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  • Writer's pictureChuck Cusumano

The Power of Mentors

“You’re cold… You’re getting warmer… You’re hot!... You’re on fire!” Even kids playing the “Hot or Cold” game know that to perform well, you need persistent guidance and helpful feedback to reach your goal. Without it, you’re wandering blindly, and may or may not stumble upon your end destination.

The idea in this child’s game shows why official performance appraisals have become often replaced by more routine evaluations, and why companies with growth mindsets are outperforming their competitors. It’s not about annual reviews, or discussing development only during designated coaching sessions. It’s about continuous learning, constant feedback, and repeated exposure to a variety of coaches and mentors.

In my life, I’ve had countless people giving me “hot” or “cold” directions, helping to guide me on my way. I keep my Grandmother’s adages in my head, even as an adult. When starting out my career in sales, I listened to training cassettes from Zig Ziglar in my car on my commute. Later down the line – but still back when videos were on tape! – I watched Brian Tracy videos until the tapes broke. While serving in the Air Force, I did parachute landing falls in the sawdust pits of Fort Benning until it became ingrained into my lifelong muscle memory.

After all, we become what we repeatedly do, and we become like whoever we choose to spend our time with. So, who are your “hot” or “cold” guides? Use them as references, knowledge points, and thought generators. Soon, their ideas become part of you and you start to create what is you! 

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