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Pankaj Srivastava believes mentorship is a vital topic. When he reflects on personal and professional experiences, he’s grateful for the mentors who pushed him, inspired him, and helped him realize his talents.

Pankaj is the CEO of Mentor Cloud, the world’s leading people development platform.

When asked to describe Mentor Cloud, Pankaj says the company helps organizations inspire their people to greatness.

“We’re building great enduring companies of the future,” Pankaj says. “When they connect people, there’s a freer flow of wisdom that empowers everyone to be their best. And that shows up in a company’s bottom line.”

Pankaj joined Carl Lewis, host of The Connected Enterprise podcast, to discuss mentoring and how to create a good mentoring relationship.

What Mentorship Is and Isn't

Pankaj defines mentorship as leveraging someone else’s genius for your benefit. If you’re seeking a mentor, he advises being clear about what you want to learn from someone else’s genius.

In Pankaj’s experience, one challenge is that people don’t think they have enough time for a mentor relationship—but he has reams of data to disprove that.

“Mentorship isn’t about how much time you spend with somebody,” Pankaj notes. “A 20-minute conversation can alter your life’s trajectory.”

Pankaj has experienced this firsthand. When he moved from Virginia to Silicon Valley, he took the first job he was offered—but had no idea how to do it. On his third day, Pankaj asked his new boss why he was hired.

“He laughed and said, ‘You showed me curiosity. When I want to innovate, I prefer curiosity over experience,’” Pankaj explains. “And because of that brief exchange, that’s how I’ve built my teams for 25 years now.”

An Amazing Journey

According to Pankaj, there are three components for a mentor and three for a mentee that guarantee a good mentoring relationship.

Mentors must be compassionate, non-judgmental, and committed to their mentee’s success.

Mentees must trust their mentors, act on their mentor’s advice, and show gratitude.

“Those are the three keys for being a great mentor and a great mentee,” Pankaj summarizes. “When you have those, you have amazingly beneficial journeys together.”

Mentorship and the Future

The nature of the workforce has changed.

“People are demanding a sense of purpose,” Pankaj explains. “They’re demanding social responsibility and personal growth.” Pankaj believes leaders who want to build thriving companies must fulfill these demands.

Mentoring is ideal for welcoming new hires, forming relationships, and building a company culture. “It’s a good starting point for a company to become a vital cog of business in this environment,” Pankaj says. “Mentoring creates the human connection that’s vital for onboarding the new workforce.”

Pankaj believes the exiting workforce is equally important. With nearly a quarter of today’s workforce retiring in five years, a lot of institutional knowledge will walk out the door.

“These are people who spent 30-40 years learning and becoming masters of their trades,” Pankaj concludes. “What’s the best way to retain that institutional wisdom and pass it along? Mentorship.”

Listen to the Podcast

For more insights from Pankaj Srivastava, including how to find or become a mentor, listen to Vision33’s The Connected Enterprise podcast. In each episode, host Carl Lewis interviews bright minds and industry thought leaders about enterprise technology and what’s coming next.

Listen now