The Plank Center recognizes and promotes the critical role mentors play in helping to develop leaders and advance the profession and honors leaders throughout the profession who, by word and deed, have demonstrated a superior commitment to mentoring others, and who are committed to accelerating the success of others in the field at its annual Milestones in Mentoring Gala.
Our question and answer series introduces the 2018 Milestones in Mentoring award recipients.
Meet Bob Feldman.
Bob Feldman is co-founder and partner of PulsePoint Group, a management and digital consulting firm with offices in Los Angeles and Austin. PulsePoint Group provides insight, strategy development and strategic execution for communications and marketing management challenges, with a special focus on social and digital engagement. Clients are generally among the Fortune 500 and from multiple industry sectors.
What is your role as a mentor? What inspires/motivates you to mentor?
The primary role of a mentor is to teach by example and to provide regular, “realtime” Real-time is essential; in the day-to-day experience, countless situations arise that are learning opportunities. A strong mentor tries to always find time to discuss those situations with his/her mentee. Conversations in the abstract, i.e. long after the fact, are dramatically less effective.
What have you found to be the most important key to having a successful mentor/mentee relationship?
Key to having a successful mentor/mentee relationship is hiring smart, intellectually curious, nice You can’t teach someone if they’re not interested in learning, and they can’t meet your standards if you don’t hire properly. This may sound obvious but the challenge so many companies face with succession planning is all the proof you need that many executives still don’t get this right.
How has your mentoring style changed over time?
Over the years I’ve gained a longer-term perspective. My coaching tends be less day-to-day tactical, and more strategy and values-based.
What is one powerful thing you’ve learned from mentoring someone different from you?
There are many styles that can be successful. But one constant is a bundle of attributes almost always associated with high performers: passion for the business; optimism; generosity; orientation towards team-play; intellectual curiosity; high personal standards. Bottom line about different people: different styles can all be very effective, but almost all successful people have similar underlying values.
There is a myriad of changes around us. What issues have or will become a “wake up call” to the profession?
Our profession, like many others, is undergoing radical change. Digital transformation of business has meant deep inter-dependencies among marketers, HR, IT, Comms and often others. The distinction of marketing and communications is rapidly blurring; marketers are often recommending and managing what used to be thought of as “PR campaigns;” PR agencies are selling more and more to the CMO and getting more of their agencies’ revenue from marketing budgets. What does this mean? The future is robust but marketing and comms will continue to be integrated. For smart, high performers in the comms space that will represent unprecedented career growth opportunity because they may engage in and one day oversee marketing, as well; for others, this integration may represent a ceiling if they can’t learn to be fluent in disciplines beyond PR.
What’s your favorite way to spend a Saturday?
My regular golf game in the morning with my buddies; relaxing in the afternoon; a great evening out with my wife.
If given the choice to trade places with anyone (living or dead) for one day, who would it be and why?
One day only: Mickey Mantle. I want to play center field for the New York Yankees.
Favorite place to vacation and why?
Sailing in the British Virgin Islands. Beyond relaxing. Heaven.
My leadership tip is… be normal. So many bad bosses, leaders. Don’t adopt corporate baggage.
My mentorship tip is… be real, be honest, be positive.
Every mentor is… or was a mentee. They don’t know everything!
Go-to news source… The New York Times.
Lesson that took you the longest to learn… You have two ears and only one mouth for a reason.
Habits in your daily routine that strengthen your leadership skills… Knowing what’s going on in the world; physical well-being; passion and energy for my work.
More from Bob Feldman:
- Plank Mentor Speech
- Student Mentoring Session (2018)
- Plank Center News: Honoring Seven Influential Mentors