Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mentor vs. Mentee

Hiya ! We've been matching mentors and mentees at lightning speed in the past days and as one would come to expect, we have much more mentees than we have mentors.

At first glance this would seem natural, the infosec people I've met all had one thing in common : their thirst for knowledge. If we pick up a subject, we want to know it all. When it seems we master a subject, a whole new aspect of that same subject jumps from the woodwork. It's an eternal process. We (need to) keep learning.

When I look at the list of people who have subscribed to infosecmentors as a mentee, I sit back and wonder. Among them are people I would love to have as a mentor because I know they possess a wealth of knowledge and more importantly, knowledge that some of the other mentees crave.

Whatever your reason is for not subscribing as a mentor, I ask you to think again. And this is why :

Several years ago I picked up a book at a local second hand book market and I decided to take it with me. That book was "The Cycle of Leadership" by Noel M. Tichy and it describes how top-performing companies stand out because of their ability to develop leaders at every level of their organisation. These companies develop virtuous teaching cycles in order to keep a steady flow of leaders within the company. Most importantly, Mr. Tichy stresses the importance of the teaching and learning being reciprocal. The best teachers are those who are willing to learn from their students.

After I read the book, I started paying attention to this concept. I try to grasp every opportunity to learn from anybody. Sure I can learn a lot from another person, much smarter than me, in my own trade but I learn from the C-level executive, the helpdesk guy, the cleaning lady and my mom too. Sometimes I teach. Not in the classroom sense of the world but I share knowledge. And even then, I'm learning too. By getting feedback, people proving me wrong or people providing completely new insights that challenge me to learn even more. And it's fun !

Let's bring that spirit to infosecmentors! I promise you that being a mentor will not be a boring task and even as a mentor, you'll learn a lot !

We need you !

1 comment:

  1. Hey Wim loved the post - can totally relate to the problem of not having enough mentors, even in HR where we advocates of such schemes we even have problems getting people involved.

    Out of interest, could I ask what is Infosec?

    Look forward to reading future posts!