Do you remember when you bought your first car? Maybe your parents helped you, or you talked to a friend, or researched online. Regardless of your approach, you tapped into other sources of thinking to shape your decision making process.
And whether you’re twenty-five, or sixty-five, having someone to bounce ideas off of, guide you, or advocate for you, can be the difference between moving your finance career forward successfully, or making a wrong choice.
In the early stages of your career, you don’t know what you don’t know. A mentor can help you make decisions that position you for success. Whether it’s taking a certain job, or leaving a company, a mentor’s feedback can provide you with a different perspective. This, in turn, can lead to a more objective approach to career planning and decision-making.
A mentor can help you navigate office politics and be your advocate if the need arises. If you’re in a large company, a mentor can promote you to higher management and if your mentor changes roles they can take you with them.
Checks and Balances
CFOs are often making decisions that affect the whole company. Even at this level, a mentor can serve as a valuable check and balance to your thought processes. The CFO role is a high stress position and the ability to talk through difficult decisions with a mentor can help identify missing information, or formulate creative solutions to problems.
A mentor does not have to be someone more senior to you, although this can be particularly powerful. Ideally, they would be someone who understands your strengths and weaknesses. Their advice should be rooted in a genuine desire to see you succeed. They can give you advice at critical junctures, advocate for you and offer a balanced perspective when it comes to making decisions. That’s why, whether you’re a junior accountant or a CFO, everybody needs a mentor.