The Mentorist


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Can’t Take My Eyes Off You: Dressing for the Office

Had they called each other that morning to coordinate outfits?

I walked into the conference room and, for a moment, thought I’d caught the second act of Jersey Boys.  There stood our CEO, surrounded by members of the company’s executive team –- four of whom were wearing virtually the identical outfit as our leader.

I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about this if I’d walked into a meeting at my old law firm:  Pinstriped suits and rep ties were worn by everyone of the male persuasion.

But the dress code at my new company was decidedly ‘free range,’ allowing people to wear most anything that wasn’t nailed down.  (Oh, the dot.com days!) Continue reading


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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


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Dial ‘M’ for Mentor

Perhaps it’s the fallout from Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In — or the ‘I-want-it-and-I-want-it-now’ ethos created by one-click shopping.  Whatever the reason, more and more professional women seem to be on a frantic hunt, of late, for someone within their company’s hierarchy to serve as their mentor.

But here’s the thing: Designating that a particular person in your firm or company is going to become your mentor has about as much chance of succeeding as does getting married to the first person you meet on match.com. (Don’t ask how I know that.)

I’m focusing this blog post on professional women, because men are mentored all the time by senior men in their organizations — whether or not they’re willing to call it that.  They’re also ‘sponsored’ (a subject for another Mentorist post), but — in my view — ‘male mentoring’ is, at least, as important to their success. Continue reading