Knowledge about certain fields can’t always be acquired in written form, especially when those fields are developing so quickly that even the most advanced blogs can’t keep up. It’s important to talk with other people; to meet new people, their problems and solutions and their view on the world. One of the best forms of learning, which benefits both sides, is mentoring.
Mentoring: quid pro quo
When I have my coffees with the CEO, a lot of my colleagues often mention mentoring; the wish to have someone who would provide them with even more practical knowledge and with whom they could exchange experiences or simply have a productive debate.
We’ve already had a couple of such exchange programs with people from our field; for example when we visited our role models or when 4 competing experts from the world of SEO went on a Balkan trip. We’ve even had a couple of individuals in Optiweb and they certainly brightened up our day:
- Igor Bajsič – SEOPRO
- Jan Štefe and Tim Potočnik – Eurosender
- Katarina Horaček Kokošar – Genialis
- Tina Zdjelar – Smooth
- Matevž Kaše – Erpium
- Tilen Sotler – DeweSoft
At the same time, we had a wonderful experience when we sent out Magento team lead, Anže, to D·Labs for a whole month and he came back with countless new ideas about how to improve our work environment.
A common point of all such visits is a constructive debate, with which both sides learn something new::
- A lot of new solutions; by pointing out our problems, we quickly realise that our colleague for the day may also have faced that same problem at one point in their career.
- Examples of good practice; finding out some extraordinary practices and how they may be of use.
- Finding a common point that leads to further cooperation and mutual help.
- New acquaintances! The more people that know you and know what you do, the greater the reach.
The most important thing of all is to trust someone with your problems and realize we all have the same problems – the only thing that sets them apart from you is how successfully they solve them. These kinds of meetings bring positive energy (at least to me and I believe to many others) and give you additional boost for your upcoming work.
Mentor for one day
All of the above-mentioned experts proved to be a great experience, so naturally my colleagues wanted more of them. This gave us the idea of implementing a so-called “One-day experience”: a one-day visit by an expert from one of our fields; someone who can teach us something new while we repay them with a slightly different day in good company (and of course reimburse them for their expenses or give them a special present).
This is therefore not based on payment but on experience and spending a day a little differently, on seeing our culture and meeting new people, from which our visitors can also learn something themselves.
Our first volunteer was Klemen Selakovič, who exchanged his knowledge with our design team. He wrote down a little something about his experience: