In my opinion, everyone needs a mentor.

A mentor doesn't necessarily have to be someone you spend large amounts of time with, or even someone that you work with.

Just as Luke Skywalker needed Obi Wan Kenobi to show him a new world and help him realise his potential, from time to time we require the same level of guidance.

There is no shortage of these types of people and their skills and knowledge are a key foundation of the dynamic businesses which are the backbone of our economy.


I have been fortunate in my career that I have had the opportunity to learn from some of the best business minds inside and outside of New Zealand.

When you have a mentor it is the best of business relationships because the mentor invests in your development and takes you under their wing. At times their words and wisdom are priceless.

I have a mentor who is working with me right now but it is so much more than effectiveness at work. Much of what we talk about is the management of change - which, really, when you think about it is the only real constant in the world at the moment.

Any kind of change, particularly those which are positive, take time and we need to be realistic about the time required to achieve our end goal. But, likewise, to be truly effective change needs to be made in bite-sized chunks, rather than the blitzkrieg approach.

To get the results required you need to be prepared to invest time and resources in implementing the approach and be patient to allow the fruits to develop fully.

You are unlikely to solve all of your challenges in a week - making big change and expecting big results is a recipe for disappointment. It is like me expecting to play Stairway to Heaven on the guitar without lessons and practice - you can try it but the result is not music to the ears.

All great achievements appear to come after investment of time and an acknowledgement of what was required to achieve the end goal together with small increments of progress. For example, Martin Luther King Jnr's "I have a dream" speech would not likely get the same reception and historical note had he delivered it as a student at Booker T. Washington High School. We also wouldn't have had a space shuttle without the Gemini and Apollo space programmes, nor would Edison have invented the lightbulb had he not developed his aptitude for invention while working as a telegrapher.

Edison also had persistence and drive, which is key to effectively managing change. Change can bring success and, at times, challenge and disappointment. The key is to treat both equally but have a plan on how to make the most of what each brings.


Look behind all success and you will find a mentor or two, and baby steps leading to the significant outcome.