A recent Wall Street Journal article on Tracy Britt (‘A Rising Star Emerges at Berkshire‘) highlights several key components to professional growth. While at first blush the article talks of Ms. Britt’s bringing Mr. Buffett a bushel of corn at the time of her initial interview, and then describes her rise through the corporate ranks of Berkshire, I think the article is as much about Warren Buffett as it is about Ms. Britt.
The article seems to focus on Ms. Britt’s efforts and successes, with the last line of the article quoting Ms. Britt’s answer to a business school assignment, musing where she would be at the ten year reunion: “My goal is to work with a great investor, who even more importantly is a wonderful teacher and mentor.”
Yes, Ms. Britt did all the right things to spark her professional growth, from setting out her goals; to working hard; taking risks; and last but not least, finding that mentor/teacher who focused and refined her growth. This is clearly a tribute to Warren Buffett.
A leader will push and challenge his or her direct reports, and more importantly, will prepare them for the challenges they face. Have you found your mentor/teacher? Are you serving as a leader, preparing your direct reports for the challenges they face? Or have you pushed them out the door to sink or swim?