Being a mentor, enjoying colleagues who are millenials. Look at these SMARTER Goals

I used to read about mentorship programs at other organizations with envy. Then I found out that we had a mentorship program at Kaiser Permanente. That was 2 years ago, and now I’ve been engaged in 2 mentorship relationships, each for a year. See my previous one: Walking with Generation Y – From Bricklayers to Cathedral Builders | Ted Eytan, MD.

Sometimes these are called “reverse mentorship.” I like “intergenerational mentorship” or can we just say “co-mentorship” so that there’s no age overlay? Us Generation Xers are sensitive (not really…).

In any event, I asked Motoki Bandai (@mbandai), who I’ve been working with for a year if I could share his SMARTER goals here, and he said I could.

SMARTER stands for “specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-specific, exciting/energizing, reviewed.” Our mentorship system places emphasis on setting good goals in the relationship. We’re here for good outcomes / forward movement / better health for the people we serve.

Here they are, see what you think.


To support the growth of our team and capabilities, I will manage and mentor our newest team member through the early parts of her career. By the end of 2014, I will support her to successfully complete a significant project that will be presented to our director.

5 Chunks

  1. Give good, constructive feedback in various situations
  2. Balance “being a friend” and being a boss
  3. Create a well-structured work plan, increasing her responsibilities step-by-step
  4. Ensure she gets good exposure and opportunities to network with members on my team and elsewhere
  5. Give her the necessary autonomy to run with tasks/projects. Do NOT micromanage.


To become an excellent collaborator across organizational boundaries, I will not drop an executive’s name once this year to get the cooperation of our stakeholders in any of the deliverables we put together for our key initiatives.

5 Chunks

  1. Keep my ears open for the latest information related to the project
  2. Understand, as much as possible, the motivations of stakeholders
  3. Find common ground in all of the discussions I am involved in
  4. Communicate. Talk in terms of our common ground and common motivations
  5. Escalate when necessary. Don’t drop names if things aren’t working out.

I think these are great. Why? They completely speak to the idea of building cathedrals vs. laying bricks in one’s career. I think it’s very mature / forward thinking to pursue a path of problem solving that’s dependent on one’s own assets rather than assets that you may / may not have control over.

If people think that leaders who happen to be in Generation Y or Millenials are focused on accessing senior leaders or career advancement, goals like this show that not to be the case. And just to be clear, I didn’t come up with these goals, they were generated after some thoughtful reflection. I am only happy that I got to see the finished product.

These meet the standard of SMARTER, and they are just good models for others to follow. 

Motoki mentioned to me that some of ways we segment the Generations are not as appealing to him, and I agree. These goals speak to me, because if everyone adopts goals like this, in all parts of society, we’ll wake up to a sustainable, accountable health system, and society, where everyone can achieve their life goals. That’s the part where this is co-mentoring. Enjoy, and thanks for a great year, Motoki!


Ted Eytan, MD