One of the most important characteristics prosperous entrepreneurs and famous business leaders share in common is the understanding that success is not the product of a one-man show, but instead is the result of multiple efforts coming from many individuals who have a common goal and a shared drive to see those efforts realized.
Someone once said that mentoring relationships are often not mentioned by some entrepreneurs when they talk about their methods and their road to success because they believe this to be a sign of weakness. Nothing could be further from the truth, as having a mentor shows that you have a willingness to learn and that you understand that you are not yourself a finished product, but instead an individual who has yet much to learn and is eager to do something about it. That type of mindset shows great strength and a keen sense of responsibility, something that is commendable and that sets the right example for others to follow.
Famous mentoring relationships are common today as many of these names that have become a staple, talk about their mentors with fondness and give much credit to these partnerships by counting them amongst one of the most important building blocks of their own success.
Richard Branson – Virgin
Richard Branson’s appreciation for mentors come from his early age and the lessons learned from his eccentric uncle Jim. Branson talks about how he saw in his uncle this ability to understand things that others simply mocked and weren’t able to fully comprehend.
These teachings are something that has always characterized Virgin’s CEO as a man who takes risks and that looks at the world from a different perspective. It is important to note that some of those risks aren’t always successful, but the ability to look past the preconceived notions of others is a great virtue that one should nurture.
When it comes to business he also gives a lot of credit to Sir Freddie Laker, especially during his times of struggle while trying to get Virgin Atlantic off the ground. Branson knows that having the courage to admit that a mentor can help you is one of the trademarks of a great leader.
Mary Barra – General Motors
Mary Barra is another outstanding leader who has been successful against all odds, especially during a time when the automotive industry was struggling like never before. She believes in the strength of mentorship as a multifaceted strategy that should address several aspects of the individual. Not only worrying about the business side, but also the personal growth of both people involved in the partnership. Barra talks about the importance of building a network of mentors while having in mind your mid-term and long-term goals in order to map out strategies to get there. She also talks about not having to always look up to seek your sources of strength but to also look at your peers and your employees as prospective allies in your path to growth.
Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook
More than 1 billion people are currently active on Facebook. When you talk about success, Facebook’s co-founder and CEO is one of the people you will most definitely think about. Mark Zuckerberg created a company that definitely changed the world and he attributes a lot of his success to one of the men who inspired him with his mentorship, that man was Steve Jobs. Jobs talked to him about the importance of building a team above anything else, and how it was so crucial to instill in that team a sense of accountability and focus on the mission at hand. It is important to understand that sometimes your mission needs to go beyond what it is that your company creates. He taught him about building something bigger than himself and being able to truly touch people’s lives.
Bill Gates – Microsoft
One of the most famous mentoring relationships in the world is probably that of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. Both Buffet and Gates are in the list of the world’s wealthiest men, and they have both built their empires from very humble beginnings. Gates has mentioned in numerous interviews that he great appreciates the way Warren Buffett helped him to learn to think in long-term and how setbacks are simply part of the journey to accomplishing bigger and better things. He also talks about the man’s ability to break down complex situations into simple concepts that can be easily analyzed and explained.
Bill Gates is not the only one who feels fortunate of having Buffet as his mentor. Warren Buffett himself admires the way Bill Gates handles wealth and how he feels that he has an intrinsic responsibility with the world and with using his position of privilege to change the world for the better.
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* Featured Image courtesy of Red Maxwell at Flickr.com