Sure, you’re an accomplished leader and many of your achievements were driven by your vision, determination and sweat. But, even “self-made” moguls need a leg-up from wise teachers and have dedicated staff with them when they reach the highest elevations. Steve Jobs was mentored by Bill Campbell and Jobs mentored Mark Zuckerberg and they led large teams.
Mentorship is a time-tested method to develop the skills required to get to where you want to go in all types of operations — including WISPs.
And as Jobs shows, it’s not a one-way street. Yes, you benefit from long-time WISP-ers experience; but, you should also be educating staff members and colleagues who are new to the industry. Here are the benefits of mentoring and being part of a mentoring relationship:
Create Your Own Think Tank
A WISP doesn’t come with a blueprint for success — trial and error is a necessity. When you’re establishing backhaul links over challenging terrain, tricky software and hardware integrations or trouble-shooting complex network issues, you can’t just look up the resolution in a textbook.
If you can’t resolve network problems fast, you risk losing subscribers, profit and future growth opportunities. When you have people to discuss your challenges, plans and ideas with, your think tank team can develop multiple scenarios and help uncover the solution that works best for the situation. You don’t have to create your own, you can join Facebook groups WISP Talk and Everything WISP to get opinions from other smart WISPs.
Learn How to Give and Receive Feedback
As a leader, you must have confidence in your abilities. But, as a success-minded business person, you can’t allow that confidence to devolve into “ego” and stop you from moving forward.
Even humble leaders can get upset over negative feedback, no matter how well-intentioned. By shutting down alternative suggestions without examining them, you miss out on suggestions that could save you thousands of dollars. Welcome and encourage feedback and develop an investigative approach to all viable ideas.
And, when providing feedback, be sensitive so that the opinion is received as helpful rather than insulting or rejection. By taking part in a regular think tank, you can develop the sensibilities to give and receive feedback to advance.
Having Confidantes Reduce Stress
Running any business is stressful. It’s even more stressful when you have no one to confide in and all of the decisions rest on you. When this happens long-term, you could experience stress-related issues, like heartburn, headaches, emotional eating and drinking that could lead to greater health issues.
When you have colleagues inside your organization and in the WISP community, you’re no longer alone and solely responsible for the direction of your enterprise. Even during difficult periods, your mentors and mentees not only lift your emotional burden but they can turn the difficulty into a learning experience.
WISP owners and operators don’t have to look very far for mentors. WISPA is a non-profit organization that aims to create an ecosystem to unify and develop the WISP industry. Attending one of the two conferences that WISPA sponsors gives you time to network and develop your own mentors.
Vendors like Visp.net also support WISP mentorship. They host CEO Roundtable meetings, a weekly discussion group or think tank made up of other WISP operators and they examine WISP operations — from towers and installation to business processes — from an insider’s perspective. The meeting is open to all Visp.net WISP clients and solution providers they choose to bring with them; call 541-955-6900 to reserve your spot.
Thank you, Annie Spratt for providing the image used in this article. You can find the artist’s work at Unsplash.com.