June 2016 Motivate

Mentor? Who Me?

Written By: Marty Wynkoop

Merriam Webster defines a mentor as someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less-experienced person. OK, so who are you mentoring now? Who are you sharing with how you grew and developed, both professionally and personally? How you implemented a plan to grow your business? What steps did you follow? How you built SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound)? I continue to be amazed at how many folks think making goals is all about good intentions. Well, as my grandmother Koopie would tell me, “Hell’s pathway is full of good intentions.”

I can hear you now — “But, I don’t have anything to give.” You can’t hide behind that excuse. Have you ever succeeded? Failed? Do you know what you did right? Wrong? Want to help someone succeed? Avoid failure? Just Do It! Go help someone and advise a less-experienced person.

Who should I mentor? Anyone. Older, younger, someone who wants to speed up his or her learning can benefit from your education from the school of hard knocks. The best first step is to ask your potential mentee a good open-ended qualifying question like, “How effective are your SMART Goals?” or, “How would you change the way you developed your plan to accomplish your last big project?” Then, you listen to them. That is how you can help — by knowing what they are challenged by. Based on their responses, you can share some ideas on how they might improve their outcomes. If they push back and do not want help? Move on to someone who does want help. My experience is that there are more who want your help and advice than those who know it all.

You may be thinking that somebody else is better, but you have unique experiences that will help someone, so don’t hide them. I once was the project manager for a brand new major launch product. The company had projected that this product would produce about 30 percent of the TOTAL revenue for the year AND it was all mine. A flood hit the manufacturing plant and delayed release by three months, and then, when the FIRST truck was FINALLY leaving the plant, it hit a bicycle rider. So, guess what the police did? Impounded the truck and ALL its contents for six months. So, do you think I can help someone with upper management’s expectations? Give suggestions on how important it is to have an alternate supplier on critical revenue products? You bet your bonus I can!

A rewarding benefit of mentoring is that you build great relationships. I am fortunate as the University of Florida entrepreneur-in-residence at the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering; I am able to mentor a large number of students who want to learn more, based on my experiences. It is great to see these learners for life grow and develop, knowing I have contributed to their lives.

As a mentor, you don’t just listen or give advice; it is also critical that you hold your mentee accountable. As you help them develop their goals, you need to make sure they are specific and measurable, they can realistically achieve them and they have a timeline to accomplish their goals. If you are following up with them regularly and asking how they are doing regarding their goals, their opportunity to succeed grows dramatically.

Now get out there, and get mentoring!



Marty Wynkoop has been mentoring over 30 years and is a veteran entrepreneur. His experience includes financial and business operations with both public and private companies, including the management of turnarounds, financial restructurings, integration of acquisitions, strategic shifts in core operations and helping grow early stage companies. Mr. Wynkoop’s experience includes being CEO, CFO, president, and VP of sales and marketing. Mr. Wynkoop is on the boards of directors of several companies. Marty is married to Patricia, and they have four children and six grandchildren.

Today, Marty’s consulting firm, KoopCo LLC, assists and mentors small companies and startups in strategic growth, financial strength, sales, marketing development, regulatory and quality compliance.

You can reach Marty Wynkoop at [email protected].

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