Saturday, March 7, 2009

Why Do I Need a Mentor? II

Photo by Erica Marshall

There may be big issues with the way your system works that is making things WAY harder for you than they should.

Does this look like your desk?

This is
not going to be fixed with another cup of coffee. But, go ahead and have one if you want. The thing is, Just like anything, we can't see the details as clearly when we're standing too close. That's why editors exist. That's actually a really great metaphor for what a Mentor does in this particular situation. They "edit" your systems by looking at every letter, every sentence, every page to see that it all works as a book. That's the point too, you can't edit your own book. So many times folks don't ask for help because they feel "guilt"around what's become of their business organization. A writer has no "guilt" about having their books edited. Some fear perhaps but they know it's something that someone else has to do. They cannot possibly see clearly in this way about their own business.

Here's what the process looks like with me:

When I'm able to actually work on-site with a client, I interview everyone in their company about what they do and how they do it. I create a sort of map for the way things work as a whole. Then I see what links I don't have, see if there's something I've missed.
Then comes the part where I figure out how to connect the missed links and smooth the rough edges into a well oiled machine. With people inside it...doing the real work...uh, I'll stop now with that metaphor.

So, when I work via phone it's generally regarding a one or two person operation. I spend time once again, learning what their processes are for doing what they do. Even though they may come to me with one "ailment", like a good Dr. I still try to get the whole picture. Often the thing that's not working for them has something to do with the way it integrates with another process.

An example of this would be
: They are having trouble fulfilling orders and complain that their computer system isn't working very well and are thinking that they should perhaps go another route. On further examination, it ends up having to do with the way they are getting or (not getting) their information from their business partner. Instead of jumping to: "Let's look at new computer software because you say this one is not working for you", I'll start with: "How exactly does this all get done now? Let's connect the dots."

"Connecting the dots" is very much of what I do as a Mentor. We liked it as kids. Let's learn to have patience with the process as adults.

1 comment:

  1. Here's a few ideas for you:

    + identifying time-wasters
    + how to increase productivity for creatives?
    + how do you know what to charge?

    I see a lot of new artists, crafters entering the fray but don't know what to charge or how to structure their business so they're profitable. :)


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