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Mentoring Is Good Business

Posted by Larry Doyle on October 29, 2009 12:33 PM |

I am humbled when other outlets ask for my opinion and thoughts on financial topics. To that end, I have provided a few guest commentaries for UK-based  eFinancial Careers.

On the heels of writing “Fatal Character Flaws Bring Down Wall Street Titans”, a representative of eFinancial Careers asked me to further expound on this topic. I welcomed the opportunity and wrote this guest commentary:

How is it that an individual with untold hundreds of millions of dollars in wealth could put himself in a position of risking it all?

Welcome to the world of Raj Rajaratnam, the owner of the hedge fund Galleon and the major kingpin arrested in the most recent insider trading scandal to rock Wall Street.

Why would Rajaratnam take such professional risks?

While I have not had direct experience with anybody involved in an insider trading scandal, I have had plenty of experience with individuals for whom no amount of money is ever truly satisfying. These individuals are driven and truly define success in their lives by one number: Their net worth.

While not everybody who possesses such a fatal flaw engages in illegal activities, that character deficiency can be extremely dangerous if not professionally fatal. Regrettably, the fatality often brings down numerous other individuals in its wake.

I witnessed this character flaw amongst certain senior executives at Bear Stearns. I witnessed it amongst partners of the hedge fund, Long Term Capital Management. For those unaware of LTCM, the failure of this hedge fund brought the markets to its knees in 1998. Many on Wall Street were well aware that LTCM partners had pronounced that their goal was to become billionaires. A mere few hundred million dollars would not suffice.

Regrettably for so many on Wall Street and in the City, success is defined by “how much” they make as opposed to “who” they are.

With excessive emphasis put on the monetary, many within the financial industry dramatically undervalue the personal—as in, personal values, personal relationships, and personal development.

How can you reorient your life towards the personal? Evidently one way is to spend more time with your family. However, it can also be achieved by taking serious interest in the development of future generations of financial services professionals.

Mentoring should not be viewed as detracting from the pursuit of self-interest, but rather as promoting it. Ultimately, colleagues and business relationships will remember you more for how you helped them along the way than for what you made for yourself. I strongly believe people dramatically undervalue these personal relationships.

Giving back of yourself is not only personally enriching; it’s good business. How so? A good mentor needs to check his own moral compass in order to pass along strong business ethics to future generations. This ‘way of life’ and ‘way of business’ never gets old, it just never gets fully appreciated. I strongly encourage financial professionals to mentor. The rewards and richness are priceless.

Larry Doyle

I am a huge proponent of mentoring. In fact, I would maintain that the mentor receives far greater benefits than the mentee. For those launching their professional careers, please access a wealth of information at the Career Planning tab here at Sense on Cents.

Please share any mentoring experiences or thoughts that would help all who come to Sense on Cents.

Thanks.

LD

  • Great post. mentoring is extremely powerful. I spent much of the last four years doing research for my new book, The Leap. One of the key findings about how everyday people take their lives/careers from Good to Great is that they safely explore new alternative paths for themselves (they eliminate risk, not take it on). One of the most powerful ways to do this is through mentoring. mentors can offer advice, but they can “model” specific behaviors – teaching how something is done, and also (and no less important) will I really like that type of work. A great mentor can provide real world experience in a new direction without actually going there.

    Rick Smith






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