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Weekly Digest: Real Mentorship in Action
How great mentorship helped American Express' CEO make it to the top
Welcome to my weekly digest for October 6, 2023, with the best articles from around the web and a roundup of my recent writings and appearances.
Real Mentorship in Action
I mentioned three weeks ago that one of the core functions of mentors is to give you visibility into all the negative things people are already thinking and saying about you behind your back - and helping you overcome them.
A Financial Times profile of American Express CEO Steve Squeri shows this in action. He has a mentor who did similar things for him that mine did for me.
He is the grandson of Italian and Irish immigrants and the son of an accountant who worked nights and weekends at Bloomingdale’s department store to make ends meet. During his studies at Manhattan College, Squeri lived at home, and he had never been on an aircraft until he joined a training programme at what is now the consulting group Accenture.
Four years later he moved to Amex. There, his Queens accent and cheap suits stuck out so badly that an executive took him aside. “You have a really sharp mind, but the rest of you needs a lot of work,” he said. “[Senior managers] tend to use all the letters of the alphabet when they talk.”
The mentor took Squeri shopping, arranged for elocution lessons and even organised sessions with a cultural anthropologist so the younger manager would feel comfortable when he was sent to the group’s overseas offices. “I’m an example of how anybody can get to the top with a lot of hard work and having people that run the company that . . . are looking at individuals broadly and not judging books by their cover,” Squeri says. [emphasis added]
This mentor saw a diamond in the rough guy and made it his business to polish him up. This sort of thing is worth its weight in gold. Not only did it benefit Squeri personally, as he went on to become CEO of a major global corporation, it also benefited the company itself, which has profited under his leadership.
Again, note how invasive this is. Good mentorship gets uncomfortable.
Not everybody needs elocution lessons, but whenever you look at a CEO type person, just know that he has benefitted, and continues to benefit from enormous amounts of coaching.
If you don’t have a mentor like Squeri and I did, then you are at a major disadvantage in your career. In case you missed it, here’s my article on the topic.
Best of the Web
NY Post: Trevor Bauer reveals texts, bed video as he and accuser settle lawsuits - Trevor Bauer is a Cy Young award winner who was run out of major league baseball after being falsely accused of sexual assault. After suing his accuser, he was able to “get the receipts” as they say, that disproved her accusations and suggests she targeted him to get money. I’ll bet the evangelical “justice” crowd won’t have much to say about this.
But it is worth noting: if Bauer hadn’t been out having sex with women, he probably would not have ended up in this situation.
Wired: Men Overran a Job Fair for Women in Tech - A lot of men showed up at a tech job fair advertised as for women. Women have insisted on being included in every formerly all male space, so there’s no reason for men not to do the same the other direction.
AP: America’s nonreligious are a growing, diverse phenomenon. They really don’t like organized religion - the negative world. I think it’s probably more accurate to say they really don’t like organized Christian religion, as I doubt any of them would publicly express antipathy to any other specifically named religion.
Christian Post: Mainline Protestant pastors more likely to be liberal than their congregants - It’s been this way for over a century. And the same is true in evangelical churches too.
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New Content and Media Mentions
This panel at some conference down in Florida has a pretty funny take on me starting at 19:50.
My podcast this week is a discussion with Eric LeFevre about the Concordia-Seminex Affair in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. This is one of the rare cases where conservatives retook an institution that had been completely captured by liberals. Note that the terms refer to historic theological debates, not politics as currently understood.
Paid subscribers can read the transcript.
New this week:
My Wall Street Journal op-ed on why men are turning to online influencers instead of traditional authorities and institutions.
I also wrote about that op-ed here, and said why I am declaring a “jubilee year” regarding some other statements by younger pastors.
By Men, For Men - If mainstream society wants to reach men, it needs to elevate male voices