Lessons of Mentoring in Leadership: Building a Remote Research Center

Wednesday, August 20, 2014: 10:50 AM
204B (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
William Porter , Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
The core of leadership is about vision, communication, positioning and self-management.  This paper explores these elements and shows how mentoring is crucial.   Leadership is first about vision and few people think about truly big possibilities. Mentors help leaders see that success is more likely when ideas are not limited by existing resources.  When creative ideas capture the imagination of others, resources will follow.  The ability to tailor those ideas in ways that resonate with each of many different audiences is the heart of communication. Mentors can help young leaders see that there is a formula for pitching ideas. Positioning is what others call luck:  the convergence of preparation with opportunity. Mentors help to young leaders to learn to anticipate opportunities and then build organizational strengths to seize those opportunities. Successful leaders are ambitious people who take on myriad responsibility.  Mentors are integral helping young leaders learn to prioritize, delegate, evaluate and draw the insight to be better self-managers.  These lessons are presented in the context of the dramatic growth of a remote environmental research center.  Leadership stimulated evolution of a strategic plan from a modest $50,000 investment to a $13 million effort that was remarkably successful.