Whether or not the federal government’s continued (as of this writing) partial shutdown affects you, the IRS did manage to pull in about half of its workforce, despite not offering them a paycheck — which would be a pretty great deal for an organizational leader, yeah?
And those semi-furloughed IRS workers put out the news last week that they will, in most cases, waive the tax underpayment penalty for any taxpayer who paid at least 85 percent of their total 2018 tax liability during the tax year. The normal threshold is 90%, so this might be a relief to some.
That’s good news if you have been a little shy on your estimated payments — but only if you weren’t TOO shy.
Anyway, we’re getting cranked up for our busy season around here, staffing up to handle the workflow, and licking our chops a little at all of the savings available to our Chicago business owner clients this tax season. We’re about to make many of our clients pretty happy, which makes US happy.
But another thing that has made me pretty happy over the years has been finding and developing young talent for our Chicago business. (I only recently realized that this is called “professional mentoring” by those who like to label these things.) Because it’s simply good practice … for your business AND for your soul.
I commend it to you today.
The Simple ‘Why’ For Chicago Businesses To Consider Professional Mentoring
“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
Leaders don’t create more followers, they create more leaders.
Think about that for a moment.
In a society so focused on gaining more followers, whether via new media technology or in our business, we often easily lose sight of quality in favor of quantity.
Attracting more followers gives the impression of being recognized and admired. But how many of your “followers” actually know you? To that end, how well do you know the individuals you follow on social media or in the workplace?
Some of the best business leaders I see are ones who take others under their wing and get to know them and grow them. And this work is usually done away from the social media accounts, but in that antiquated yet powerful place called “the real world”. It’s a powerful way to build your Chicago team … but even more than that, it’s good for your community and your soul.
And wherever you “think” you are with your business, the fact that you RUN a business means that you already have a lot to offer. So don’t shy away from what’s available to you.
Start With Chemistry
Basic chemistry between a mentor and a mentee is key for growth to occur both ways. In other words, professional mentorships can often feel like something prefabricated and planned, which loses a certain … authenticity.
As you think about individuals you could mentor, try and gauge how well you two would “click” on a regular basis. A certain like-mindedness will carry the relationship through without too much of an authoritative feel (boss over employee, etc.). In addition, this will help create more natural experiences than just coffee every other week. Professional mentorships built upon solid relationships mean family dinners, weekend trips and consistent communication to help each other succeed in work and life.
Self-Awareness Over Skills
Because I am encouraging professional mentorships, you might think of others who could help you hone a particular set of skills, but I encourage your mentorships, whether given or received, to be more focused on character.
The interpersonal gains formed through mentorship will not only drive a willingness to acquire and learn new skills, but they will also help form a well-rounded individual prepared to serve their families, communities and institutions well. And, of course, your business.
Time for a little math.
It has often been said that “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time around.” Take whoever those five are for you, add up all their best (and worst) qualities in your mind, and divide that by five … and that’s you, apparently. How do you feel about the result?
And does a mentor or mentee hold one of those five spots?
Patience Produces Professionalism
Creating next gen leaders takes time, whereas gaining a social media following is more of a quick-fix. Tweets are quick. Blogs and vlogs are quick. Podcasts are quick.
Can such technology provide the world with fingertip knowledge for the sake of growth and flourishing? Sure. But it can also offer a deceptive kind of growth. Technology delivers head knowledge that doesn’t always lead to personal development.
But actual mentorships offer a closeness and vulnerability not found through one-way consumerism.
Strong relationships take time. Young people can learn a lot about a CEO they admire from afar. But how often do they join him or her on their commute home, help their family prepare dinner, change their kids’ diapers or sit down to a meal with them and their spouse? You can’t experience that in a tweet.
And you can open that door. Chances are very good that your next star employee will come because of it.
As Emerson once wrote, “Our chief want in life is somebody who will make us do what we can.” YOU can be that person for another, and your business and your life might grow richly from the experience.
How do mentorships affect your life? I would be interested to hear ways you see mentorship done well. As always, let us know if there is any way we can help.
Feel free to forward this article to a business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance. While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for families and business owners.
A.L. Taylor and Associates, PC