So I started my journey just a few short months ago to find a new mentor…one that was not in the field of evaluation, but someone that appreciated its beauty and the use of eval for good. I got to thinking what qualities am I looking for in a mentor…and that got lost somewhere, so instead I looked for people that handled seemingly tough situations in a great way. I had a draft email on its way to Prospective Mentor #1, but that person tanked in a “tough situation” before I could press send, so I decided to ask a respected COO for a few tips because he is the best (or pretty darn close) at delivering tough news in a pragmatic way that not only leads to action and results, but respect from the person(s) receiving the information.
2 months and 3 meeting attempts later we had our first meeting…I did not want to come empty handed so I brought him a fresh orange(one of his favorite fruits) to which he remarked “what is this?”. It was a navel orange, I’m assuming it wasn’t his favorite type of orange.
All in all, relationship building tips were rated high on his list for “getting people to do the undesirable”‘, so I tweaked his 60 day challenge to speak to everyone at work everyday(there’s easily 70+ people in my office on any given day + stairs) and I will resort to having one meaningful non work related conversation/day. I think I’m around day 10, and let’s just say I’m a little behind, but I’m looking forward to the fruit that will come from this exercise! Hopefully it’s better than my ability to pick out good produce and my alma mater’s last experience with the dreaded Orange Bowl!
Feel free to share your mentor stories, good, bad, and everywhere in between!