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My own mentorship experience

They called him “Action Jackson.” And I found out why at our first meeting. This guy speaks faster, walks faster, and thinks faster than everyone around. He’s about 5 feet tall, and he stands out in the crowd. He speaks 5 languages, and finished his MBA and M. of Electrical Engineering at the same time! Don’t let his name fool you – this is a think-do-think kinda guy!

Action Jackson has been a colleague and coach, and now my mentor. Many years ago, we found ourselves working in the same toxic environment, where on several occasions he’s talked me off a few ‘ledges’ (figuratively speaking of course). The trust and respect I have for Jackson developed and grew stronger over the years. He has taught me how to use my head to stay calm during intense and confrontational moments, and how to use my heart to inspire innovation and creativity in my team when morale was low. He’s done this by focusing me on my strengths rather than let me be distracted by my weaknesses.

BI Mentorship Program on SCN

Recently, I spoke to a few SAP Mentors, who are focused on Business Intelligence and Analytics, to share their own mentorship experiences with me. I wanted to understand how they got to where they are now. Their stories were unique and inspirational, regardless of whether they were a mentor or a mentee.  The common thread through these stories was the benefit of personal growth – again, regardless of whether they were a mentor or a mentee. Interesting!

I also asked these SAP Mentors if they would be willing and able to take SCN members under their wings in a formal BI Mentorship program.  Their initial responses have been very positive.  Although I don’t take their time for granted, I never doubted their passion and willingness to help others.

Let’s be clear:

  • Although a few of our SAP Mentors have offered to help pilot the program, the ‘BI Mentorship Program’ is not the same as the SAP Mentor initiative.
  • The goal of such a BI Mentorship Program is for SCN mentees to learn more about BI and analytics from mentors.
  • In-scope: The starting scope of this program is BI and analytics topics, where the initial mentors are SAP Mentors.
  • Out-of-scope: Mentors are NOT product trainers, free consultants, or project managers.
  • Mentor-Mentee share ownership of relationship, but responsibility lies with the SCN mentee to be clear on expectations and to follow through on any commitments made to the mentor.
  • The process of matching mentors to SCN mentees will consider expectations, areas of expertise/desired expertise, geography and time zone, etc.

I would also like to add that mentor-mentee relationships under this BI Mentorship Program will last from 6 months to 12 months (of course, mentor-mentee may choose to carry on their relationship beyond this program) . At the end of this period, the SCN mentees should share the outcomes of what they’ve learned to the community. This isn’t the complete list of guidelines for such a BI Mentorship program, however, it is a start.

Community Poll

I suspect you’ll have lots of questions, like “Who are the BI mentors? How much time commitment is required of mentees? What if my mentor and I don’t jive?” I’ll address these questions and others before you need to make any commitments.

Before going any further, I’d like to hear from you.  Vote in the poll below, and let us know if you’re interested in having a BI mentor. (Poll closes March 15, 2011)

I know first-hand how an effective mentor has changed my life. What I have developed with my mentor, Jackson, is a very strong and trusting relationship. Our SAP Mentors know how important it is to build strong relationships within our community. As prospective mentees, I hope you do too.

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