How to make the transition from being a mentee to becoming a mentor?

It is well-known that mentors are important characters that help with the professional development of individuals. This is not an exception for law students who plan to one day become successful attorneys or start their own law firms. Mentors help to break that gap between experienced attorneys and the ones who just graduated from law school.

Mentorship needs to be a both-sided relationship between two individuals: the mentor and the mentee. Mentorship should be enriching and mutually beneficial. However, it is important to consider that all mentors needed to be mentees and that is why it is so important to find the right mentor. Depending on the type of mentor you have will be the type of mentor you will become.

In order for mentees to become great mentors, they need to receive great knowledge from their mentorship experience. Wisdom and useful advice are also important to set some standards and references for the future law mentor.

In this article, Suzzanne Uhland will review what is to be a law mentor and how do mentees take that step to become successful law mentors.

Related: How Mentors Inspire Their People Everyday

Being a mentee

As a mentee, your responsibility is to choose a mentor that can actually suit your needs. This is very important in law since you are only allowed to specialize in certain fields under that approval of a mentor. A mentor is not necessarily someone who sings in for the role. It can be anyone you are close to during the last years of law school or right after graduating from it.

Many mentors come in the shape of superiors who happen to work at the same place that you do. This is why it is very important for you to be surrounded by professionals that can give some key information and advice to your formation. This means that as a mentee you probably won’t have a boss who is constantly lecturing. But, a figure who is always willing to answer questions and help you grow professionally.

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Sometimes, those who once were mentees and now are mentors look back at the history and realize that some of their best mentors were not formally described as such. They were individuals with whom they could hold an enriching professional relationship with.

Those who are about to become mentors after being mentees should always keep in mind the important pieces of advice they once received from their mentors. Being a law mentee is about having the opportunity to observe, meet, and building long-lasting relationships. This happens because in the future you will want to share your skills, knowledge, and connections with those you are mentoring.

Becoming a mentor

Having said that, how do you make the transition from being a mentee to becoming a mentor? There are different answers to this question.

First, as a law mentee, you will have many mentors along your career. This will mean that you will know many attorneys and they will know you back. Having a nice background is highly important to become a successful attorney.

In many cases, a former mentee who is now a successful attorney will become a mentor by simply helping those individuals who just got out of law school. This way, the person who used to be a mentee will start to give hints, advice and pass knowledge to a new generation of attorneys who are eager to learn. This mentor – mentee relationship won’t be formally established but will help the mentee take the right path.

Another way for a former mentee to become a mentor is thanks to the law-student decision. It has been said that mentorship is a both-sided relationship. This is how many law-students or recently graduated lawyers look out for the type of mentor they want to have. After this research takes places, they will approach to their potential mentor to start a mentorship relationship.

When both the mentor and the mentee feel comfortable and find common ground to grow a mutually beneficial relationship, the mentoring process starts. However, this is not yet a formal mentoring relationship. It is an agreement between two people on the sharing of knowledge and experiences.

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The last way in which a former mentee can become a law mentor is by actually growing as an attorney. This will mean that the attorney will have a determinant background in the law practice. Also, it will mean that it is a successful and knowledgeable figure. When this happens, usually a law association spots the former mentee and offers it to become a mentor.

There are some associations in the United States who are dedicated to helping law-students become experienced and well-rounded professionals. These associations look for mentor candidates based on the student’s needs and want.

Bottom line, there is not only one way in which a law mentee could become a mentor. It is a process in which knowledge is gradually gained. It is also a new step that needs to be taken in order to help the new generations of attorneys to come be successful.

How To Boost Your Career By Mentoring

Mentoring is a practice that is becoming more commonplace today in companies that are successful and also care about the development and growth of their employees in both personal and professional fields. Here at Suzzanne Uhland’s Blog, we have explored the many reasons mentorships benefit the individuals involved in the relationship directly and how the company is indirectly greatly enhanced as well by providing the space, guidance, and motivation to harness mentoring as a tool towards evolution.

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In your own career progression, we are sure you can recall the times when you had to learn about a process or find a way to deal with a situation and realized you were faced with learning opportunities. After that, you became aware when these situations repeated themselves and were able to act accordingly based on your own experiences or if you were lucky enough, according to the teachings you received from a coach or mentor you had. Lastly, there is a time in which you are faced with being able to pass your knowledge down to others.

Teachings are in itself a very rewarding experience, but are there other things that I can expect to receive when investing my time and energy as a mentor? Are there other ways to boost my career by participating as an active member in a mentoring program and lending my time towards helping mentees grow personally and professionally?

Teaching is learning

Teaching is a powerful tool that allows you truly gauge your understanding of how things work. People have a tendency to believe that they understand concepts better than they really do. Through teaching, you actually become aware of your understanding as you try to instruct others on procedures or ideas. When you show someone how to do something, you understand details that you may have overlooked before, and thus you gain a deeper understanding yourself and learn from your own instructions as a result.

Building bridges

Having a great relationship with colleagues and coworkers is something that greatly aids the progression of your career. This type of internal networking allows you to have a closer relationship with the people you share your work with and that way you can ensure that people are collaborating and looking out of each other. Mentoring is an excellent way to strengthen those bonds and to create new ones with incoming personnel that has just arrived at the company or who have started their progression through the ranks.

Seeing your worth

Mentoring helps you evaluate your own career advancement and gain perspective in how much you have accomplished. When you are a mentor, you can see how far you have gotten by sharing this time with people who is just getting started in their own profession. Being able to see how you can contribute to the advancement of others and how influential those contributions become is truly uplifting.

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Leadership development

As a mentor, you have to guide and oversee people from different backgrounds and with diverse sets of skills, something that will truly test the potential of your leadership and management skills. Everything about being a leader from the way you deal with adversity in the manner you communicate with others will be tested when you become a mentor. This type of practice will only make you a much more capable manager.

Learning new skills

Everyone you meet can teach you something new. In a mentor-mentee relationship, that statement rings as true as ever because both individuals are given a great opportunity to exchange ideas and learn from each other in a real-world environment. Do not underestimate how much you can receive from your mentees even when you are the one who is supposed to be mentoring because in most cases both of those terms are interchangeable.

The organization

When you help others become more competitive and advance in their careers, you are at the same time strengthening the organization and giving back to the profession. As a leader, you know that the accomplishment of the mission is just as important as the welfare of the members of the company when you mentor you are helping address both of these factors.

Talent retention

Talented individuals should be retained, and a company must do everything within their power for these people to not just stay in the organization, but to never feel like they have a reason to leave. Mentoring is one of the ways you can contribute to the creation of an environment that makes workers feel appreciated and valued by the company.

Seeing the bigger picture

Mentoring gives you the opportunity to gain perspective from different levels of the organization. Sometimes your own privilege as a senior employee blinds you from seeing the issues that other members must face. This insight is unique and extremely valuable and being in a mentoring relationship allows you to have direct access to that particular stream of information.

 

The Best Uses For Technology In Mentoring Inside Today’s Workplace

Today more than ever, technology is a present influence in every single aspect of our lives. We are using it to stay in touch with those who are far away, it helps us make our jobs a lot easier, we can entertain ourselves but also study, learn and have knowledge about the world we live in, available right at our fingertips.

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That ubiquitous nature of technology has made it so that we always try to find ways to fit it into all of our activities and figure out how we can enhance the way we interact with the things that surround us. When it comes to mentoring, the situation is no difference, as a matter of fact it becomes more than simply a choice that we may feel inclined to consider, it is something absolutely necessary in order to fully take advantage of the tools at our disposal and how we can use them to give mentoring a wider reach and a more effect application. Technology can affect mentoring at the personal level, meaning where the rubber meets the road and the mentor and mentee actually convene to look at realistic work plans to go about achieving their goals. New technological advances are also crucial when it comes to putting together a mentoring program for a company, as these important resources will shape the way the program works, how participants are matched and what sort of impact can be expected from being part of this initiative.

Convenience is one of the main factors that technology enhances and brings with it when involved in mentoring. Starting for example with the breakdown of geographical barriers, as mentor and mentee do not have to be in the same place in order to work together. The location is no longer a hindrance when it comes to finding a mentor, or even a group of mentors that can help someone achieve its goals and grow. Not having to stay in one place in order to receive guidance can help mentees use their time wisely and dedicate energy to their mentoring process that would otherwise be wasted with traveling, or by settling under the wing of one mentor that can only help them with one area of their process. The convenience of technology can allow you to have a coach that can help you find balance with the way you handle your personal affairs and creativity, while also giving you the chance of having a professional relationship with another mentor who aids you with career advancement within your own field of work.

Another great advantage that technology brings to the world of mentorships is the way that it has made communication between people so seamlessly. Constant communication between mentor and mentee is one of the cornerstones of a successful professional relationship and nothing has revolutionized the way we communicate like the new technologies. Today you can have video meetings on the go, send pictures, files, videos and audio files with a tool that you can both carry inside your pockets and that keeps you connected to the largest network in existence. Communication within the new technologies are erasing any type of issues that could have arisen in earlier times when planning how to maintain mentorships partners connected.

Reports, documents, and files pertaining the mentoring process can also be accessed by partners with a simple click through one of the many cloud services that make them editable by all parties involved and immediately update any changes made to them. Remember that having a well-placed system for gauging progress can sometimes be just as important as the progress itself

Training is another aspect that has changed so much and so quickly, that we can laugh today by thinking of our reactions if we were told 15 years ago, that you could find so much training, resources and research material online and that you could access all of it from your phone. Companies are understanding this and seeing the great benefits that it brings to their employees. E-learning paired with mentoring programs that are relevant and that take advantage of technology are great not just for the mentees, but also for mentors who in most cases, are people susceptible to continue using time-tested practices but tend to ignore technological breakthroughs that could exponentially enhance their own methods.

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Technology breaches the gap that sometimes appears when we talk about mentoring being a two-way street, as younger generations are better adapting to the changes innovation brings about and can contribute to the partnerships by coming up with strategies and ways to use those technologies to make the most out of the mentorship. Working together to find these strategies is an excellent exercise for participants and also a great way to adjust your mentorship to benefit all parties involved at the moment, and perhaps even those who will come afterwards.

For more great articles on mentoring and how you can make it work for you, check out our publications at Suzzanne Uhland’s Blog.

How To Set Up A Mentoring Program

The benefits that a mentoring program can offer your company are many and we have even covered them here before on Suzzanne Uhland’s blog. The importance of mentorship programs to employee career progress and advancement of company leadership is evident and an opportunity that every organization should seriously consider as a stepping-stone of its own success. One of the most alluring aspects of a mentorship program is the fact that is relatively free for the company because it utilizes resources the company already has in order to offer employees a training opportunity.

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So how should you go about it? What is the best way to get your mentoring program started in a way that will cause the most impact and positively motivate your employees to actively participate and proudly promote?

The very first thing to do when you are thinking about implementing a mentoring program in your company is to take the time to clearly define what is the exact purpose of the program. What specific benefit do you wish to achieve from creating the program and offering it to your team? Identifying the needs of your company is absolutely crucial to defining the goals of your program and tailoring those aims to answer the demands of the current status of the organization. A mentoring program cannot be created thinking it will be a one-size-fits-all solution for your company, instead, you should focus on a particular aspect and you will most likely see that other benefits will come as inevitable but welcomed side-effects. If you want to create a mentoring program to welcome new employees and help them get acquainted with the culture of the organization and their role in the company, you need to plan that strategy differently from that of a program geared towards conserving top talent or developing leadership skills from your potential future managers. A successful mentoring program should be planned with both flexibility and structure in order to give participants the clarity of goals to be achieved while at the same time cater to their specific individual mentoring needs.

Finding participants for the programs is the next logical step after the structure of it is set in place. It is obvious that the novelty of a mentoring program will create a lot of expectations and normally these initiatives are met with enthusiasm and curiosity. However, it is important to take advantage of this momentum and turn it into actual participation. Don’t believe for a second that simply being interested in the program means that possible participants are already aware of its benefits. One of the main reasons these programs seldom fail is due to lack of promotion, so putting in place a strategy to let team members learn about the existence of mentoring initiatives is just as important as actually educating them on the many benefits of participation. Stakeholders and key personnel at the top of the organization also need to be properly introduced to the concept of the program and its advantages.

Making the program attractive to mentors is also of high importance. In a way, mentors are the most valuable assets a mentoring program has, so you need to be focus on strategies that make participation attractive for them in such way that they are motivated to make time out of their busy schedule and dedicate it to mentoring interested individuals. Remember mentoring is a two-way street and those being guided are getting a benefit that is comparable to those that are given the opportunity to set an example and provide advice on someone else’s professional development; a commendable endeavor that can teach them a lot about their own skills and setbacks.

Matching participants is something else that requires planning, dedication and it can be considered one of the most challenging aspects of creating a mentoring program.

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Those interested in being part of a mentoring initiative will bring all kinds of backgrounds, skills, learning styles and individual needs that must be considered in order to provide them with the best environment for growth and also the best opportunity to give back. Instead of simply finding a way to dictate matching from high up the chain, it would be a lot more beneficial to allow for the process to be more organic by allowing mentees to have a say in the pairing process. Regardless of how you go about this, it is important to consider profiling participants and gathering enough information about them individually in order to best find strategies for matching to at least have a place to start. Sometimes people like to work with others whom they share interests with, graduated from the same alma matter or at least have similar views on some subjects.

In some cases, one mentor can be assigned to a group of individuals instead of simply pairing them with one single person, all of that depends on the organization and the desires of those involved with the program.

 

8 Ways Mentoring Can Benefit Your Company

A mentoring program in the workplace is a great tool to provide junior or new employees with guidance about the organization, their place within the market and their own professional future. By having a mentoring program, a company can benefit its members throughout all levels of the organizational structure, something that logically will help the company grow and become more competitive and efficient.  

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Here in Suzzanne Uhland’s Blog, we have talked about many aspects of the mentoring relationship and how it benefits both parties involved, but today we want to use the opportunity to focus more on the organization. Companies are the breeding grounds of mentoring relationships and being such, they are also greatly benefitted by promoting, sponsoring and encouraging the continuous utilization of this amazing business tool. Mentors, employees, organizations and the professions involved are all beneficiaries of the great work that can be accomplished through mentoring and that is why companies that employ this tool and take it seriously can see the difference compared to those that choose not to.

Employee Career Development

Everybody knows that employees that are educated and given the time and tools to worry about their own career development, will become even more valuable to the organization and will most likely choose to stay on board longer. It goes a long way to educate your workforce as they will become more efficient and at the same time understand how much the company cares about their own future. Mentoring is a way to continue the education of your employees and enhancing their value for the organization.

Lower Turnover

As we mentioned before, happy and educated employees will stay with the company. The reduction of turnover rate is not something that is affected only by the training of your employees, but also by many other factors that makes them feel valued within the company. Your mentors are key into the reduction of those turnover rates as their advice is crucial to their mentees and their help building the skills necessary to stay relevant and overcome possible professional frustration and adversity.

Development of Company Leadership

Mentees are undergoing valuable training that is turning them into the future leaders of your company. At the same time, your current leadership is polishing their skills and facing daily challenges provided by their participation in the mentoring program. These programs are one of the greatest ways to enhance leadership skills in the organization without having to go outside seeking that training.

Time Saving

Mentoring programs are great at saving time spent finding solutions to challenges and answers to concerns that may be raised by your workforce. Mentors are also great tools for training your new employees and thus reducing the time they have to spend in formal training when taking a more “on-the-job” approach. This way of training is great because it introduces the employees to the challenges of the real world instead of the possible scenarios they can find in a training classroom. The quality of mentoring doesn’t compare and it will prepare your people better for what they will have to face in the market.

Diversity

Mentoring is a great way to bring employees together to share their opinion, knowledge, and ideas in a way that is not as formal and that allows for a more comfortable platform for an exchange of that information. We all understand the immense importance of a workforce that is diverse and that is able to bring all of those skills together in order to enrich their work experience.

Perspective

Mentors and mentees can provide each other with a unique perspective about the way they approach challenges. These types of exchanges are extremely valuable for all parties involved, including the company itself. Think about the way mentees are able to see things from the perspective of your customers more often than employees that have been with the company for long. That type of insight can also be reserved when a person who has been with the organization for a long time, is able to teach their mentee how the goals of the company align with everyday operations.

Networking

Business mentors occupy their position because of all the hard work and experience they bring to the table. It is obvious that these types of people understand the business environment quite well and can help mentees find contacts with people who may be the solutions they are looking for in their own predicaments. Companies are greatly benefited by having employees who are well connected within the organization just as much as if they are also well connected externally.

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Someone To Talk To

Mentors are great people for mentees to vent about their own frustrations within the organization in a way they feel safe and that will give answers considering not just one side, but instead the entire spectrum of the issue. Mentoring partners always work together to find solutions, so giving that opportunity to your employees will save you the trouble of people leaving your company because they feel they do not have a place where to voice their concerns.

 

Why Are Mentoring Programs Important For Organizations?

Mentoring is an area of the professional development that increasingly is having a greater influence in companies. There is a reason that many businesses prefer to promote the value of the figure of the mentor.  Mentoring is cost-effective.  The company’s own employees have this authority, this challenge.  It is a strategy that has become innovative in terms orientation and support.

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So, having a mentoring program is a great tool for human resource development in organizations.  It has been demonstrated that mentoring programs provide benefits both for mentees and mentors as well as for the organization.  When it is implemented properly, the organization will have a simple and effective way to help new or young employees receive support, help them understand the organizational vision, share experiences, provide useful networking, help them get used to the demands, challenges and tasks of the workplace and enjoy other benefits.   

Here are some reasons that will show the importance of mentoring program in an organization.  

  • Mentoring encourages a sense of belonging and employee retention: When a mentor, passionate about his job, accompanies a new employee in the process to show him the way, this newcomer will have a sense of belonging and will feel that the company is the right place to be.  Being a part of a mentoring program from the beginning will enrich the experience in the company, both for the mentor who is collaborating and for the recruits.

  • Mentoring values individuals:  The companies that incorporate mentoring into their work philosophy are those that focus beyond the results of tasks, to invest in the worker as an essential and valuable element of a team.  Mentoring is essential for workers not to feel as a mere number, but someone whose is valuable as an individual who either deserves care and guidance (mentee) or provides leadership and advice (mentor).

  • Mentoring encourages commitment:  being a mentor not only requires an important level of commitment, but it increases the sense of identification and creates emotional ties with the company.  Mentors confirm their responsibility, and reaffirm the organizational values they have learned by passing on the baton to their mentees.  Mentors that are part of these programs have a sense of purpose and feel more satisfied about their role in the company.

  • Mentoring provides feedback:  the need of feedback comes from the search for improvement.  New people in an organization need constant feedback, clear guidelines and tools for revision and renovation.  A mentoring program allows an organization to be close to its employees, know about them, know about how they feel to help in any eventuality or dealt with risky situation with new employees.

  • Mentoring preserves organizational culture and values:  Each organization has its own cultural legacy, which can be easily communicated through mentoring by means of the direct communication and interaction between senior professionals and the new recruits. Mentoring programs are concerned with developing professionals who can be part of the organizational culture of the company, in a way that this organizational culture and values can endure and the employees can keep them for years to come. Organizational culture and environment have to prevail.

  • Mentoring encourages healthy work relationships:  the bond that is built between mentor and mentee through the program is hard to forget.  Having a mentor provides interpersonal relationships that are easier to start, become meaningful and inspiring, not only for those that are involved, but promotes a healthy organizational environment as well. Mentees tend to feel more comfortable when interacting with a colleague.
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Mentoring should never be considered as something isolated, but rather considering the goal of its implementation.  The human resource department should identify and appoint potential mentor analyzing the possible assistance they can provide.  

The purpose of mentoring will never be to create a dependent relationship between mentor and mentee, but a human relationship that is enriching and rewarding for both. In addition, although it is the mentor who primarily shares his experience and knowledge, he also learns and is challenged by the questions and desire of learning shown by the mentee.

Offering professional training will help employees but a mentoring program is a great complement for that.  Training will only cover the formal technical part, but mentoring is about conveying, not only knowledge, but expertise, experience, stories of success and failure, methods for dealing with criticism, stress and emotions in the workplace.  

To sum up, what is the main reason why a company must implement such a program?  Because it potentialize the individual human talent of workers -and more importantly – it adds a component of enjoyment in the organizational environment; the emotional reward makes a positive impact on the level of motivation. This is essential to prevent job desertion, stress and chronic anxiety.  Increasingly, many companies are using mentoring as part of their organizational policies, and results will be seen.

So it is time for a mentoring program: here is how to get started.

So your company is at the point where they need to hire or train new staff to keep growing. What to do? Where to start? Of course, human resources departments have many strategies that help find the right people for the company and have strategies to make employees feel happy within the company. But you want something different, a different approach that can take advantage of the resources you already have. Here is where you know you have to start a Mentoring Program and that this decision has to be one that has an exclusively positive impact. Mentoring can improve employee satisfaction and retention, enrich new-employee initiation, make your company more appealing to recruits, and train your leaders.

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Another advantage of mentoring programs is that most of them are free. Yes, there are many training programs and course that cost money (and they are worth every cent), but mentoring programs use the resources that your company already has. Let’s take a quick view on how to get started and the things you need to make the program work if you are a small company with a great vision or if you are a big company looking for strategies to train your staff:

First, identify the real need and create a structure:

Before even thinking of a mentoring program you need to ask yourself why do you need this program and who is it aimed at. The company has to define what the objective of the program will be and the target. So, if you are aiming for higher minority retention rates, your program will be structured differently than if you were trying to develop leaders, teach a specific skill, or welcome newcomers to your organization.

Another important thing is that you need to develop a program that fits with your company and that aligns the structure of your program with the culture of your company. If your company is extremely formal, it would be advisable to have a formal application process, with timetables and deadlines for the duration for the mentoring relationships (typically mentoring relationships last between six months and two years, depending on the goal of the mentee). If your company is informal, it might be okay to match people up and then let them figure out the logistics. But it is of most importance to at least set the game rules and objectives so the program does not shift to a different place.

Second, pairing mentors and mentees.

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There are many types of mentoring programs and many companies that change, redesign and reinvent the programs that already exist. Some companies, like Morgan Stanley, use group mentoring, others use peer mentoring, others bring in an expert for facilitated mentoring, some other companies  have lower-level employees teach higher-level employees in reverse mentoring, and others even use a speed-dating format for “flash mentoring.” Bottom line is that mentoring is about putting people together to learn something that will bring a benefit in the future. So, pairing mentees and mentors is the core activity for the mentoring process.

It sound incredible, but this is the area where corporate academics know the least about. Surprisingly, there are some companies that have applied the mentoring program like a dating service. Tammy Allen, a professor of psychology at the University of South Florida and co-author of Designing Workplace Mentoring Programs: An Evidence-Based Approach, says that “You can almost think about this as some type of dating service. There are some companies that actually purchase from vendors that have created these algorithms that are used to match mentors and protégés almost like an eHarmony system for dating.” Tammy also says that the programs in which the participants have some input are usually the most successful. You should read your company carefully to understand which people to match. Allowing your employees to have a say in this process is very important because mentoring programs are about relationships and not only information.

Educate about the process

So now your mentors and mentees are ready to go off to work, first educate them a little bit on what they will be doing, why it is important to have a mentoring program, what to expect from the program and what format will be used. This could be done informally as this will prepare mentors and mentees on what will come in the future. There are a lot of formats you can use to do this such as classroom-style discussion, hiring someone to host a “mentoring bootcamp,” or you can speak to mentors and mentees separately and then bring them together to discuss.

Mentoring programs work for any type of company. Apart from using these 3 small steps before even starting, you can play with the program so you can fit it to your company and its corporate environment.