An extraordinary mentor is one who makes the complex simple, is one who helps you discover the ideal path to achieve your goals, even one who helps you discover why you do what you do… in order words, what your purpose is. In recent months I have had the opportunity to run the first two editions of the certification program for Purpose Launchpad Mentors, and I must admit that I have also learned a lot from all of them. In this post summarize the most important elements that makes an extraordinary Purpose Launchpad Mentor to guide startups and corporates to make a massive impact.
We are all here to create something that did not exist before, we are all here for a reason. However, creating something new that provides value, in other words, innovation, is not easy. Most of entrepreneurs, startups and corporations that try to innovate fail. Purpose Launchpad integrates different innovation methodologies to help entrepreneurs and corporations to evolve their early stage ideas into purpose-driven organizations, minimizing risk and creating massive impact. The methodology itself establishes the role of the mentor to guide the initiative in the process to applying the methodology. Having a good mentor is key, even if we have great experience in innovation and entrepreneurship. In fact, something curious that happens as we learn is that the more we know, the more we realize that we know less. As Socrates said, "the more I learn, the less I realize I know”. The Purpose Launchpad methodology was launched on July 1 of this year and during the last months I have carried out the first two Certification Programs for Purpose Launchpad Mentors , which consist in 3 months where I work with the upcoming mentors in a very close way, in order to help them deeply understand the methodology and how to apply it to startups, corporations and even to their own projects to create a massive impact. However, in line with what Socrates used to say, I have been also feeling like a student. I've had the opportunity to learn from 36 other extraordinary people, and I couldn’t avoid sharing some of these learnings by summarizing, what I consider to be, the top ten aspects of extraordinary Purpose Launchpad Mentors:
1. Combine strategic vision and key details: As happens with good entrepreneurs, it is very important to be able to understand the project at a strategic level and, at the same time, to take care of the details; both are closely related. Sometimes trees don’t let us see the entire forest, so when there is a challenge the mentor job is to elevate the team’s perspective, so they understand what is happening and can approach the solution from another point of view. As Vittorio Sommella says, "the only way to solve certain problems is to raise the perspective of the team and make them understand from a strategic point of view how they can solve a problem that seemed just a tactical thing at the very beginning".
2. Know different innovation methodologies and tools, and apply them properly (which means not in a rigorous way). Purpose Launchpad is a meta methodology that includes multiple innovation techniques (such as Lean Startup, Customer Development, Design Thinking, Business Model Design, Exponential Organizations, Massive Transformative Purpose, etc.). Purpose Launchpad mentors must know all of them, although the important thing is not to apply them strictly, but to stay with their essence and help our mentees to use of them in the best way. As Pepe Tam says “the magic of Purpose Launchpad is to use our multidimensional mind and recover for each dimension our learnings on the methodologies that can give wisdom and guidance to our mentees according to their entrepreneurship phase and based on their scoreboard metric”.
3. Make the complex simple: There is a large amount of information that we must take into account when making the right decisions, as well as multiple tools and methodologies that we can implement to improve our initiative. As mentors, we always have to try to facilitate the understanding of the different methodologies, and the path forward to our mentees. As Suman Sasmal says, "Make the explanations even simpler, so that it sticks in the mind. Specially with stories, examples and anecdotes wherever possible!”.
4. Trust and follow the methodology: Purpose Launchpad and the methodologies inside it bring together the wisdom and experience of thousands of people, when our teams feel disoriented, it is only necessary to remind them of the importance of following the right path. As Sanjay Bhana says , “trust and follow the methodology, it works”.
5. Focus on the process and not on the content: As any other person, mentors will have their own opinion or ideas about the project they are mentoring. However, as good innovators, they know that any new idea is nothing more than a hypothesis that needs to be evaluated. For this and many other reasons, mentors should focus on guiding their projects along the way, advising them on what steps to take so they will evolve their own ideas. And, if at some point a mentors wants to give a specific idea to the team, they must make it very clear that it’s just an hypothesis that, like any other, must be properly evaluated. As Eric Patel says, "focus on the process and not on your own opinions."
6. Adapt to the team and to the moment: Each team is different and will require a different type and mentoring style. For example, if a team is knowledgably in 'Design Thinking', the mentor may suggest that they carry out a process of this type to find solutions to specific challenges. If the team did not know enough about 'Design Thinking', the mentor could give them concrete tasks (asking them to empathize with different groups of people, to define the main problem they have found, to brainstorm about possible solutions, etc.) that made them go through the process without even being aware of it. In the same way, depending on the phase in which the project is (exploration, evaluation or impact), the guidance given by the mentor will be totally different. As Cristiane Madureira comments, “the mentor should assess the team, including their knowledge on the methodologies and tools”.
7. Guide from experience: When we work with entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs or innovators in general, it is essential to have our own experience in similar projects. On the one hand, we will earn the respect of the people we work with them. On the other hand, we will be able to give practical examples based on our own experience. As Carolina Marcone says, “we are putting our experience at the service of team”.
8. Encourage and connect with the team: Developing an innovative initiative is difficult, the team will have ups and downs in terms of mood. A good mentor needs to connect with the team, with their people, on an ongoing basis to support them from an emotional perspective and help them find solutions in a rational way. Luis Marriott advises "motivate your team all the time, the ups and downs are normal, try to help them to understand the reasons behind the mood while keeping it as high as possible".
9. Celebrate learning: Startups are entities that need to learn to find their fit with the market and/or how to scale their impact. That’s why the fundamental unit of progress of startups is validated learning. For this reason, more than anything else, it is essential that we get used to celebrating with our teams when we get validated learning, either it’s related to a validation or invalidation of our previous hypotheses. As Paco Briseño says, “Encouraging an exploration mindset and motivate talking to customers as the main source of learning.”.
10. Have the right mindset and provides it to the mentees: The best way to evolve an organization or a project is by evolving the mindset of its people. In fact, Purpose Launchpad is a mindset, a way of seeing the world that will allow us to explore new possibilities with an open mind, and evaluating our innovative ideas considering that they are only hypotheses. Purpose Launchpad Mentors are not only knowledgeable about methodologies and tools, but they also have a very specific type of mindset (embodied in the eight Purpose Launchpad principles). As Crystal To says "have the right attitude, purpose-oriented, exploration, learning, innovation, keeping the user in the center and open-minded . ", which could be supplemented by what Felipe Valdebenito suggests: “contributing to our team’s mindset evolution”.
Extraordinary mentors should be open to learn from and to be mentored by their mentees, while evolving their mindset in the same way that they try to evolve the mindset of their teams. Purpose Launchpad is that: a mindset, a way of seeing the world, that allows us to achieve a massive impact.
P.S. Finally, I want to express my deepest gratitude to the mentors who have been part of the first two editions of the Purpose Launchpad Mentor certification program, you all trusted in the methodology, in me as a meta mentor and devoted your time and energy during these months, having taught me so much as well. I recommend that you all follow these people, their own initiatives and the projects that they mentor from now on. They will make and will also help others to make a massive impact!
Purpose Launchpad Mentor Certification Program (1st edition in English) :
Sanjay Ramanlal Gopal Bhana
Purpose Launchpad Mentor Certification Program (1st edition in Spanish)
Paola Hurtado Castillo placeholder image
Francisco Martinez Garcia
Purpose Launchpad Mentor Certification Program (2nd edition in English)
Paolo Maria Fincato
Purpose Launchpad Mentor Certification Program (2nd edition in Spanish)
Alvaro Espuny Contreras
Beatriz Romanos Hernando
Fernando De los Ríos
Linda Leslie Cortés Patiño
Manel Fernandez Jaria