It’s no secret that my intense fandom of my Ohio State University Alma Mater is here to stay, so when I had the opportunity to give a speech to a group of students this week, I jumped at the chance. These talks are always personally fulfilling to me because I get the chance to step out of my corporate role and share my personal business story, my strategy for overcoming obstacles, and my business perspective with future business and technology leaders.
My leadership team at Veeam loves to quantify everything we do. Everything, from product development to operational structure and events, has a purpose and a clear, measurable, and direct return on investment. Although my team participates in and strongly supports these activities, I wasn’t surprised when the question was posed to me one day, “what is the benefit of investing the time and resources to participate in these types of direct mentorship activities other than just personal satisfaction?” While it is true that I get an immeasurable satisfaction from these thought leadership activities, there is a clear ROI for including it in any business. In the interest of encouraging others to do the same, I wanted to clearly frame three benefits other than the feel-good factor.
- Informational insights: Most thought leadership opportunities present an opportunity for a clear two-way dialog. When engaging with the audience, I get an outside view of their expectation or vision of the world outside my own business or industry. What are their perceived barriers? Whether the audience is college students, fellow entrepreneurs or my executive-level peers, having direct access to this information can positively shape the decisions and directions of future projects within my own organization.
- Recruitment: Our explosive growth rate precipitates our need to continuously recruit the best and the brightest to join our company. Mentorship gives me the positioning to build, not just brand awareness, but a strong and passionate interest in exploring the employment opportunities available at our company. We mentor, support, and encourage business and leadership development skills and can directly encourage young talent to come join our team as we expand and grow. Even if a career path takes someone elsewhere, he or she will still be familiar with our underlying corporate values, take that positive perception with them to other places and, ultimately, become an advocate for engaging with Veeam.
- Strengthen community: Veeam is a global organization, but our employees live within the many communities in which we operate. The more support, mentorship, and business opportunities we promote within those communities, the better our internal resources that will ultimately strengthens us as a company. I traveled to almost every continent this past year meeting with employees, customers, and partners. In addition to the occasional jet-lag, I gained a clear understanding of how specific community needs differ across the globe. This gave me a perspective on how we can successfully customize activities, mentorship programs and messaging so that it can be as effective as possible. A strong community equates to a thriving business.
We don’t live in a vacuum. How you choose to contribute your knowledge and experience can change the lives of other people in many ways. I vividly remember the people who supported and encouraged me during my career. Whether you mentor one-on-one or as a group, I encourage business mentorship. The business rewards are great, but I won’t deny that the feel-good factor is certainly a powerful direct result. There is nothing better.
So, what is your mentorship investment going to be?