Upgrade to Pro — share decks privately, control downloads, hide ads and more …

Strategic Mentoring White Paper

Strategic Mentoring White Paper

You might have thought that mentoring was just one of those HR trendy tools to attract and retain talents and to remotivate senior managers in your firm.
Well, think again.

This white paper as been designed to give you an opportunity to reconsider what you may know, or imagine, about mentoring. Mentoring is not a new practice.

It has spread in large corporations and multinational companies from country to country for the past few decades, and has become one way for HR executives
to stimulate cross-generation relationships in order to maintain the company’s knowledge, expertise, culture and competences. Lately, I believe that it has been essentially translated in “How do we deal with millennials ?”.

Even more recently, this practice has spread to intrapreneurship (“How do we not get disrupted today, by what was a 3-people startup last week?”) and to gender equality (“How do we help women change our dying business culture?”).

Innovation Copilots
PRO

April 10, 2023
Tweet

More Decks by Innovation Copilots

Other Decks in Business

Transcript

  1. Strategic
    Mentoring
    How to Build the Fabled
    Connected Company
    & Engage Ever-changing
    Markets

    View Slide

  2. 2
    | 2020
    The Author
    Stéphanie MITRANO, PhD
    As a culture copilot, Stéphanie helps foresee and
    deploy strategically the culture transformation of large
    multinationals as well as startups. She has coached
    entrepreneurs and senior executives of multinationals
    such as BP, Virgin Atlantic and Accenture in London
    for over 10 years. Since 2007, she has designed,
    engineered, and supported numerous high potential,
    women leadership, inter-generational, entrepreneurial
    and intrapreneurial mentoring programmes for large
    multinationals and organisations such as Worldline,
    Gemalto/Thalès, Pôle emploi, Kiloutou, Groupe Caisse
    d’Epargne, SAP Brazil, CEA and Kempinski hotels.
    Stéphanie holds one of the few Management Sciences
    PhD on “Mentoring Entrepreneurs” in Europe.

    View Slide

  3. 3
    | 2020
    Foreword
    You might have thought that mentoring was just
    one of those HR trendy tools to attract and retain talents
    and to remotivate senior managers in your firm.
    Well, think again.
    This white paper as been designed to give you an
    opportunity to reconsider what you may know, or imagine,
    about mentoring. Mentoring is not a new practice.
    It has spread in large corporations and multinational
    companies from country to country for the past few
    decades, and has become one way for HR executives
    to stimulate cross-generation relationships in order
    to maintain the company’s knowledge, expertise, culture
    and competences.
    Lately, I believe that it has been essentially translated
    in “How do we deal with millennials ?”.
    Even more recently, this practice has spread to
    intrapreneurship (“How do we not get disrupted today,
    by what was a 3-people startup last week?”) and to gender
    equality (“How do we help women change our dying
    business culture?”).
    Although I am very happy that this practice is spreading
    for it carries strong values of solidarity and sharing,
    in most cases it results in a “nice-to-have” communication
    / PR tool.
    As far as we are concerned, we believe that if you spend
    resources to establish a mentoring programme in your
    company, it would only be fair that you get money back
    on your investment.
    To do so, probably requires that you learn something
    about what mentoring really is.
    This white paper is about just that.
    In it, we will discuss and try to illustrate how corporations
    can find a balance between their formal structure source
    of efficiency and their informal networks source of agility,
    and why mentor / mentee networks are such powerful
    cultural game changers.
    It all starts on the next page.

    View Slide

  4. 4
    | 2020
    •01
    Mentoring
    is Strategy
    It all started relatively slowly in the 70s,
    bloomed in the 90s, then again at the start
    of the new millennium, and appears to be
    again the new thing to do. Every 15 to 20
    years, we are confronted with the need to
    renew a generation of employees all across
    a company organisational chart, adapting
    more or less painfully to a mutated
    generation identified by a single letter:
    X, Y, and now Z.
    Since then, formal mentoring programmes
    in large firms, have been seen as one
    of the HR’s best practice tools.
    Mentoring is an “off-line help
    by one person to another in making
    significant transitions in knowledge,
    work or thinking” (David Clutterbuck,
    1999). It is a medium to long term
    voluntary relationship between an
    experienced person (mentor) and
    someone less experienced (mentee)
    who is willing to benefit from it.

    View Slide

  5. 5
    | 2020
    •01
    Mentoring is Strategy
    As a reach-out program, socialising new
    arrivals in a company’s culture by creating
    a personal bond with a senior employee,
    is quite an obvious and smart thing to do.
    And, once started such programmes also
    lead to nice, prolonged pay-offs, like
    helping mentees in their career
    development, or helping the company
    retain talents (depending on your
    perspective).
    Now let’s be clear, this is all nice and
    interesting, but this is not a key matter.
    If your company deters high potentials
    and bleeds talents, it’s probably not
    because your HR are sub-optimal in
    fast-tracking high potentials, or that your
    juniors’
    on-boarding programme is not fun enough.
    Most of the time, it’s because your
    company is clueless about how the market
    is evolving. And it shows.
    Of course, wherever you are on the planet,
    the local on-going economic crisis is not
    helping, the digitalisation of your
    ecosystem (or lack off) leaves you open
    to aggressive new entrants that do not
    seem to even speak your language, and
    even the simple notion of being an
    employee seems utterly outdated with new
    recruits aiming at being “intrapreneurs”.
    The Innovator’s dilemma principle
    explains that successful companies
    put too much emphasis on the
    current market needs that make
    them a success. They try to
    reinforce the current “magic recipe”
    as best as possible, build a culture
    around it, and eventually get blind
    sided on new opportunities that
    will meet their customers’ unstated
    or future needs. Christensen calls
    the anticipation of future needs
    “disruptive innovation”.
    If your company deters
    high potentials and bleeds
    talents {...} it’s because
    your company is clueless
    about how the market
    is evolving. And it shows.
    Whether you are in B2B or B2C, what
    you should perceive by now is that what
    disconnects you from your market is
    essentially a cultural gap. At this point,
    you may want to re-read Clayton
    Christensen’s Innovator’s Dilemma.
    If you now want to go back at the
    ontogenic promise of a mentoring
    programme, you’ll realise its true potential.
    Because it is built to bridge individuals with
    different cultures together inside the same
    business. It is designed to be an active
    strategic tool helping your company move
    forward through the ongoing market
    disruptions.
    In this white paper, we’ll help you
    understand how to design a mentoring
    programme that sustains your business
    strategy, and then eventually how
    to cascade it with an HR perspective.
    Now that we better understand the role
    and versatility of mentoring programmes,
    let’s identify the key dimensions that you
    can leverage to serve your strategy.

    View Slide

  6. 6
    | 2020
    Think of these dimensions as building blocks, that will help you connect your
    business to the HR perspective, and foster positive change throughout the
    company:
    Key
    Dimension
    Business Strategy HR Management
    Organisation Mentee Mentor
    1. HORIZON
    Spreading strategic and long term
    vision throughout the company.
    Recalibrating priorities
    in an extended timeframe.
    Gaining perspective beyond
    own objectives and towards global
    succession planning.
    2. SPEED
    Accelerating adaptations to the market,
    solving problems quicker and
    propagating best practices.
    Accelerating complex
    learning often developed
    through trial and error.
    Regenerating knowledge and
    learning new uses, perspectives
    and technologies.
    3. HEIGHT
    Opening of perspectives allowing
    for more creativity, innovation,
    and benefits from diversity.
    Taking a step back to gain
    a wider perspective on
    career, problems and
    business opportunities.
    Opening to new issues faced by
    new generation in management,
    business and industry whilst
    capitalising on and transferring
    best practices.
    4. SPACE
    Fostering knowledge and best practice
    sourcing, as well as solidarity and more
    widespread support.
    Engaging more resources
    with extended formal,
    or informal networks.
    Being recognised in own network
    and facilitating informal
    relationships within and outside
    the company.
    5. RESILIENCE
    Trusting and supporting relationships
    acting as a safety net during troubled
    times.
    Limiting dispersion and
    favouring emotional and
    psychological stability.
    Feeling like a valuable contributor
    to the sustainability of the
    company.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    •01
    Mentoring is Strategy

    View Slide

  7. 7
    | 2020
    •02
    Mentoring
    at Work
    Understanding that the organisation can
    benefit from mentoring is one thing but
    actually seeing the connection between
    the tool and the outcome can be trickier.
    So let me make it clearer by illustrating
    three typical strategic turnaround using
    the five key dimensions of mentoring.
    The three examples we’re going to
    present are pretty much standard for
    any corporation: fostering women parity,
    rekindling creativity and innovation,
    or facilitating international growth.
    Another strategic scenario that we could
    have addressed is quite the elephant
    in the room: enabling your digital
    transformation.
    We’re not going there.
    Not because you couldn’t put mentoring
    to work on this one (quite the contrary),
    but because there is no typical case in
    regard to digital transformation.
    Each business is really in a very specific
    position, not only because of their
    internal affinity with digital, but also
    because of the affinity of their market,
    the relative ease of monetising digital
    in their ecosystem, and the pressure of
    competition. This is really a case by case
    approach; or it would deserve its own
    complete white paper.
    oui !
    yes !

    View Slide

  8. 8
    | 2020
    •02
    Mentoring at Work
    2.1 •
    Fostering
    Women Parity
    With many changes in regulations and
    society, companies are waking up and
    starting to implement all sorts of initiatives,
    networks and programmes to support
    women’s careers.
    The questions that arise are numerous.
    Is it just to follow legal obligation or are
    they really aware of the need and willing
    to have more women in top executive
    positions? Do they want to work on their
    image as employer or is there a real
    understanding of the culture changes that
    may need to happen in their organisation?
    In various industries, the issue of women
    is not the same. The history and culture
    of the company have an impact on women’s
    careers. Many variables may be considered
    to understand how women’s careers, equity
    and diversity are connected to strategy.
    So before jumping into the “let’s have
    a women’s network with a mentoring
    programme” discussion, we need to
    understand the issue.
    Is it about women’s assertiveness? Dated
    management practices? Rigidity of the
    corporate structure? Sheer lack of women
    in the sector?
    If the top management wants to achieve
    results with women, we’re usually facing
    three short-term objectives:
    1. Get more women at the top to enrich
    strategic perspectives and competencies,
    without building the kind of positive career
    discrimination that will antagonise male
    managers;
    2. Build trust with the actual high number
    of talented women for these positions in
    your company or in your industry, that up
    to now were not used to reaching the top
    of the career ladder, and still don’t want
    to play politics;
    3. Ease senior employees in adapting from
    prevalent masculine style of management,
    to a more balanced one.

    View Slide

  9. 9
    | 2020
    For the mentoring programme, this could be translated as:
    Key Dimension
    Business Strategy HR Management
    Organization Mentee Mentor
    1. HORIZON
    Spreading strategic and long term vision
    throughout the company.
    Get more women
    at the top
    Shadowing sessions:
    “One Day in the Life
    of a Senior Exec”.
    Internal female mentors
    as role models sharing
    about company politics.
    2. SPEED
    Accelerating adaptations to the market, solving
    problems quicker and propagating best practices.
    Workshops and training on
    assertiveness, business and
    other “Being Board-Ready”
    skills.
    External female mentors
    as role models sharing
    about posture and skills.
    3. HEIGHT
    Opening of perspectives allowing for more
    creativity, innovation, and benefits from diversity.
    Ease senior
    employees
    Increasing visibility
    with events presenting
    mentees’ transversal
    projects, added-value,
    contribution or realisations.
    Senior Executives and
    mentors involving women
    mentees in cross-business
    units projects.
    4. SPACE
    Fostering knowledge and best practice sourcing,
    as well as solidarity and more widespread support.
    Build trust
    Energising mentee
    community, with monthly
    networking with VIPs
    and sharing experience
    objectives.
    Male mentors
    sponsoring women
    internally.
    5. RESILIENCE
    Trusting and supporting relationships acting
    as a safety net during troubled times.
    Peer mentoring, and
    reference point with
    coordination team.
    Engaging mentors (men
    and women) with strong
    relational skills.
    >
    >
    > >
    >
    >
    Again, this is only an example. Nonetheless it should help you better understand the difference between a “nice to have HR people stuff”
    tool, and one that can truly support your strategy.
    •02
    Mentoring at Work

    View Slide

  10. 10
    | 2020
    2.2 •
    Rekindling
    Innovation &
    Intrapreneurship
    Avoiding being “uberised”, innovating like
    start-ups in large rigid structures, helping
    employees regain creativity, exploring new
    business models… are the issues we see
    our clients confronted by everyday.
    To foster innovation in large corporations,
    several keys and “difficult to get”
    ingredients need to be gathered: creativity,
    market awareness and risk mindset whilst
    being reassuring to existing customers with
    a solid efficient structure.
    Getting this combination of ingredients
    not only requires being great at what you
    are doing but also having employees with
    the capacity to adapt their thinking and
    mindset in line with society. With the
    evolution of demographics, people’s needs
    and technologies, corporations need to
    embrace hybridisation and be willing to
    open to new markets, to be aware
    of unexpected competitors and realise that
    what was true decades ago about markets
    is no longer valid.
    It is the confrontation to the outside --
    often unrelated -- world, that can stimulate
    the ideation process. Innovation emerges
    out of confrontation with the unexpected.
    This is why so many creativity techniques
    are based upon divergence and shifted
    perspectives.
    Innovation emerges
    out of confrontation
    with the unexpected.
    To generate this necessary open-
    mindedness, a solid mentoring programme
    will usually rely on two key tools linked to
    the dimensions 3. HEIGHT and 4. SPACE:

    A closed internal network for mentees
    in key strategic activities, with mentors
    at key positions in different parts of the
    organisational chart (linking manufacturing
    and marketing for example);

    An open external network with
    successful entrepreneurs as mentors,
    preferably not in the same market of the
    company.
    •02
    Mentoring at Work

    View Slide

  11. 11
    | 2020
    And within these two networks of mentors,
    the cultural mix will have to be adjusted
    with great care. Consider in that regard,
    the dimension 2. HORIZON of the
    programme, and make sure that depending
    on your industry, market need and current
    culture, you create an adequate mix of:

    Generations: allowing mentors to learn
    about new generations’ issues, new trends
    in usage and technologies and mentees
    to learn about organisational culture
    and best practices;

    Cultures: be it geographical, ethnic
    or organisational;
    • Activities: cross-departments, cross-
    functions, and cross-markets.
    You need to realise that by nature
    innovation will appear in unexpected ways,
    which is the point of building such cultural
    mixes. Recently, examples of surprising
    pay-offs that we had while setting up
    mentoring programmes were:
    1.
    Cross-corporations mentoring with
    mentees from an IT company developing
    mobile software for customers in
    payment systems, that stimulated
    mentors in the automotive industry
    to prototype new dashboard apps.
    2.
    Mentoring between the extremities
    of a medical value chain, that generated
    direct benefits for the patient by
    enhancing up-the-chain employees’
    understanding of surgeons’ needs and
    behaviours, and widening down-the-chain
    employees’ perspectives on potential
    product externalities while used in an
    operation room.
    3.
    Mentoring between similar activities
    in different countries for a retail
    multinational, that allowed for more
    inspiration and insights into future
    businesses in Europe, based on recent
    Japan trends in mobile social networks.
    4.
    Intrapreneurs from a corporation in
    defence systems, paired up as mentees
    with experienced entrepreneurs,
    developing several new prototypes
    in three months, down from one year.
    With mentors and mentees gaining
    confidence in playing with new ideas,
    exchanging with less formality and more
    diversity, you’ll alleviate the constant
    pressure of managers to justify everything
    as a sound business decision.
    And that’s good: if you can fully back up
    every idea with a business plan, they’re
    not going to be very disruptive, and you’ve
    been thinking about them for probably
    too long.
    Rapidly, you’ll also see that you are
    building on 1. SPEED and 5. RESILIENCE
    at corporate level.
    This last example on intrapreneurship is
    by the way, a much more secure approach
    to the fabled “new businesses incubator”
    initiative that has popped in many
    multinationals these last years. Instead
    of trying to pool new ideas from your
    employees through internal contests,
    selecting half-a-dozen a year, and trying
    to nurture them in a special room with
    post-its, bean bags and 3D printers… build
    a mentoring network, it works wonders.
    {...} if you can fully
    back up every idea with
    a business plan,
    they’re not going to
    be very disruptive {...}
    •02
    Mentoring at Work

    View Slide

  12. 12
    | 2020
    2.3 •
    Accelerating
    international
    growth
    With the globalisation of markets, it has
    become essential for organisations to
    internationalise, to adapt business models
    to different cultures and to identify
    opportunities beyond their usual territories,
    beyond their comfort zone.
    The key issue for most would-be
    international businesses is their lack
    of insights on cultural subtleties. Their
    approach is pretty much straightforward
    on a first run: “We proved it worked in
    Germany, let’s take it to UK, … or Taiwan”.
    On a second run, they usually over-
    compensate and try way too hard to project
    their business model in the new culture:
    “If we have to sell the product in China,
    let’s do what Apple is doing… plate it with
    gold”.
    Going global calls for a deep understanding
    of cultures which cannot be learnt in books,
    or deviated from market studies.
    Many western corporations that try to get
    a foot in any consumer market in Asia,
    are for instance quickly stone-walled by
    their low context culture in a high-context
    culture. And if you don’t know what it
    means, reading Edward T. Hall on the
    subject will help, but won’t give concrete
    solutions.
    Solutions to international
    expansion, always start
    with cultural embedding.
    •02
    Mentoring at Work
    Guten
    tag

    Salam
    aleikoum
    ؋
    Nihao
    $
    Hello

    View Slide

  13. 13
    | 2020
    Solutions to international expansion,
    always start with cultural embedding.
    Granted that there is a huge difference
    between a national company that wants
    to create a subsidiary abroad, and a
    sprawling multinational that wants to
    rebuild a “glocal” culture, however the key
    is identical. It is direct contact and
    inter-cultural exchanges that can truly help
    people develop not only knowledge, but
    integrated understanding of foreign
    markets.
    Other things being equal, a strategic
    internationalisation will very often be
    efficiently sparked by a strategic cross-
    cultural mentoring programme.
    Obviously here, the key dimension at play
    is 3. HEIGHT, to be able to build up new
    perspective from above your usual business
    logic. But, at play there is also 2. SPEED to
    make sure that the organisation doesn’t lag
    in its adaptation to changing realities from
    geographical zone A to B. In that regard,
    the HR management cross-cultural
    mentorship is not highly complex.
    It is highly specific.
    Let’s see how it would support key
    moments of an internationalisation project:
    One year before launch…
    A specialised consulting team maps local
    market drivers and strategic opportunities.
    HR study the various employment laws,
    local employees’ expectations and needs.
    Legal and Finance work on currency
    hedging, local contracts jurisprudence, etc.
    Local managers from other
    (non-competing) companies start
    to mentor key executives.
    Eight months before launch…
    Local offices are scouted and rented. A mix
    of marketing, and R&D people get
    embedded in the new local market to
    prototype new offers in one-week
    hackathons. Newly hired local sales people
    get training in the corporation business
    processes.
    A group of junior local talents
    is recruited in sales and marketing,
    and as mentors to every team manager
    involved in the international project.
    Three months before launch…
    Production and communication are at full
    activity for the new market. First early
    adopters are targeted and get previews
    of the product. An internal extension
    to the customer relationship management
    system is used to compile local best
    practices in the new market (how to treat
    customers’ concerns, negotiating prices
    in a different culture, how to speak
    of the brand that is yet to be known, etc).
    The CRM system is also used as an
    internal social network connecting
    sales people to mentors that have been
    active around the project for months,
    and that provide guidance and specific
    recommendations on top of the
    documented best practices.
    •02
    Mentoring at Work

    View Slide

  14. 14
    | 2020
    Sixth months after launch…
    Errors have been made and corrected,
    production, sales and supply chain are up
    and running. Local suppliers have been
    selected and start to deliver. HR start to
    scale up local recruitments for next year’s
    campaign.
    As an on-boarding process, new local
    recruits are immediately paired to a
    senior mentor in their business unit,
    to adapt to the group’s business
    culture, and to accelerate their business
    readiness. But also, headquarter’s
    managers in supply-chain and
    purchasing, are mixed with local
    equivalents from key suppliers
    in a mentoring programme focused on
    quality.
    This story is adapted from one of our
    customers’ international deployment.
    Don’t consider it as a best practice per se.
    It only demonstrates in a specific way how
    mentoring facilitates, compliments and
    strengthens a given internationalisation
    strategy. But mainly, it emphasises how
    to avoid an “us” versus “them” atmosphere,
    where the company would play defence,
    close on itself, and try to format new
    talents to the exact headquarters’ way
    of working and thinking.
    Cross-cultural mentoring brings ways
    to learn from foreign markets, that will
    propagate throughout the whole
    organisation.
    Mentoring being a medium to long term
    relationship, encourages exchanges at
    human level including gaining a deeper
    understanding of someone’s culture and
    accelerating the cross cultural learning,
    far more than a book or a training.
    A mentor can share knowledge about legal
    system and its workings, subtleties of
    language, business codes as well as the
    subtleties of human interactions in various
    contexts, behaviours to avoid and all these
    related to real-life experience.
    Cross-cultural mentoring
    brings ways to learn from
    foreign markets, that will
    propagate throughout the
    whole organisation.

    View Slide

  15. 15
    | 2020
    •03
    Designing
    a Programme
    To design and deploy a mentoring
    programme that will positively spread
    throughout your organisation, and deliver
    strategic alignment, you should be guided
    by three key principles.
    To make it as simple as possible, consider
    these principles as a baking recipe:

    View Slide

  16. 16
    | 2020
    3.1. Open
    the recipe book
    The first step is about designing your
    programme around a clear strategic
    alignment.
    As we have seen in previous sections,
    there is no “one-size-fits-all” mentoring
    programme. So to make it work, you need
    first to be clear on your strategy and how
    mentoring can support it. The design of the
    programme needs to reflect the strategy:
    so if you want to stimulate innovation
    internally you may choose a cross-BUs
    programme or external mentors to support
    an existing intrapreneurship programme.
    We have observed many programmes that
    just paired up mentors and mentees in the
    organisation without thinking about the
    reasons why and the coherence with the
    company strategy. These programmes can
    have some benefits for employees as
    mentoring is an interesting and stimulating
    relationship, but the overall impact for the
    company is marginal.
    Also, employees need to be clear on why
    they engage in a mentoring programme.
    So giving and sharing meaning is key, as you
    want to attract motivated participants
    on a free and voluntary basis. The outcome
    of mentoring resides on the quality of the
    relationships, the mentors and mentees’
    engagement in a medium to long term
    relationship, their willingness to benefit
    from it and invest these benefits back into
    the organisation.
    When the mission of the mentoring
    programme is not clear or the coherence
    between mentoring and strategy is not well
    explained, the cake falls apart very quickly.
    A lack of engagement of the top
    management will lead to skepticism and
    mistrust, the programme will be built on
    low engagement, a reduced pool of
    mentors, and eventually unwilling mentees.
    To avoid this systematic pitfall, your
    “cooking” check-list is as follows.
    Opening the recipe book to make
    mentoring work means:

    Design the programme’s values and scope
    with a direct link to the specific strategy
    that has to be sustained, and formulate
    a synthetic business plan around the
    programme with quarterly key objectives
    on your company’s business;

    Identify the operational elements: size of
    target population (to start with), matching
    process, duration of programme, support
    team, training, guidelines and tools,
    communities management, etc;

    Formally engage key people from senior
    management, Executive Committee (and
    Human Resources) to sponsor the
    programme;

    Communicate openly at all levels on how
    mentoring supports the current strategy;

    Create an internal platform for reference,
    FAQs, storytelling and testimonies, and
    update it relentlessly (at least on a weekly
    basis).
    {...} design the
    programme’s values and
    scope with a direct link to
    the specific strategy that
    has to be sustained {...}
    •03
    Designing a Programme

    View Slide

  17. 17
    | 2020
    These steps are a very fair acid test for your
    programme.
    If they seem overly ambitious and
    disproportionate for a mentoring
    programme, it’s probably that you are not
    fully committed to have a real impact on
    your company’s future, or that your top
    management isn’t.
    3.2. Mix People
    After its preparation, the core part
    of the programme has to be delivered.
    In our experience, the success of a
    mentoring relationship is essentially about
    the interpersonal fit, not the technical skills,
    or extent of the past experience of the
    participants (which you shouldn’t discard
    for obvious reasons).
    Whatever your constraints are at this step
    in terms of budget, geographical situation,
    or even language barrier if you are a
    multinational company, creating conditions
    so people can find a match easily is key.
    The ways to enable the matching of
    mentors with mentees are numerous
    and have to be chosen in line with overall
    strategy and culture of the organisation.
    We’ll further explore this step in the next
    chapter.
    Let’s say for now, that there are two
    practical options:

    Mentoring pairs can be manually matched
    by a coordination team according to their
    profiles and needs, or even automatically
    matched by an algorithm giving a
    percentage of fit;

    They also can be autonomous in the
    pairing based on online profiles and
    networking events.
    Most programme managers usually start
    with the former option, if only to explain
    to their hierarchy that there is a method
    at work. But actually, when they try both
    options, they are surprised, that just giving
    people opportunities to find and discover
    each other within a very diverse pool
    of participants works just fine.
    Whatever the way people find each other,
    what is important is that they have some
    level of choice, the possibility to change
    partner or have several mentors or
    mentees, that they discover other areas
    of the business, that they feel comfortable
    enough to open up and share, that they
    do not feel pressured by the organisation,
    so that the relationship can grow at its
    own pace and in its own way. The aim is to
    cultivate solid and enjoyable relationships
    that will create an informal network
    overlapping and strengthening
    the organisational structure.
    The success of a mentoring
    relationship is essentially
    about the interpersonal fit,
    not the technical skills,
    or extent of the past
    experience of the
    participants.
    •03
    Designing a Programme

    View Slide

  18. 18
    | 2020
    3.3. Bake Communities
    To transition a strategic plan to an
    imbedded informal network culture, time
    and nurturing are required. Aside from a
    raised level of satisfaction for participants,
    there is no quick win for the organisation.
    Now, of course there’s no reason not to
    enjoy employee’s satisfaction; many
    companies have critical struggles on this
    part alone.
    Still, if you keep in mind that the real prize
    is in the medium to long-run, you have
    to be prepared.
    The best programmes start with a
    coordination team who will act as reference
    point, set the rules, engage participants,
    implement internal communication,
    coordinate activities with experts, detect
    dysfunctions, feedback to the organisation,
    and energise the whole initiative over time.
    Mentoring experts can support the
    programme in the design, train mentors,
    mentees and coordination teams, share
    tools, experience and best practices,
    support mentors in their new posture,
    stimulate mentees to fully benefit from
    the relationship and help the team to
    evaluate and improve the programme.
    Even with the shortest programmes
    spanning over 6 to 8 months (dealing with
    a small-scale spin-off or acquisition for
    example) it is essential to re-energise
    relationships once in a while.
    The best programmes
    start with a coordination
    team {...}
    A good cocktail of tools to support your
    programme could be:

    A mentors’ club, so they can share their
    best practices, support each other in their
    new posture, and be reminded of the
    rules, do’s and dont’s (this is actually
    critical if mentors are not from your
    company);

    A simple but fully active corporate social
    platform to share experience, testimonies,
    questions and tools;

    Mentoring events to network, gather
    communities around specific themes
    (connected to mentoring or not), to
    refocus their practice, and learn new tools.
    As we said, building a community that will
    transform your culture from within takes
    time.
    But it doesn’t require five or ten years.
    Starting with a pilot programme and then
    deploying the practice throughout the
    whole organisation is not only perfectly
    viable, but usually the best way to build
    trust and engage your board in a two to
    three years plan.
    Reaching a first critical mass may happen
    in several steps, starting with a few
    business teams, in one or two business
    units, and then growing to many more…
    It can be achieved by geographical zones;
    or virally with no structural restrictions but
    with organically increasing willingness of
    employees. The greater the scale, the less
    formal the programme will be and the more
    it will tend to be another normal practice
    within the organisation.
    As with all strategic changes in a company,
    managing to achieve short-term results as
    fast as possible produces a very important
    positive spin. So a pilot programme can
    allow the teams to ease themselves in this
    change, see its potential, and sustain the
    deployment of the practice in the long run.
    It is the start of a mentoring culture.
    {...} managing to achieve
    short-term results as fast
    as possible produces a very
    important positive spin.
    •03
    Designing a Programme

    View Slide

  19. 19
    | 2020
    •04
    The Art
    of the Start
    To kick-start a cultural change, we usually
    aim at involving about 30% of the
    organisation in one or two years of time.
    As we already suggested, to obtain such
    critical mass, it’s very efficient to start with
    a pilot programme in order to bring some
    people in the practice, to see the first
    results, to adjust the formula if needs be;
    and then, to more formally ramp up the
    project.
    So whatever your strategic goal is,
    and the way you will formulate your
    mentoring programme, the art of the start
    is critical. And, it may seem intimidating,
    but actually you will pretty much end up
    with only 3 starting scenarios.
    We call them “The Ancient Pyramid”,
    “The Silo Factory”, and “The Techno
    Network”.

    View Slide

  20. 20
    | 2020
    Depending on which one is closer to your
    company case (and keep in mind that you
    may be in a mixed situation), here are the
    ways to start it all:
    4.1.
    The Ancient
    Pyramid
    This scenario is the case of the large
    patriarchal structure that was a great
    success ten to fifteen years ago and is now
    stuck in rigid management and processes:

    The organisational chart is vast, extremely
    rigid, and above a certain level of seniority
    women are nowhere to be seen;

    Political games are paramount, and
    short-cutting your N+1 is at the same time
    extremely frowned upon and an open
    sport;

    People know that they are a cog in a huge
    machine and don’t see, or believe, that
    they have any impact on anything;

    Everyone is talking about innovation
    and intrapreneurship in meetings, many
    consultants are hired every year on these
    topics… and then everyone goes back to
    business as usual.
    Such a company is the poster child of the
    innovator’s dilemma: everything is frozen in
    the hope of maintaining a long past success.
    People don’t even think anymore, they just
    try to reproduce how things were done in
    the crazy hope that it will work again.
    What we learned is that at the end of
    the day, if the mentoring programme is
    not knowingly bought by the CEO, and
    the executive committee as a strategic
    action, you will fail. Of course, some senior
    managers will get on board no matter what,
    but quite rapidly the programme will
    be sabotaged by political game plays.
    If the CEO and the board green light
    the programme for what it is, they will be
    demanding proofs of efficiency, but they
    will also accept the need for a systemic
    change. This is OK. This is where you need
    to start.
    Launching the programme, will then require
    to immediately target a transversal side
    of the pyramid with at least 3 hierarchical
    levels. Your immediate goal
    is to mix different levels of the pyramid,
    as well as various functions, and introduce
    external perspectives in, as quickly and
    deeply as possible.
    Demonstrate that you can open the
    perspectives, let go of old models without
    killing the core business, and you win. Even
    if it is a symbolic victory, without direct
    consequence on the bottom line of the
    company (yet).
    More than in any mentoring programme,
    the choice of mentors will be critical.
    And actually, the optional, but also very
    best practice, would be to open the
    programme to external mentors. This may
    seem impossible in such setup, but you’d be
    surprised on how easy it actually is!
    •04
    The art of the Start

    View Slide

  21. 21
    | 2020
    4.2. The Silo Factory
    If your corporate world doesn’t look like
    a pyramid, the second most encountered
    option looks like a collection of business
    units connected together by matrix charts.
    Such companies are usually younger than
    “Pyramids”, but they have seen many CEOs
    coming and going every 3-5 years several
    times over. Each management round
    bringing different strategic intents and
    visions, and adding them together layer
    by layer.
    “Silos” corporations are also typically born,
    or grown, out of external accumulation
    of subsidiaries via mergers and acquisitions.
    When “Pyramids” are dying from a culture
    that is obsolete and that they try to
    maintain no matter what, “Silos” are dying
    by lack of any shared culture. The only
    culture that exists is within each department
    or subsidiary. Each one of them tries to
    achieve as much autonomy as possible
    within their perimeter; insulating
    themselves from the changes that
    periodically strike the whole corporation.
    Starting a mentoring programme in that
    case should also start with the CEO or the
    board’s full sponsorship. But it’s optional.
    Since the CEO is probably on its way to
    another company in less than 18 months,
    launching the programme by on-boarding
    two high profile VPs reigning on different
    activities can be much more efficient.
    In that case, you should try to be
    opportunistic and leverage a roadblock
    faced by two such departments lacking
    internal coherence, preventing their
    accelerated growth. Good VPs are by
    nature very political; excellent VPs know
    when they need to relinquish some power
    and work together.
    Find them, talk to them at the same time
    with very open goals, and explain how you
    can contribute to rebuilding synergy in the
    internal value chain by implementing a
    cross-department mentoring programme.
    Mentees will gain a wider knowledge of the
    organisation which can encourage mobility,
    and mentors will network with their peers
    in other businesses. The informal
    communities created will benefit the
    business by breaking down the silos and
    encouraging transversal communication.
    In this scenario, achieve a small success with
    two such key business units, and you will
    rapidly spread the programme to the whole
    company.
    •04
    The art of the Start

    View Slide

  22. 22
    | 2020
    4.3. The Techno
    Network
    The last archetypal case we are usually
    helping out achieve cultural change is a
    much younger and nimble company with
    solid technological assets that helped them
    achieve explosive growth within the last
    10 years, or so:

    The organisational chart is rather flat,
    mutual history and informal connections
    within the company are key;

    Political games are low, leaders work easily
    together, but alliances are temporary and
    essentially based on short-term objectives;

    People are well aware of their value
    and aim at negotiating their skills at every
    opportunity, within or outside of the
    company;

    Everyone is talking about innovation,
    but the focus is on inventing technologies,
    not really bringing transformative
    products to the market.
    For such technology-oriented organisations,
    distance working, mobility, and digital
    connections of employees are mainstream.
    The trade-off is that such a techno-sphere
    lacks human contact, becomes disconnected
    from its employees, customers and the
    markets.
    As for Nokia, their downfall can be a matter
    of only a few years, still maintaining top
    technological skills, but without business
    focus or acumen.
    In such companies, the inception of a
    mentoring programme is usually met
    in a friendly way. It probably has been
    done many times already, and one of
    them is surely running in the background.
    But it is still an “HR thing”. As a soft skill
    programme, employees won’t value it as a
    critical priority. If the tools involved won’t
    be too problematic for the employees,
    the real problem is that they never had any
    impact in the past.
    In that case our experience dictates again
    to be opportunistic. Since, teams in a
    “Network” company are highly project
    oriented, find a struggling project that
    is failing by a blatant lack of shared goals.
    Such projects shouldn’t involve long-
    term technical components, but revolve
    more around sales or marketing team
    interactions with R&D.
    The emphasis will be put on human
    contacts, listening skills and informal
    communities. In that case again, relying
    on external mentors -- ideally with strong
    entrepreneurial experience would bring
    tremendous results. And, because the
    communication channels and networks
    are already present and strong, the practice
    will be able to flow naturally and spread
    throughout.
    •04
    The art of the Start

    View Slide

  23. 23
    | 2020
    The “necessary-for-survival” agility culture
    is often observed in companies in the form
    of ad-hoc networks, lean methods,
    entrepreneurship initiatives. When
    spreading throughout a company,
    mentoring can integrate the culture and
    become a powerful agility tool. Indeed it
    opens up minds to different cultures
    (national or industrial), markets and
    functions; encourages knowledge and best
    practices sharing; and knits informal but
    strong connections between employees.
    The propagation of mentoring relationships
    hence creates informal agile networks
    -- key to innovation and internationalisation.
    As an example exposed in this paper,
    a cross-functional mentoring programme
    allows for sustainable informal networks
    to build between various sectors and
    professions in the company which in turn
    allow a faster emergence and activation
    of innovative projects than in an isolated
    R&D cell.
    The first step towards a mentoring
    culture is usually a formal mentoring pilot
    programme which may start in a few
    number of ways depending on the context:
    a section of the pyramid, a pilot across
    several business units, or the
    re-humanisation of a techno-sphere.
    Whatever the context there are 3 main
    rules to follow to ensure a successful
    launch: strategic alignment, relationship
    alchemy and viral propagation.
    Whether you already have a “nice to have”
    mentoring programme, or are thinking
    about it, or are being hassled by employees
    and HR to implement one, then I hope this
    paper will have enlightened you a little
    not only on why but also how it could be
    a powerful tool for your organisation and
    its strategic transformation.
    •05
    A Final
    Perspective
    The propagation of
    mentoring relationships
    hence creates informal
    agile networks - key to
    innovation and
    internationalisation.

    View Slide

  24. 24
    | 2020
    Contact Us
    Innovation Copilots is a boutique consulting agency
    with a wide European network of partners. We copilot
    the innovation process of startups, incubators and
    blue chip companies. The rules seem simple enough:
    while startups need to focus less on technology, and
    more on their potential markets; large corporations
    need to become agile again and learn from early-
    stage, risk-taking ventures. In the context of disrupted
    ecosystems and fast-growing markets, we guide you in
    innovating your business to outsmart competition, and
    in developing new legs for increased nimbleness.
    Stéphanie MITRANO
    [email protected]

    View Slide

  25. This white paper is under a creative commons licence 4.0, so we
    encourage you to share it as long as you follow a few simple rules:
    Make sure to give us appropriate credit, and don’t suggest that we
    endorse you or your use of this document;
    If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not
    distribute the modified material.

    View Slide