All of my industry- related experience is with SME’s. I am grateful for that as it gave me a wonderful insight into how other departments and functions interlinked to produce the products and services.
Due to their size, many of the support functions in SME’s are stand alone roles, as mine was. The pro’s are obvious. You very quickly have to take control and get stuck in, sometimes making it up as you go along! Relationship building is hugely important as support from others is the key to one’s success.
Here is where I think formal mentoring initiatives would be so valuable to small companies in terms of supporting and developing their staff. If we say that mentoring is a process whereby experienced, highly regarded, empathetic people guide others in the development of their ideas and learning, then I’d say that there are gems of such mentor type people in every small and medium organisation in the country.
Imagine the wealth of experience that could be shared with others for the ultimate greater good of the staff and the company. Wouldn’t it be nice to see the MD mentoring the newly qualified design engineer or the Purchasing Manager mentoring the Sales Exec? Time is a scarce resource in many organisations. This would be time well invested.