Ask Ted Acutt of KPMG about challenges facing the organisation’s leaders and his very candid response points to the limitations that come from thinking ‘this is just the way we do things’ as opposed to challenging processes.
‘Sometimes, when we hit a wall, we could benefit from some out-of-the-box thinking based on seeing how others problem-solve and strategise’, he explains.
For Ted and many others involved in the business of managing people, the question is how to encourage and nurture that quality?
As it turns out, part of the answer for KPMG emerged out of left field – from participation in a ground-breaking corporate mentoring program called Juno Adaptive Leadership.
‘Our mentors are often surprised to gain unseen insights about themselves which reignites their career drive, stretches their vision and goals and opens up ways to work through challenges they had previously thought impossible.’
Ted Acutt, KPMG
Mentoring with a difference
Adaptive Leadership is the brain child of Paul Lacey of Juno Consulting. Now in its 15th year, the program has partnered over 3,500 corporate mentors with 5,000 community proteges. KPMG alone has sponsored over 100 of its senior leaders as mentors, and they are joined by other big names like NAB, ANZ and BUPA.
The program sees each business leader take on the role of mentor for a community protégé who is facing unemployment and disadvantage. Carefully screened and assessed by Juno consultants, mentors and proteges embark on a 12 week journey focussing on key development areas for both.
Mentors are typically drawn from developing or emerging leaders within their organisations. They are taken through 2 days of foundational leadership knowledge before starting work with their proteges. This is where mentors get to practise the new skills and behaviours they’ve learned about in an immersive way.
It’s in the partnering of mentors and proteges and the desired outcomes that this program differs from most.
Paul Lacey explains:
‘It’s critical for us that both mentors and their protégés benefit from the partnership.
‘We create partnerships so that both parties have the opportunity to grow and develop their skills in the areas identified’
‘Our aim is a win-win’, he says.
It’s all about facing challenges
According to Paul Lacey, the relationship between mentor and protégé is a rich and mutually beneficial one:
‘The program encourages participants to step up and lead from a position of personal authority rather than role authority’, he says.
For the protégés, someone making a commitment to them and holding them accountable while knowing their actions come from a place of ‘good intent’ shows people outside of their immediate community genuinely care, which boosts their self-esteem and confidence.
And outcomes for mentors are equally positive:
‘Our mentor leaders continue to experience personal change from the challenge of helping others to discover their value and ignite new dreams and goals’, says Paul.
It’s an experience that is borne out by Ted Acutt:
Our mentors are often surprised to gain unseen insights about themselves which reignites their career drive, stretches their vision and goals and opens up ways to work through challenges they had previously thought impossible.
And finally: ‘Mentors often talk about realising their own capabilities through helping others recognise theirs.
Sounds like a win-win all round.
A mentor’s perspective from Amelia Hartney of KPMG
Amelia is a Management Consultant at KPMG Australia and manages the KPMG & Juno relationship:
Managing the Juno Adaptive Leadership program at KPMG is an important part of who I am and what I do at KPMG. I am also part of the 100 plus Juno Alumni.
As a mentor, I was matched with a protégé who wanted to re-enter the workforce after a period of being unemployed, where she felt disempowered and lost. She was professional, personable and employable but due to her time outside of the workforce she was constantly overlooked. Together we focused on career and personal goals, spent time recognising previous experience and testimonies from past employers, celebrating her capabilities and competencies.
Every protégé’s pathway to employment is different.
My protégé experienced setbacks but with courage she persevered. While going through the program she gained employment and grew in confidence and self-belief. Her first job was not her ideal job but it was a stepping stone to new work opportunities.
We keep in touch and I am proud of my new friend.
The Juno program ultimately creates a safe environment for both the mentor and protégé to learn about themselves, connect with society and in the process build well rounded leaders that have the opportunity to view life through a different lens. I know that I have changed as a result of going through this process, as have the large majority of our Alumni participants at KPMG. The Juno experience has allowed me to contribute something meaningful to someone else’s life and truly make a difference.
Amelia was awarded the KPMG 2016 National Chairman’s runner up award for her work leading the Juno Adaptive Leadership Program. Amelia gifted her prize to the Children First Foundation, a charity group Amelia is passionate about and supports.