You may wonder what the mentor’s role is when investing in a leadership and management development programme for your company, such as the futureSME programme. Managing directors need tangible results that will boost performance across all areas of their business, from daily operations to profit margins and market share. LEAP’s Mike Gaffney explains the role of the mentor on this programme and how it affects overall business performance.
Mike, what’s the purpose of a mentor on the future SME programme?
Well futureSME provides many proven business practices, tools and disciplines that can be applied to your business. The role of the mentor is to help the individual identify how to actively apply those tools to his or her given situation. Mentors are steeped in the best practices of futureSME and how they can be applied. They work closely with the owner to ensure they are applied in the most relevant and practical way to suit the particular needs of the company.
How does that benefit the company?
From the outset of the programme the focus is on practical application and tangible results. This is a programme that uses theory to drive changes and secure results. The mentor has that focus clearly in mind and ensures this is happening at each step in the process. The mentor works with the owner to complete the company diagnostic at the start of the programme and again at the end of the programme so there is a clear comparison – evidence of change, evidence of improvements. So mentoring is a critical component of the overall programme.
Is the mentoring process the same for every company, or does it differ by industry and size?
There are some common threads to the futureSME solution, like a visual strategy, and the application of visual management tools. The essence of futureSME is to enable the company to develop its strategic, managerial, operational and adaptive capabilities. What is applied to the organisation often depends on what is most critical to their specific needs.
For some companies, getting the operational side of the business right is the most critical issue. For others it could be having a clear strategy or better managerial capabilities. So the mentoring process is not the same for everyone. There is the same outline regarding the disciplines and practices that are put in place, but how they are put in place, and which areas are prioritised, is very much company specific.
What kind of ROI can a client expect from the mentoring side of the programme?
Business is tough for any organisation so there has to be real tangible benefits, be it increased turnover or profitability, increased market share or new customers. There has to be tangible business performance deliverables. The best example I can give is ourselves; LEAP has applied the futureSME methodology and we doubled our turnover in 2013 compared to 2012. So it’s important for any company engaging in futureSME that they clearly state what business performances they need to see improved, and how that will be measured. We are very comfortable with measuring the implementation of futureSME in a company against tangible financial performance, and other core performances, that the company determine.