A colleague/collaborator and I were conversing about
mentoring and mentoring programs. She was telling me
about the struggles when discussing what is important,
who should be targeted and what would a successful program
She brought up the finding that different parts of an organization,
like marketing, finance, medical affairs (medical device mfg),
and R&D views mentoring differently.
Some parts think of the role as helping new members come up
to speed with the culture because turn over is high. Another
part of the company has very low turnover, flat organizational
structure and intense detailed work. (You almost have to have
a retirement party to induce a change.)
Thus, mentoring in specific companies can assume a company
cultural bias to meet the needs at a particular point in time or
departments that it serves.
So the roles of teacher, coach, mentor and sponsor can be
adjusted. Mentoring graduate students in technical fields
needs to adjust to each field in the same view. The skill sets
can be used to meet different goals since in each field of
research, development, marketing, management, product
development and manufacturing uses the technical elements
with different goals. The emphasis is morphed to meet the needs.
She also share an interesting link to the different roles.
KAHNEMAN: IMPROVING DECISION MAKING
This brought to mind a recent book by John Lanchester
who spoke about how Kahneman influenced the interview
process in selecting military candidates (without going into
He did experiments on selection processes where
critical skills and abilities were defined, questions were
prepared by knowledgeable stakeholders for a pool of
[JOHN LANCHESTER How to speak money: What the
money people say—and what it really
means, Norton & Company,
New York 2014]
He then had a random portion of the group take objective
measure tests before interviewing.
Better selections were made when the intuition of
interviewers were supplemented by independent testing
So, in various places this additional testing is being done.
Lanchester also presented remarkable meanings of
business terms which technical people might find useful.
failing upwards: someone who screws up and is promoted
to a bigger job just as the first result collapses
fiscal and monetary: fiscal means dealing with taxes and
spending, controlled by government; monetary means
dealing with interest rates, controlled by the central bank.
“a haircut:“ in investment bonds, people who have lent money
are not going to get all of their money back.
“hollowing out:” process by which jobs disappear from the
economy while appearances remain the same.
At its peak, Kodak employed 140,000 and valued at $28B.
Instagram was sold to Facebook for $1B in 2012 and employed
“hype cycle:” process involving new inventions, technology
or product design arrives with much fanfare and is found not
to live up to its claims.
McJobs: low status, low-pay, low-security, low-prospect
jobs like at a franchise as McDonalds.
Types of unemployment: frictional, structural and cyclical
frictional: people move, voluntarily choose to change
structural: loss of jobs due to technological change or
obsolescence (chemical photography)
cyclical: loss of jobs due to boom and bust cycles of
the economical system