One of the more memorable characters in my life was a fraternity brother of mine named Bert.

Bert was one of the most friendly people you could meet.  He always had a big smile and a great laugh.  Bert was a senior in college at Jacksonville State University my freshman year.  Thankfully, he took me under his wing a bit.  That made my transition to college more successful.

I was a music major in college – a tuba major.  I know, I know… but for all of you who never knew you could play real music on a tuba, I encourage you to get out more and expand your musical horizons. 🙂 Bert was our section leader in the marching band.

Part of the school tradition was “freshman initiation”.  I intentionally avoided the word hazing, because at my school everything was good-natured and fun.  There were parts that I really enjoyed.  You will understand as the story unfolds.

Our marching band had a drill team.  They were called The Marching Ballerinas.  Some of the most beautiful women in the world were in that group.  Several later competed in the Miss America pageant and did very well. They were also very nice young ladies whose mothers had “raised them right”.

A standard “assignment” given to freshmen boys by Bert was, “Hey Frosh! Go kiss (insert Ballerina’s name here).  When Bert gave me that assignment, I was completely embarrassed.  I was a bit shy in my new surroundings.  But, I complied.  I walked up to the young lady in question, blushing a bit (me – not her) and said, “My section leader said that I had to kiss you.  Would you mind?”

To that young lady’s credit, she smiled sweetly putting me at ease and said, “Why sure.”

Then she did it.  She gave me a kiss.  I had only been in college for one day, and this old country boy had been kissed by a pretty girl that was 3 years older!

I made a discovery instantly.  I liked the interaction! 🙂

So… without Bert giving me any further assignments – I kissed almost every Ballerina on the team over the course of that week!  I told them all the exact same thing… Bert made me do it! 🙂

At the end of the week, Bert came up to me and said, “The Captain of the Ballerinas came by and asked me if I was sending you to kiss all of the Ballerinas.  Have you been telling them that I sent you?”

I smiled and said, “Every one of them!”

He just laughed and said, “I told her, yes I did.  Nice job, Frosh!”

Bert made a friend for life that day.  He also became one of my mentors in college.

To become successful in any sales organization – developing a mentoring atmosphere is vital.  It will raise the effectiveness and retention of the sales team.  It will raise the skill set of the leadership team.  And it will develop a chemistry among the team that will become a great part of the glue that holds the group together.

Over the next few days we will discuss why the mentoring culture is so vital and how to achieve that in your team.

And I am going to spend a few more minutes remembering the Marching Ballerinas! (sigh….)

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Who are you mentoring now?