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Surround your staff with advisors

by Mike McDerment  |  May 28/2008  | 

I am young, I am inexperienced – at least when compared with senior management at established companies. What I have going for me is that I know that and I accept it.

It’s great starting companies, but odds are you need help to do it successfully. On many occasions I have recommended advisors for entrepreneurs, but it’s not just leaders who need advice – your staff do too. Why? Because you can’t do all the hard work. When you are running a fast growing company your staff are wrestling with tough problems, and when they’re doing that they *deserve* help that you probably can’t give them.

Coaching and mentoring is an intimate relationship and ideally the apprentice should choose teacher, but you can suggest advisors you have recruited – who know you, your values, your style and your business. Being familiar with those subtleties of your business are less relevant for technical advice, but useful nonetheless. I think it’s much more relevant for HR and strategic initiatives as your culture and your vision will lend itself better to some opportunities than others.

In the past I’ve talked about why advisors matter, how to recruit them and how to make successful relationships with advisors. All those things apply to your staff as well, so get them connected.


  • http://www.peapod.ca Alistair Morton

    There is something to be said for finding people with experience to lead these young employees.

    I was lucky enough to have in my first role as a designer ( sigh, 1992 ) under a very patient mentor, who basically taught me that everything I learnt in art school would fit on to 2 pages of paper, and the rest of the design journey would fill a few volumes of encyclopedias.

    Good mentors are really hard to find, so I imagine finding the people to fill these mentor roles would need much more attention in the hiring process, than finding the ones they’d be leading.

  • http://www.baskettcase.com Rick Baskett

    One of the best employers that I have worked for, really wasnt all that knowledgeable or talented at business. He was really good at the service his business provided though, which was hard since he was the owner and in an administrator roll, instead of doing the work all the time. What made him such an amazing success though was that he could spot talent. He surrounded himself with people who were amazing at what they did, and because of that he was able to build an extremely successful business.


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