Hoppin argues that informal mentoring programs are far more effective than organized, human resources–mandated workplace systems.
Hoppin, a long-time proponent of informal mentoring, spent much of his career as a district sales manager for a major pharmaceutical company. During that time, he proposed and helped organize a casual mentoring program that he felt had an immensely positive impact on both mentees and mentors. After retiring, he decided to share his arguments for informal mentoring through this debut book. He begins with a chapter about his experiences in childhood, then touches on how he benefited from being a casual mentee throughout his career. Hoppin offers his arguments in favor of informal mentorship, citing other publications to back up his claims. He then discusses how being a casual mentor himself had a significant impact on his direct reports and touches on how he helped to create an informal mentorship program for his company. Hoppin also discusses how such mentoring can help develop a line of succession. He wraps up with two substantial appendices: Appendix A is an example of a district coordinator program plan, and Appendix B discusses the interpersonal skills required for selling successfully. Hoppin sprinkles “best of” lists throughout the book, offering summaries of the most critical aspects of the subject under discussion, which help the reader focus on these important points. While heavy on reminiscences and light on more general guidelines (and game plans) for using informal mentoring in other settings, the book provides some cogent arguments for the value of such programs. The author’s discussion of interpersonal skills in the second appendix is rather off-topic but nonetheless delivers useful information for anyone in a sales-related position.
A worthy book about building closer relationships between management and frontline staff through casual mentoring.