Focus on Mentoring as Baby Boomers Near Retirement

March 27th, 2012   •   Comments Off on Focus on Mentoring as Baby Boomers Near Retirement   

by Rik Nemanick, Ph.D.

We are facing a new reality as the economy improves: acceleration in the retirement of the baby boom generation. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants published a study in 2011 that found that the average baby boomer was postponing retirement for four to six years. Starting this year, it is estimated that 10,000 U.S. citizens a day will turn sixty-five, the traditional age of retirement. As the economy continues to improve, the baby boomers who postponed retirement when their 401k took a hit in 2008-2009 are going to start to create an influx of retirements over the next few years as their retirement funds recover with the market.

What this means for organizations is that, as they start growing again, they are going to start to lose the intellectual and social capital locked up in their most seasoned employees who postponed retirement longer than they would have otherwise. These individuals are often the stewards of the organization’s culture and history, as well as the keys to important relationships both inside and outside the company. Before these individuals retire, organizations have the opportunity to share their knowledge and culture with the next generation of leaders.

Mentoring benefits both those sharing their experiences and those being mentored. Many seasoned mentors appreciate the opportunity to be recognized for their contributions to the company by sharing their perspective with the next generation. A lot of them are looking for opportunities to give back to their companies and leave a legacy that will endure. Others gain enthusiasm and energy connecting with those younger than them; we hear in surveys of mentors in our mentoring programs that they take a renewed interest in their own careers after working with a protégé. Finally, many mentors enjoy learning from their protégés about new technology and the perspectives of the next generation.

Protégés benefit from connecting with these mentors, as the mentors often can show them a more strategic view of the organization. They learn what has come before them and see their contribution to the organization as part of an ongoing story in the life of a company. The organization benefits as the vital culture and history gets passed along to its up and coming workforce.

There are few ways for an organization to create connections that benefit everyone involved. As you look over your workforce and consider how many may be retiring in the next five years, consider using mentoring to increase the engagement of all those involved.

To comment on this article or to learn more about mentoring, contact Rik Nemanick at

Accelerated Mentoring

March 15th, 2012   •   Comments Off on Accelerated Mentoring   

Mentoring is one of the most powerful ways to advance your career. Most successful people can point to a mentor who helped them at a critical point in their careers. But, getting started with a mentor can be a slow process. Join Rik Nemanick for this webinar on Accelerated Mentoring that will help you maximize your mentoring partnership and make it more powerful.

Who should attend: This webinar is for mentors or protégés who want to accelerate the impact of their mentoring partnerships. The webinar will help both those in formal mentoring programs and those who are looking for informal mentoring. Participants will learn how to get mentoring started on the right foot:

  • Understanding the life cycle of mentoring
  • Getting the logistics right
  • Understanding the four stages of protégé development
  • Setting powerful goals that speed mentoring results

Date: Thursday, April 19
Time: 10:00 – 11:30 AM CDT
Webinar Platform: Our webinar will use WebEx as the meeting platform. You will need a high speed internet connection to participate. You can make sure your system meets the minimum requirements here:

Cost: This first time webinar is being offered at an introductory rate of $99. Click the link below to reserve your seat (payments processed by PayPal). Registration will be open until Monday, April 16th.

About the Presenter: Rik Nemanick, Ph.D. has trained over 2,000 mentors and protégés at companies like Boeing, Monsanto, Covidien, and Pfizer. Rik has worked with clients for over ten years setting up high impact mentoring programs with mentors and protégés all over the world. He is a partner in The Leadership Effect and holds a doctorate in psychology from Saint Louis University.

Cancellation Policy: If you need to cancel your registration, please send an e-mail to by 5:00 PM CDT on Thursday, April 12, 2012. No refunds can be issued after that time

HRCI Credit: This program has been approved for 1.5 (General) recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute. Please be sure to note the program ID number on your recertification application form. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit the HR Certification Institute website at

Making The Role of IT in Your Organization More Strategic

March 7th, 2012   •   Comments Off on Making The Role of IT in Your Organization More Strategic   

by Rik Nemanick, Ph.D.

I was recently having lunch with a friend who works for XIOLINK who was telling me about how companies like hers (that provides managed hosting, cloud computing solutions, etc.) were enabling their customers to transform the role of internal IT in their companies. By moving a lot of their data and applications to “the cloud,” an organization’s internal IT team can shift their focus away from putting out fires and constantly managing server hardware to adding value to the core business such as application development or implementing a new ordering system. In other words, they will have more time to be “strategic.”

From my experience, becoming “more strategic” is much easier said than done. Many companies and business units have declared that they were “strategic”, more focused on their “value proposition”, and have more “time to innovate” without articulating exactly what any of these things will mean. My partner and I worked with a company president a few years ago who used the term “value proposition” every chance he got. The trouble was, none of his direct reports knew what the company’s value proposition really was. He was frustrated that his new strategy wasn’t being realized and his staff was frustrated because they didn’t know what he wanted them to do.

If IT is going to become more strategic, they should approach it like any organizational transformation. I have outlined just a few of the steps below.

Articulate Your Strategy: If your organization decides to engage an IT As A Service (IAAS) company or moves forward with a  cloud computing solution to help create a core IT value proposition, what is that value proposition? What role will IT play in your business? Will you help internal customers source and evaluate third party solutions to meet their needs? Will you manage the linkages among disparate outsourced platforms so they work together seamlessly? What are the needs your customers and the organization have relative to technology and what role will you play in meeting these needs? The strategy needs to be articulated in such a way that everyone knows what “more strategic” really means.

Use Change Management Techniques: Just because you have a new strategy, don’t assume everyone in your organization is going to jump up and down when you roll it out. Many IT organizations use change management techniques when implementing major changes to systems that dramatically affect people’s jobs. Treat the change in strategy as any other implementation. Analyze your areas of support and resistance. Craft your communications to address the Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt that comes with any change. Make sure you spend time cascading the changes down the ranks so people know why the change is being made and how it affects them.

Teach Your Staff New Skills: When you make a significant change in strategy, you often are making choices to start doing some things and stop doing others. These shifts in focus will require new skill sets from your staff. If you strategy is to be more consultative with your internal customers, you will need to teach your staff some consulting skills. Failing to refocus their skills will doom your strategy as it will never get executed as designed.

IT has a chance to really transform itself and how it operates. CIOs who underestimate the complexity of this change will miss an opportunity to create a more strategic organization that can make technology a competitive advantage for their company.