Dearth of mentorship, talent management in entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship has always been taken as a structured system with engineered processes rather than being human driven.

Entrepreneurship has always been taken as a structured system with engineered processes rather than being human driven.

Yes, to some extent especially in the advent of artificial intelligence where machines, robots and predictive software bring precision which humans are not able to do, there should be a balance.

Even with these technologies people at any level of the organisational hierarchy remain vital as assets for business longevity.

It is unfortunate that most of our businesses, especially small-to-medium enterprises, are shooting themselves in the foot by having leaders who  deliberately ignore the magic brought about  by unit of purpose and forecast employee growth through mentoring.

Surprisingly some founders and senior managers of our thriving entrepreneurial businesses have turned a blind eye on this intervention which gives sustainability for a sustainable  future  of their businesses.

As has been learned in the past that most of our entrepreneurial businesses die with their owners.

Something should be done for an effective succession plan.

Also, those organisations that are run through boards which are entrusted for growth have their directors/managers who have become so self-centred not to scout for talent and nurture it as  mentorship to future leadership of the enterprises.

This should be nipped in the bud before it becomes a culture across all sectors of our national/global economy.

It is with this background that we focus on the nitty-gritties that contribute to effective mentorship and talent management in our entrepreneurial businesses.

Most of our leaders have been on record for preaching the concept of mentorship as a desire of their enterprises but lacking in its full practise and implementation.

This has made it difficult to achieve this goal at all levels of operation.

To start with, there should be clear guidance on what is expected from the mentee rather than moving without a plan or a well-spelt direction.

There is a lot of potential in our entrepreneurial business to have mentees who will rise up to organisational excellence through their skills, but guidance lacks.

As founders/leaders of our entrepreneurial businesses we should develop tools, systems, flow chats, instructions and other forms of communication that clearly guide the potential mentee on what is supposed to be done.

Instead, most structures in most enterprises hide information, create silos and even unnecessary confusion which derails the smooth mentorship process as required by both the organisation and potential mentees.

 Remember that management (both senior and middle level) is at the pivot to make/break this configuration in the organisation.

Also, as we proceed it should be appreciated that not everyone can be a mentor or mentored for better positioning in the business.

The owner of a business should be able to use accurate tools/mechanisms that help to identify the suitable if not right mentors/mentees within the organisation.

 I have witnessed some organisations who are doing this in a haphazard manner which has proved to be a recipe for disaster.

This type of an approach will fragment the organisation into an irreconcilable state.

The reason being that mentors are supposed to be proven leaders in a certain discipline as they may become aggressive were a soft approach is needed, become jealous of potential talent that they should help go up, miscommunicate and quick to dismiss advise from the mentees.

There is need to have a mentor who is innovative, an all-rounder, with effective communication skills and also able to delegate.

That is by not having a mentor who craves for power but for transformative sharing through teamwork, honest, supportive and talent appreciation.

 This has been the reason for demise of our thriving entrepreneurial businesses when real mentors are not found to steer the ship. Food for thought!!!

Resources are critical in entrepreneurial mentorship and talent management. These might not be financial resources but also some intangible ones that give the needed support to both the mentor and mentee for a smooth flow engagement.

There is need to provide a conducive environment including break away times for direct training, providing assisting software, equipment and even exchange programs with other local/international organisations.

 In some instances you will find that the mentor/mentee will be well prepared with all leadership qualities but will not have the equipment/tools to demonstrate/implement excellence and so forth. Resources are at the equilibrium of mentorship success as we go forward.

 Lastly, therefore it is imperative to initiate mentorship through a talent management where the entrepreneur comes up with a clear strategy that not only develops talent within the organisation but goes beyond to attract experts outside.

This is critical in bringing in new knowledge rather than sticking to traditions and cultures that obsolete.

New mind-sets usually bring in innovation and improvement in processes.

It then calls for proper change management as old employees and other members always try to resist change.

In that manner highly skilled individuals will not leave the organisation as they will have a long-term sense of belonging for entrepreneurial longevity. Let’s try and position our entrepreneurial businesses now and going forward.   

*Dr Farai Chigora is a businessman and academic. He is the head of management and entrepreneurship at the Africa University’s College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance. His doctoral research focused on business administration (destination marketing and branding major, Ukzn, SA). He is into agribusiness and consults for many companies in Zimbabwe and Africa. He writes in his personal capacity and can be contacted for feedback and business at [email protected],, WhatsApp mobile: +263772886871

Related Topics