Posts from 2016-10

Mentoring by Matching

Mentoring has become increasingly popular with associations recently.  The basic premise is to “match up” the experienced with the novice to exchange ideas, guide and even challenge each to grow beyond their current limits. Some groups are moving past informal to formalized programs and even going hi-tech in the process of matching.


Formalized programs for mentoring can be found in many associations. Groups like the ABA use mentoring to nurture those with disabilities and new to the legal profession with an experienced attorney.


Other groups, like the ALA call their mentoring programs “Emerging Leaders”.  This is another term that has been used in many associations. The ALA has an Emerging Leaders  Program to connect newer library workers with peers and those that can help introduce the ALA structure and grow future leaders.


Working at AAG, I have helped associations formalize this process by using our Biz MatchUp™ software which offers both the mentors and the mentee the ability to review each other's profiles and select who they would like to be matched with.


Mentors can be matched with one or more mentee. Using the Biz MatchUp™ matching software, users can chat with each other before they make their final selections.  The result is high value matches and long term relationships.  Both the members and the association benefit in the end.

Collaborative Work Space - For Real

It is a term often heard recently for those getting new office space, we are moving to a “collaborative work space”.  This was the conversation recently at a business event.  One person was relating to the others in the group about her new office space.  It sounds new, hip and evokes a sense of cutting edge.  Another person made the comment that those “collaborative environments” don’t seem so collaborative when workers put on the earbuds or headsets and “tune out” the people around them.

I had the experience of working in a startup incubator in Chicago which had one of those collaborative and “open” floor plans.  The idea was to put everyone in one open space in order to encourage collaboration.  This is great in theory, but neglects the fundamental human tendency to mind your own business and keep to yourself.  Except for the occasional conversation at the coffee machine, or lunch room talk, generally people do not collaborate.  At least not without some catalyst.

This changed big time for me when the incubator decided to try a new twist on networking. The started doing “speed networking” using Biz MatchUp™ to create the matches  This made a big difference. It helped that they used Biz MatchUp™ to allow attendees of the event to connect before the event, online and choose who they would like to meet.  Then at the event, attendees had a list of the 9 people they would meet with in the next 90 minutes.  It was high energy, fast paced and really helped each person refine and focus their goals for networking.  After repeating your “pitch” 9 times in 90 minutes, you tend to refine and get clarity a little bit each time you deliver.

The big benefit to all in the room was they each got to know 9 people.  And on returning to the collaborative work environment, they could easily engage in conversation because those people were not strangers anymore.  This encourages more idea sharing and people helping each other because they know each other.

The incubator continues to encourage collaboration by having regular speed networking events with these focused matches using Biz MatchUp™.


To learn more about Biz MatchUp™ click here.

Teamwork - The sum of the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

What an incredible thing that can happen when people work together. Working independently it's each of us sitting in our offices, each staring at our individual screens working on our little part of the project making some small progress.  But when the heat is turned up, and the deadlines are looming, suddenly an idea comes to mind. "Hey let's all go into the Strategy Room and work on this project so we can deliver.”

When this happened to our team recently, not only did we tune into what each was working on but we also learned how their part affected our part. This had the effect of rapidly accelerating the rate of progress. We could see the efforts others were making and this encouraged us to push forward with our part. 

Working together actually produces more creative energy. Sharing in the thoughts as the project is developed, increases the communication speed and adds to the overall collaborative and creative process.           

The end result is a project that is delivered faster, more creatively and more integrated with individual functions operating as a whole. In the end teamwork does the job very very well!

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