Whether it be in good times or bad, the value of a mentor who can guide you towards your professional development cannot be denied. Perhaps, in bad times, we need them more than at other times. Traditionally, the mentor was a senior colleague in the same organization who brought to bear his/her greater experience and expertise to help you figure out solutions to the problems you faced on the job. Kathy Kram and Monica Higgins write that the old method may not work any longer. Instead they advocate developing a network of advisors who can steer you during different phases of your career- where your needs for guidance are considerably different. In their words- almost your personal board of directors, as it were.
I read their article called “A New Approach to Mentoring” in the Wall Street Journal. I would recommend this approach to many who wish to take charge of their professional growth and development.
Dr. Kram is Professor of Organizational Behavior at Boston University’s School of Management. Dr. Higgins is an Associate Professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.