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Intelligent Mentoring: How IBM Creates Value through People, Knowledge, and Relationships

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Intelligent Mentoring: How IBM Creates Value through People, Knowledge, and Relationships


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  • Copyright 2009
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-713084-8
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-713084-9
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-700947-X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-700947-3

How to Use Mentoring to Drive Maximum Competitive Advantage
Techniques and lessons from IBM’s world-class mentoring programs—for every business and HR leader, strategist, Chief Learning Officer, consultant, trainer, and scholar

“A crucial part of my job is to help develop and retain the more than 200,000 members of IBM’s global technical community. Over the years, I have found that the true spirit of any organization is its people, and unique, world-class mentoring programs play a crucial role in their success. What I really like about Intelligent Mentoring is that it is not an academic treatise on the theory of mentoring, but a series of practical solutions that can be used by virtually any organization to gain productivity, increase retention, and improve bottom-line results.”

Nick Donofrio, Executive Vice President, Innovation and Technology, IBM Corporation

“We have known about the importance of mentoring in developing people for decades. Yet few organizations have successfully leveraged it as part of their HR strategy. IBM is one of those companies. Intelligent Mentoring is about more than the mentoring initiative successfully implemented at IBM. It is a guide for how companies can leverage mentoring in a way that aligns with company strategy and supports organizational and individual development. It is a must-read for any executive considering a mentoring initiative as part of the firm’s HR strategy. IBM’s mentoring effort combined the best of what we know from mentoring research, career development theory, and change management to create a highly successful effort. There is much here for practitioners and scholars to learn.”

David A. Thomas, Ph.D., Naylor Fitzhugh Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

“Performance is the ultimate driver of this company. Even back in our earliest days, one of the keys to IBM’s greatness was performance, along with top-notch technology. Since arriving at IBM in 2000, my goal has been to identify, develop, train, reward, and retain high-performing people, and one of the best ways to support these high performers is through mentoring. I believe that Intelligent Mentoring has done a phenomenal job of capturing the innovative and varied mentoring initiatives that IBM has used over the years. The authors really take you inside the company and show how mentoring has helped IBM preserve its corporate culture by passing on knowledge, not only between generations, but in all directions throughout our global community. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to use the powerful tool of mentoring to its best and most productive advantage, and I recommend it highly.”

Randy MacDonald, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, IBM Corporation

For today’s enterprises, few challenges are as daunting as preparing tomorrow’s leaders. Mentoring is one of the most powerful tools at their disposal. But not all mentoring programs are equally effective, and not all companies have learned how to sustain mentoring. One company has: IBM. Intelligent Mentoring reveals how IBM has done it–and offers specific guidance and best practices you can use to achieve equally powerful results. Intelligent Mentoring shows how IBM has fully integrated a diverse portfolio of formal mentoring initiatives into both talent development and innovation promotion. Whether you’re a business leader, strategist, Chief Learning Officer, training specialist, coach, or consultant, this book presents a state-of-the-art framework for making mentoring work. Drawing on IBM’s experience, the authors demonstrate how to build a diverse portfolio of effective mentoring programs...use mentoring to strengthen organizational intelligence...build sustainable communities of mentors and mentees...promote collaboration across differences... and above all, link mentoring to strategy and use it to sustain competitive advantage.

•  Use mentoring to develop tomorrow’s world-class business leaders
Actionable solutions and best practices from IBM’s breakthrough mentoring program

Embrace mentoring as a high-performance work practice
Maximizing, capturing, and communicating the value-added impact of mentoring

Set the right goals for mentoring: then achieve them
Utilize mentoring to strengthen organizational learning, improve retention, promote innovation, and more

Use mentoring to solve your organization’s most “wicked” problems
How mentoring can help you respond to complex, tangled challenges you’ve never faced before

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

Introducing IBM's Mentoring Portfolio

Sample Pages

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Table of Contents

Foreword xvii

Acknowledgments xxi

About the Authors xxiii

Chapter 1 Introducing IBM’s Mentoring Portfolio 1

Mentoring Transformations 4

IBM’s Challenge 5

IBM’s Response 9

Creating a Mentoring Portfolio 13

Contributions of Intelligent Mentoring 16

References 19

Chapter 2 Organizational Intelligence: Using Just-in-Time Mentoring Solutions 23

Overview: Revitalizing Mentoring 24

Creating a Mentoring Hybrid 26

IBM Revitalizes Mentoring 27

Linking Mentoring to Organizational Intelligence 30

Attracting and Recruiting Talent 31

Socializing of Employees 33

Accessing Knowledge and Expertise 34

Supporting Knowledge Retention 36

Sustaining a Knowledge-Resilient Culture 38

Developing a Portfolio of Experiential Learning Opportunities 40

Experiential Learning Opportunities in the Future 43

References 47

Chapter 3 Organizational Intelligence: Fostering Communities of Knowledge 51

Overview 52

Learning through Communities of Practice 53

Building Communities of Practice at IBM 55

A Mentoring Solution 57

Mentoring as Communities of Practice 58

Lessons Learned from IBM’s Mentoring Communities 63

Mentoring Across Boundaries 64

Strengthening Relational Competencies 66

Fostering Meaningful Collaboration 68

Mentoring Communities and the Future 69

Valuing Community 70

“THINK”ing at IBM 70

Who Said an Elephant Can’t Learn to Dance? 71

References 72

Chapter 4 Connecting People: Creating Meaningful Engagement 75

Moving from Isolation to Engagement 76

The Benefits of Engaged Employees 76

Challenges for Engaging a Globally Dispersed Workforce 78

Mentoring, Technology, and Connecting People 80

Creating Access to People 81

Creating Access to Information 82

Creating Access to Virtual Communities 84

Example of an IBM Best Practice: Group Speed Mentoring 86

Engaging Employees through Mentoring–Lessons Learned 90

Technology as a Tool, Not a Panacea 91

Holding Managers Accountable 91

Some Final Engaging Thoughts 92

References 93

Chapter 5 Connecting People: Mentoring as a Tool for Diversity and Inclusion 97

The Importance of Connecting Among Difference 98

The Workforce of the Future Is Here 99

Diversity as a Business Imperative 101

Enhancing Diversity: Why Mentoring Matters 103

Connecting within Diversity at IBM 105

Mentoring Based on Affinities 109

Group Mentoring via Diversity Networks 110

Asian Diversity Network Group at IBM 112

Looking Toward the Future 116

References 121

Chapter 6 Connecting People: Using Mentoring to Signal Value in People 125

The Power of Value in People 126

What Employees Expect–A Relational View 128

Employees’ Perceptions of Organizational Support 131

How Organizational Leaders Can “Signal Support” 133

Using Reverse Mentoring to Signal Support 136

Respect for the Individual 138

Support for Employee Development 139

Collaboration across Difference 140

Preventing Career Derailment: A Plan for Success 141

Reverse Mentoring: Signaling Value in People across IBM 144

Reverse Mentoring in the United States 145

Reverse Mentoring in Finland 146

Reverse Mentoring in Latin America 148

Looking Toward the Future–Multigenerational Collaboration 151

Lessons Learned–Signaling Ethics and Integrity 153

References 155

Chapter 7 Business Impact: Using Mentoring to Deliver Value for Competitive Advantage 159

Adding Value through Mentoring 160

Mentoring Solutions as High-Performance Work Practices (HPWP) 161

Enduring Skills Help to Create Competitive Advantage 165

Developing a Balanced View of “Value Added” 167

Dangle the Carrot–IBM’s Marketing Group Mentoring Award 172

Lessons Learned–Adding Value and Sustaining Business Impact 176

References 177

Chapter 8 Business Impact: Using Mentoring Solutions to Solve “Wicked Problems” 181

Mentoring as a Strategic Solution 182

Using Mentoring to Solve “Wicked Problems” 184

Global Talent Management as a “Wicked Problem” 187

Mentoring: On the Manufacturing Floor to the Technical Labs 191

Black Technical Leaders Forum (BTLF) 193

Building a Global Knowledge Community–South Africa’s Cross-Geography Mentoring Initiative 197

Lessons Learned–Sustaining Business Impact via Strategic Mentoring Solutions 203

Some Final Thoughts–The Impact of Intelligent Mentoring 205

References 207

Index 209


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