and am currently mentoring. Although it may be uncomfortable, no topic is off limits to those I am mentoring. Of course, not everyone might subscribe to this level of openness, but I consider it to be one of my signature mentoring style characteristics.

Since I am the type of person who is very comfortable with ambiguity, I also can appreciate that others may not be. Don’t get me wrong, I also like a certain amount of structure, but I also have a high level of flexibility which affords me being able to have a less structured mentoring approach. Some might call it casual, but I think of it as being authentic, and it supports my level of how I enjoy interacting with others. Especially those I am mentoring.

If you were to dissect my career, one of your findings would be that the greatest joy I have found in leading others was to be looked at as someone they could trust, want to follow and most importantly learn from and model their professional behavior after. Some of my greatest and most precious memories come from when I helped someone I was mentoring, and when they have what I’ll call a “light-bulb” moment. In other words, by working together, my mentee reaches a moment in time when they are able to figure out and learn from me, but are able to customize what they have learned, and apply it to their respective situation they are working on.

Given the fact most CEO’s reading this article will not likely, or in general reach out to a mentee, I ask you to consider doing the following:

  • Please be open to a request or multiple ones from people who might want to be mentored by you.
  • You clearly establish what the guidelines entail for being mentored by you.
  • Determine what aspects of your experiences are going to be the most impactful for the person or people you are mentoring.
  • Considering you are likely goal oriented, factor in what the goal or goals will be for your mentee. Please keep in mind that some mentees may be part of your mentoring experience for various lengths of time. Some may in fact be mentored by you for years, while others might only require a short mentoring stint with you.
  • Mentoring someone is both an honor and privilege, and realistically, someone either formally or informally mentored you. If they didn’t, consider yourself to be fortunate to have arrived in your role without the enormous benefits mentoring can provide someone.

If you are wondering how to approach a CEO to mentor you, one of my earlier suggestions was to ask someone who might know a CEO if they would introduce you to them. If you do not know anyone who knows a CEO, here are some possible ways of finding and reaching out to one.

  • Factor in whether you will gain more benefit from a CEO who is at a small company, mid-size one, or at a large enterprise.
  • Determine if you would benefit more from someone who is in your industry, or whether there would potentially be more to learn from someone outside of it.
  • Is the geographic location of where the CEO is a factor? Will you have difficulties due to drastic time zone differences, or perhaps cultural ones depending on which country you each live in?  
  • Does it matter how much CEO experience they have to you?
  • Would it matter if the CEO is a male or a female?
  • With the basic considerations behind you, you can begin your CEO mentor research on-line. Most of you reading this are on LinkedIn, but if you are not, I highly recommend you start there.
  • Depending on how many people you have in your LinkedIn network, may hinder or support your quest to find your CEO mentor. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have many people in your network. Chances are good someone in it has access to at least one CEO. Begin there, and first ask for an introduction to your connection who knows this person.
  • Once you have identified which CEO’s you want to approach to mentor you; please limit it to one or two, and then craft your note to ask them if they would consider mentoring you.
  • Make sure your mentoring inquiry note to the CEO is well thought through in terms of your ask. One of the main things to focus on is your “why” you would like to be mentored by them.
  • Also factor in what you may have to offer the CEO. If you are considerably younger, or perhaps in a different industry or geography, think about the unique perspectives you could offer them based on your generational and current industry or location experience.
  • When the CEO agrees to mentor you, and you embark upon your mentoring journey, keep in mind to be both authentic and respectful of the opportunity to engage and learn from one another.
  • Please leave your biases and pre-conceived notions about one another at the door. I guarantee you will be surprised by each other’s knowledge.

Although mentoring is often considered a one-way situation, it should be a bi-directional learning opportunity for both the mentor and mentee. Not all of the time, but as often as possible, as we can always learn someone from another person. Enjoy the journey as both a mentor and mentee.

Tags: #Leadership #Mentoring #Business #Howtofindamentor #CEOMentors #CEOsthatMentor #WhyallCEOsShouldbeMentors #Teams #Management #PersonalDevelopment #ProfessionalDevelopment #Peopledevelopment #Humandevelopment #FindingaCEOtoMentorYou

 Interviews & (7) Tips – How are you perceived?

A friend of mine sent me one of the most satirical videos I have seen in a while about a millennial who was being interviewed by a non-millennial.  Of course, the mock interview was exaggerated, but I’m certain this interview might be closer to reality for some than they might think. This was the perfect example of showcasing someone who is at the oblivious level of being self-aware.

In the last two decades, I have literally interviewed hundreds of people. When I think about the ones which stand out in my mind as being some of the best interviews, they were with people who were highly self-aware. So, at this point you might be considering whether you would have me place you into this category? You might also be wondering what my definition of being self-aware is. I hope you are, as there is a wide spectrum for this description.

Not everyone who is self-aware has years of interviewing experience. In fact, some of the least seasoned interview candidates highly impressed me with how aware they were of how they were being perceived. Part of their awareness has to do with emotional intelligence, so much of it is purely innate, and some self-awareness comes from both experience and coaching. In other words, there are a number of ways someone can become more self-aware, especially during interviews.

Here are some ideas about how you can become more self-aware during your future interviews, or potentially during professional conversations you are having with others.

  • During your interviews, what percentage of time are you speaking versus listening? If you are speaking more than 75% of the time, you might not be giving the interviewer a chance to ask you more questions to learn more about you.
  • Do you feel like your personality changes when you go into “interview mode”? If you do not know what I am referring to, then chances are you do go into “interview mode”. When you do this, you can come across as more “robotic”, and are less aware of how you are coming across to the interviewer.
  • Are you so nervous during the interview that you simply want it to be over? What if you could actually enjoy the interview process? You can if you are more self-aware of how you are being perceived.
  • Have you ever practiced and recorded how you are acting during a mock interview? You will be amazed at potentially the things you might be doing which you are not aware of (e.g., blinking more than normal, moving around a great deal in your chair, not making enough eye contact with the interviewer, interrupting the interviewer, nervously twisting your hair or itching your scalp). I could go on forever with this list, so I will spare you some of the more “interesting” things I have seen non-self-aware people have done.
  • Let’s assume you have descent posture. If you don’t have good posture, and regardless of whether you are sitting or standing, you can help to increase your perception of self-awareness by monitoring and having good posture. By doing this one simple thing, you will come across as being more confident and attentive.
  • Having the right amount of courtesy distance from the interviewer is also something to consider. Generally, this is not an issue, but it is something to factor in as well. Since most interviews these days are done via Zoom or other on-line methods, here is a link to some additional tips I recommended when I was on ABC News recently talking about “How to nail a Zoom 
  • Think about some of the people you might have interviewed. Which ones impressed you, and which ones didn’t? Make a list of the pros and cons, and think about whether any of them apply to you.

Interviewing can actually be fun, and the more self-aware you are, the more fun you can have with the process. When you interview well, it obviously opens up opportunities for you to consider. If you are interested in having more opportunities to consider, make sure you are as self-aware about how you come across to others as you can be. Achieving and mastering self-awareness should be a goal all of us can strive to accomplish. Good luck with the process, and let me know if my ideas can or did help you, or if you have others to add to this list.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of Wisdom Whisperer  and Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer (published in December 2019)and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

“NEW!” Guide for Teams:

Every team is dysfunctional at some point.  Click on the link below to obtain a “free guide” with (5) Proven Strategies To Turn Your Dysfunctional Team Into An Epic One

 

Investing in relationships. How’s your portfolio?

Not everyone feels the need to be continuously growing their network of relationships. For those who do, they understand that growing their relationships takes both effort and time. They are also willing to do what it takes to add value to their relationships.

What propels some people to feel compelled to continue developing the relationships they initiated? Perhaps it is a genuine desire to get to know others better. Or, possibly they gain satisfaction in learning more about the people in their lives. Possibly they have the motivation to do so for professional or personal gain? Regardless of whether it is one or more of these reasons, any investment someone makes in another individual is worth it.

Think about a time when someone you know personally or professionally took the time to help you. Even in the smallest way. Perhaps they were motivated to do this for reasons you didn’t understand or could explain, but they still proceeded. How did it feel when they helped you? Maybe you noticed right away, or possibly you haven’t considered the impact they had? It doesn’t matter, as anytime someone takes the time to do something productive and kind for another individual is meaningful, and it doesn’t have to be measured for it to count.

Here’s a question for you to think about. How much time each day, week or month do you invest in all of the relationships you have in your life? Do you consciously invest more time and effort in some of them more consistently? Or, do you haphazardly without a plan cultivate your relationships? Could you conceive of the benefits you would gain if you invested more time in even half of your relationships?

If you were willing to invest more time and attention in your relationships, what would it take for you to change your approach to how you engage with other people? Carving out more time would obviously be one of the factors, and many people would argue they don’t have enough time. I would challenge this thinking by saying we can always make more time to do anything we put our mind to. Or if we are motivated to do so.

Consider how you spend the majority of your time each day. Are there portions of your day where you could substitute investing in cultivating your relationships versus doing something else? Of course. However, we also know there are always trade-offs anytime we shift and do something different with our time. If you are negatively thinking about this, instead think about the benefits you will be further developing, and where you can take them.

So, if you want to grow your portfolio of relationships, here are some suggestions about how to begin doing so.

  • Social media is one of the easiest ways to engage with lots of people. From a professional approach, LinkedIn offers an extraordinary way to easily engage with the people in your network by way of their “message” feature. Take on the challenge of engaging with 5-10 people in your LinkedIn network on a daily basis for a week. Make it a meaningful message to increase your level or engagement, and be sure to follow through when someone responds back to you in a timely manner.
  • Let’s go old school for a moment. When was the last time you sent someone a card? One that perhaps already has a message written in it that says something like “Thinking of you.” Consider sending out some of these cards to people who you have not been in touch with for a while. I guarantee you will make their day. You can do the same thing for your business relationships, but swop out the messaging and relate it to a positive last experience you engaged with them.
  • Remember that device called your phone? Challenge yourself by starting at the beginning of your digital address book and start making calls to catch up with people. Even for just a few minutes. Chances are you will end up leaving voice mail messages, so consider what you want to say ahead of time to re-engage with this person. Perhaps that’s your message focus!
  • Sending texts are easy and most people respond to them in a timely manner. Apply the same concept as the one above, and see what happens to your relationship engagement level.
  • When was the last time you had a party? One for no reason at all? I’m guessing it’s been awhile. So, when we get past our pandemic restrictions, put yourself in high gear and start sending out your invitations.
  • I’ve written about the importance of scheduling regular coffee and lunch times into your schedule. Right now, we are limited to doing this virtually, but the good news is that more people are around to be able to do this now more than any other time!
  • Plan to do an activity that can include other people. Again, when we are able to do this. This can be fun to think about, and when it happens, creating memories of doing something with others is one of the most powerful relationship building investments you can make in each other.

Time is an investment we make in ourselves and others. Consider well how you use your time to develop your relationship portfolio, and start to see it grow with some of the tips you can easily apply above.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of Wisdom Whisperer  and Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer (published in December 2019)and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

“NEW!” Guide for Teams:

Every team is dysfunctional at some point.  Click on the link below to obtain a “free guide” with (5) Proven Strategies To Turn Your Dysfunctional Team Into An Epic One

 

 

Are you connecting with others? Are you sure?

You have likely heard the expression you have two ears and one month for a reason, and that you should use them proportionately. In other words, you should be listening more than you should be talking. However, this doesn’t seem to be a well understood concept for everyone.

At the heart of connecting with others is being able to listen, and to do this well. Yes, this seems overly simplistic, but in reality, it’s not. Truly listening and hearing what someone is saying takes focus and practice. Consider the last time you spoke with someone. Do you think they were intently paying attention to everything you were saying? Or, were they like most people, and only semi involved in the conversation and doing a lot of head nodding and saying “ungh-hungh”?

When it comes to connecting with other people, the ones who have mastered this are similar to a Swiss Army Knife. You know, the kind of knife that has lots of different tools on it which can be used in many different circumstances. The act of connecting with a person is not a single dimension activity. Although listening well is one of the components required to connect with someone, it’s only one of the actions involved with the process.

If you were to break down the visual process of being able to connect with other people, it likely wouldn’t be a straight-line diagram. In fact, it would probably look like a scatter gram plotted across a sheet of paper. It would contain many starts and stops, and multiple directions in the visual engagement plotted on paper prior to landing at an end point. The end point also might in fact be the actual starting point of the connection being made, or taken to a different level of connection.

Why does it look easy for people who are good at making connections with others? It’s because like a Swiss Army knife I referenced earlier, the person establishing the connection is skilled at leveraging all of the tools required to develop a human connection.

Can this be a skill that is taught? Yes, I believe it can be taught, but don’t expect it to be like a drive through window experience with instant gratification. The analogy I would use in terms of the time it takes to learn how to master connecting with others would be similar to taking on an apprenticeship in a trade skill such as electricity or plumbing. It’s going to take time to become a pro.

So, what are the things you or someone you know who wasn’t born with the innate skills of being able to establish meaningful connections with others can do to improve your skills in this area? Here are some ideas I have for you.

  • The next time you are talking to someone, pay attention to whether you are really, and I mean really listening to them. Actively listening is a skill which needs to be fostered and practiced.
  • While you are listening to the person you are speaking with, make sure you are asking them thoughtful questions which are on point, and not disruptive to the conversation.
  • Don’t try to change the subject you are talking about. Let the person speaking control where the conversation is headed and captain it. Remember to play the role of a co-captain during the conversation and to be supportive of what they are saying.
  • Connecting well with others also involves determining points of common interest you share. By asking the right questions, you can establish at least one item you have in common. Use this as a thread in your conversation to build upon to help further develop the connection.
  • Test your connection strength. If the person you are engaging with is only providing short, one-word answers and not conversing with you, the connection you have is weak. To strengthen the connection during your conversation, start asking the person questions about themselves. I have shared this tip before, and it’s almost foolproof to help you elongate the conversation. This will give you an opportunity to keep an otherwise dead-end conversation going.
  • Your body language can work against you when you are trying to connect with them. One of the best ways to increase a positive connection is to mirror the body language of the person you are speaking with. However, if they have their arms folded across their body while speaking with you, make sure your arms are down by your sides. Crossed arms are a sign the person is not open to establishing a conversation or connection with you.
  • Think of someone you know who is a “pro” connector. Listen and watch them in action. There is a great deal to learn from them.

As I mentioned earlier, developing your connection skills will take time. The sooner you start to work on either developing or improving them, the sooner you will start to experience the benefits of being a strong connector. Remember, most amazing “connectors” are natural at this, but everyone can become better at this skill. Be patient with yourself as you are developing your “connector” muscles. They will emerge at some point after you have invested time in developing them.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of Wisdom Whisperer  and Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer (published in December 2019)and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

“NEW!” Guide for Teams:

Every team is dysfunctional at some point.  Click on the link below to obtain a “free guide” with (5) Proven Strategies To Turn Your Dysfunctional Team Into An Epic One

 

 

Connected socially, but not really

My father is the perfect example of someone who has enormously benefitted from mobile and social media connections. He was not someone you would classify as an early adopter of technology, but when he was reluctantly coaxed into purchasing his first mobile phone, it was a life changing experience for him.

Having three children and seven grandchildren, with his mobile phone, my father now had a new way to communicate with people that was far different from the standard way of speaking with people on the phone as he had done so for years. He still enjoys speaking on the phone, but his mobile phone has opened up a whole new way for him to communicate.

Texting appears to be his newest favorite form of communicating, and based on the number of emoji’s he has, I personally think he must send emoji ideas to designers, or has them created for him. He also loves sending all of us unique photos which tie into our interests and hobbies, and I am also amazed at how he does this so well.

Although mobile communications and social media are powerful connecting methods, they are also only one to two-dimensional in terms of being able to connect people. Connecting with people face to face is still the most powerful way of communicating with others. However, given the choice, it seems that more people will opt to engage with people via social media versus seeing them in person. Obviously, there are some people who we cannot easily see in person due to distance or other extenuating circumstances, and this is an upside to social media interactions.

Since engaging with social media has a relatively low barrier for easily being able to interact with people, I have seen that more people will defer to this type of engagement rather than making the effort to see people in person. What they may not realize, is that the social media interactions they have do not have the same level of genuineness and impact level that in person interactions have. In person interactions take planning and time, and given the fact people are so busy, they will generally defer to interacting via social media versus in person connections.

Fewer in person interactions and increased social media interactions are what in my opinion have contributed to people being less apt to have strong face to face conversations, as well as making them feel less connected to others. There is a serious disconnect that occurs when we exclusively communicate via social media, or have this method of interacting with others at such a high percentage rate which causes an imbalance for us socially.

Humans have a strong need and desire to socially engage with others, and our social media interactions cannot be a complete substitution for this. However, when you are out in public, look around and just about half or more of the people you see will be heads down, with their phone commanding their full attention. I have often wondered if due to this phenomenon and new reality, if it has contributed to our levels of anxiety and depression. This could also be despite the fact people think they are fully socially engaging with others, but in reality, they really are not.

In person communications takes both patience and practice, and engaging in social media does not necessarily contribute to helping to enhance these skills. So, if you feel as if your anxiety levels are on the increase, consider utilizing your social media communications to set-up face to face interactions with people. Doing this will make you feel much more connected, and will help to develop your actual and real relationship with the people you are engaging with either personally or professionally.

Start queuing up your in-person meetings with your on-line people right now. Once you do this, you will then start enjoying the benefits of truly leveraging the full power of your on-line world of connections, especially when you have them cross over into your real world. What are you waiting for? I’ll be waiting to hear from you.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.