Background Note | HBS Case Collection | March 1991 (Revised June 1998)

Beyond the Myth of the Perfect Mentor: Building a Network of Developmental Relationships

by Linda A. Hill

Abstract

Instead of embarking on an odyssey for the perfect mentor, individuals should pursue a strategy of building a network of developmental relationships. In this note, we explore the process by which such a network can be established and cultivated: 1) What functions can developmental relationships serve? 2) How are these relationships formed and maintained? 3) With whom in an organization can an individual establish such relationships? and 4) What are some of the special challenges those in the minority face in building these relationships? In summary, we offer guidelines for building a constellation of developmental relationships.

Keywords: Relationships; Networks;

Citation:

Hill, Linda A. "Beyond the Myth of the Perfect Mentor: Building a Network of Developmental Relationships." Harvard Business School Background Note 491-096, March 1991. (Revised June 1998.)