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

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Hit Me with Your Best Shot….

We stood there in a circle, randomly throwing a rubber ball around.  Each time someone caught it, he had to say a word.  Not just any word.  Rather, one that would advance the story the group had been telling –- one word at a time — ever since starting our game of catch.

That’s no school playground scene I’m describing.  Rather, it’s an improv class for lawyers.

The Legal Team I was managing at the time had lawyers scattered on three continents, and we needed to ‘up our game.’  To that end, we all converged on Boston, and — rather than spending our time in that darling of Corporate America, a ‘leadership training course’ (it must be something about the Venn diagrams…) –- we went to a basement comedy club.  Continue reading