Today’s post is inspired by: The Invisible B-School Curriculum by Warren Bennis (Published in Bloomberg Businessweek on June 25, 2012)
In this article, leadership and management guru Warren Bennis shares his experience on being a mentee and a mentor. He shares about how he tells his students to “stalk mentors!”. He speaks about mentoring within the context of his belief that there are 2 curricula in an MBA program, the formal one offered by the program, and an informal one which he refers to as the “invisible” curriculum. He argues that this “invisible curriculum”, which includes finding mentors, is equally important to the formal curriculum.
When I went back to get my masters, my “invisible curriculum” took place over 50 cups of coffee with classmates whose comments intrigued me. They would share their stories, warts and all. People from all walks of life – from teachers, peace corps graduates to generals, political figures, and CEOs. This invisible curriculum is one that I continued after I graduated, and one that sparked the idea behind this project. Of those I have had the honor of meeting, I have found a handful of mentors.
But the main reason why I wish to share this is to pass on wisdom that Bennis shares – to “stalk mentors!” Although I am not typically someone who is naturally inclined to bother my mentors for my own gain, I feel compelled to take Bennis’ advice. And I hope to be able to do the same for others in the future.
I encourage you to do the same.
Vivian Giang and Lynne Guey captured some words of advice Warren Buffet offered to Levo League members earlier this year in the following Business Insider article: Warren Buffett Shared Some Great Career Advice for Millennials
2. Be careful who you look up to.
“If you tell me who your heroes are, I’ll tell you how you’re gonna turn out. It’s really important in life to have the right heroes. I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve probably had a dozen or so major heroes. And none of them have ever let me down. You want to hang around with people that are better than you are. You will move in the direction of the crowd that you associate with.”
4. Develop healthy habits by studying people.
“Pick the person that has the right habits, that is cheerful, generous, gives other people credit for what they do. Look at all of the qualities that you admire in other people … and say to yourself, ‘Which of those qualities can’t I have myself?’ Because you determine whether you have them. And the truth is you can have all of them.”
These two align with the values behind this project. 1. Surround yourself with people who you know you can learn a great deal from and, 2. study their habits and slowly integrate those habits into your daily life.
I am grateful to be surrounded by some incredible people, Harry Spence being one of them. It’s nice to see that Buffett too has had help along the way and that studying others has gotten him to where he is.