The Mentorist


‘Gimme Some Money’: How to Ask for a Raise

It’s happened to almost all of us – or will:  In casual conversation, you learn that your coworker is getting paid 15% more than you are for doing the same job.  You’re incensed and are about to march into your manager’s office to right this wrong.

Not so fast.

To increase your chances of getting the raise you ask for, follow these guidelines:

  1. Timing is everything

    If the company has just announced a layoff, or if its stock price plummeted yesterday, or [insert favorite catastrophe here], put off your compensation discussion until the waters calm a bit. Continue reading


Color Outside the Lines: Basic Training for Creative Thinking

Maybe it’s because I’m left-handed.

For whatever reason, I’m fascinated by the growing research focused on how people in ‘analytical’ or ‘logic-based’ professions can access the so-called ‘right-hand’ side of the brain.

Being called ‘right-brained’ has become code for being regarded as ‘creative’ — and, indeed, research has shown that certain regions of the brain’s right hemisphere are activated when creative thought is going on.  What I find exciting is that people — no matter how ‘left-brained’ they may feel — can train themselves to tap into these brain regions and develop their creativity.  Just like any other muscle.

So why is this important to someone who’s not interested in becoming an artist?  Because creativity isn’t limited to artistic ability.  Nor is it limited to inventing something that’s ‘Capital-N-New.’

Rather, creativity often is more like playing around with a set of Legos:  It involves finding a new pattern or ‘whole’ in the course of uncovering, choosing, reshuffling and combining already existing facts and ideas.

Seen from that perspective, who doesn’t need to develop his creativity? Continue reading


The ‘M’ Word: How to Find a Mentor

If you take just one thing away from this blog post, let it be this:  Never ask someone to become your mentor.

In fact, the last time I was asked that question, I responded, “Can’t we start with lunch, instead?”

What many people don’t realize is that a mentoring relationship can’t be forced.  It needs to be based on the chemistry between two people and to develop organically over time.

That’s one reason formal mentoring programs set up by companies and firms often fail.  They use arbitrary criteria to pair people up and then expect ‘just-add-water’ results.  It doesn’t work that way.

So, what’s the path to finding a mentor?  There isn’t a clear one.  But, here are some thoughts on positioning yourself so that a mentor will ‘happen’ to you: Continue reading