I’m a little behind in my New Yorker pile, but I recently came upon an article by a surgeon whose success rate had plateaued. His anticipation had been that his percentages would continue to increase but that didn’t match with reality.

His solution was to invite a retired surgeon in to observe and comment on his technique, much the way a tennis pro had recently gotten his serve back on track.

The results – for this man – were impressive. Small habits that he had gotten accustom to weren’t always the best paths to take. What was rote wasn’t necessarily best for patient or for others working in the O.R. with the doctor.

One of his aha moments was that it often took him a long time to realize that he wasn’t working in direct light but was instead working in less optimal reflected light. The article and that observation were both illuminating.

There is inherent risk in asking for that sort of evaluation. As you’ve invited someone in to comment, chances are more than good that you will get comments and the comments might not be all you’d hoped. You need to be willing to admit that there is room for improvement.

Today’s news contains headlines about Mark Zuckerberg returning to speak to Harvard students and also a revelation about conversations that he had with Steve Jobs. Part of the story is that while Zuckerberg sat listening to Jobs while an undergrad at Harvard it ignited some of the spark that got the machine that is Facebook rolling.

Jobs mentored Zuckerberg – in theory on how to build a strong team that would support his vision. Zuckerberg returns to Harvard, searching for interns to work with Facebook, providing new blood to FB and allowing FB to give them some guidance and direction.

Things don’t happen in a vacuum. There’s always an outside opinion worth entertaining, even if it doesn’t ultimately change much, the process of thinking through the commentary, reviewing it for potential and accuracy, can make you a stronger … well … anything.

Can you mentor someone? Take the time to help them perform better, grow stronger, attain their potential? Can you take a little mentoring yourself, listening to suggestions for change not as negativity but as opportunity?

The opportunities for education and educating never end. They are out there, all around you. Invite them in and see what happens!


Categories: General


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