Sowing Seeds – Mentoring musings from OPEC’s MD

In a world of instant gratification and mass consumption, it’s sometimes hard to take the long view when it comes to environmental stewardship. It must be said that thirty years of butting heads with corporates, governments and bureaucracies to remediate the environment has left me at times a little jaded about the future. Still….. hope burns eternal in the human heart, so I persist in my mini-mission to pave the road to global salvation one site remediation project at a time.

Given my sometimes less than idealistic outlook, you will appreciate that I was somewhat concerned when my niece asked if I’d mentor a couple of young kiwi guys setting out on their own journey in a start-up environmental engineering company.

It’s tempting amongst the cut and thrust of surviving as an exec in the commercial world to forget the value of mentoring. My initial response was that I should let them suffer for a decade or so like I did, but the family weight of guilt can be a heavy one, so I begrudgingly agreed.

Six weeks into the twelve-week mentoring program and I’m really delighted that I accepted the offer. Not only does it fast track these guys to get out into the world and do some good sooner, it also rejuvenates my ideals and reminds me of the joy that unbridled enthusiasm brings. It’s the proverbial win/win. What’s not to like?

So, to my colleagues in the green army, I challenge you to stop for a second and ask yourself – who is going to carry the flame into the future and how you can help them to make that job easier. I encourage you to seek out a formal mentoring program and enrol as a mentor or, if you have someone in mind, reach out to them on a regular basis (an hour or so a week should do the trick) and start the process of imparting your wisdom. Agreed, the pay is not all that good, but the benefits you sow may well last long after you’ve hung up the daisy chain.