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|Training and experience. In my opinion, both are important. It’s not enough to have great book knowledge without working in the trenches. Conversely, 30 years of experience without formal training can be dangerous. What if they were doing it wrong all those years? Is that what you’d like to be taught?
|Market diversity and experience. I’ve worked with over 20 vertical markets, and I’ve seen both the similarities and vast differences in markets. Construction is not Health Care; Hospitality is not Manufacturing; Wholesale is not Retail. It’s nice to have someone who understands your vertical nuances and lexicon.
|A Formal Curriculum. We usually don’t go to College and expect Professors to “Wing it”, do we? Nope. For our money, we demand a course of study that is professionally built and we appreciate a teacher who has accumulated Crystalized knowledge in addition to Fluid and Analytic.
|NOT a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all franchise. The “butts-in-seats” model doesn’t work for all. My business, my goals, my challenges are unique and important to me. The assembly-line approach is good for planting the seeds of progress. The nurturing personal coaching and mentoring afterwards is where those seeds take root and grow.
|Has the ability to coach and mentor, as well as teach and train. Teaching is more academic and knowledge based, while training is more practical and skills based. Coaching is more performance driven. It helps enhance what has been taught, based on the coach’s real-life experience. Mentoring is coaching over a long period of time.
|Chemistry & Passion. Although this one seems self-explanatory, there is much more to it. A Passionate teacher simultaneously challenges you, intrigues you, and motivates you. Personal chemistry is both natural and not forced, while Creative Intentional Chemistry is based on knowledge, empathy, and self-awareness by the mentor.
|Project & Time Management. If you are being trained over a period of months, it’s of paramount importance that your mentor is monitoring your progress and recalibrating as needed. Not doing this is like falling asleep or zoning out at the wheel. You may or may not get to your destination intact.
|A good listener. I teach that hearing is physical, while listening is cognitive. Look for someone who is attentive, makes eye contact, takes notes, asks questions, challenges you, remembers what you said months later; look for someone who cares about you.
|Constantly improves. After 30 years in technology, I learned early on that EVERYTHING changes from day-to-day and nanosecond to nanosecond. What was true and worked yesterday, may not be the case today or tomorrow. One of my favorite phases is KAIZEN, a Japanese business philosophy that translates to: Constant Improvement.
|Not overly impressed with themselves. I’ve had the good fortune of working with, and learning from, some of the brightest and talented people in a variety of industries over the years. All of them achieved greatness by leveraging innate talent with hard work, discipline, and dedication. That’s the model that I’ve always admired and aspired to. Therefore, I have little tolerance for people who believe their own press, incessantly talk about themselves, preach from a pulpit, and worry more about their Social Media. My advice: don’t settle for someone who wants you to kiss their ring.