I had a wonderful experience recently cruising around Sydney Harbour on the Ghost II which is an exquisite122 foot superyacht!. The best thing about it was that it was spent with a bunch of very talented entrepreneurs, many of which were members from the Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO), a business group for successful entrepreneurs.

Firstly, what an amazing setting to talk business! I would have to say business on superyachts is now one of my new favourite things!

Secondly, there is no doubt about it, surrounding yourself with mega brains will expand your thinking and get you even more motivated in your career or business.

Inspired conversations

It was a day overflowing with great conversations and amazing business ideas. And the word “disruption” was thrown around quite generously! I had a long and fascinating chat with Adam Jacobs, co-Founder and Managing Director of The Iconic – one of Australia’s largest online fashion retailers. We spoke at length about innovation, systems, efficiencies and of course, diversity. We also talked about one of our mutual favourite topics … people!

What was interesting about this conversation is that at 34 years young, Adam has grown The Iconic from 50 Staff to nearly 500 in just 5 years and with less experience at the helm of a large organisation than many other leaders in his position have. So I asked him how it is that he keeps his people inspired and growing with the business.

Adam’s secrets to success

Adam is a believer that hiring people who have the right values is just as, if not more important than people who have the right skills and qualifications. As a leader in a super-fast growth environment, Adam had to rely heavily on the talent he surrounded himself with.

Like most successful entrepreneurs, Adam attended several Business Schools and has been involved in various entrepreneur incubator–style initiatives. In addition to those more formal types of education, we both agreed a lot of business knowledge comes from mentors.

Mentors can fast track what you need to know, especially if you are very strategic about it.

I believe we should all have multiple mentors across different areas of our business, career and life. For example, I have mentors to help me build new products and services, to constantly innovate my systems, to be efficient at calendar management, to be a better leader. Rather than searching for a ‘Jack of all trades’, allow the possibility that you might need a few different experts across a few different areas of development. These mentoring relationships might be formalised or informal, regular or ad hoc.

All successful relationships begin by being clear on the outcomes you would like and defining mutually beneficial expectations.

Before you approach a mentor, answer the following questions:

  • Why do I think a mentor would be beneficial to my business/career?
  • What specifically do I want a mentor to help me with?
  • How will you approach that person?

After answering these three questions only then should you start thinking about who would best help with that?

I can guarantee, if you think through the mentoring process before you go searching for the ‘perfect’ mentor, you’ll have much greater success in finding the right mentor(s) for your needs. Once you’ve found the right mentors for you, why not pay it forward and offer to mentor somebody else?

Taking the next step

If mentoring is something you are considering, I have a much more in-depth process for creating and maintaining successful mentoring relationships, so if you’d like to know more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Here’s to your success!