#PTonICE Daily Show – Thursday, March 28th, 2024 – Mentorship: Optimizing via degrees of separation

In today’s episode of the PT on ICE Daily Show, ICE Chief Executive Officer Jeff Moore discusses pursuing mentorship with individuals who are not too far removed from your current situation so that they can best understand your needs & optimize a path to facilitate your growth. Jeff argues that often, individuals seek mentorship from those so far removed that they can no longer understand what it is like to be in that situation or the steps needed to continue to see growth.

Take a listen to the podcast episode or check out the full show notes on our blog at www.ptonice.com/blog.

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPTION

JEFF MOORE
All right crew, what’s up? Welcome back to the PT on ICE Daily Show. I am Dr. Jeff Moore, currently serving as the CEO of ICE and always thrilled to be here on a Leadership Thursday, which of course is a Gut Check Thursday. The open is over. We are back in business with Gut Check Thursday and we’ve got a doozy. We’ve got every two minutes, you’re going to do 15 calories on the bike, and then you’re going to do as many thrusters as possible in the remainder of that two minute time period. at the weights of 135 for the gents and 95 for the gals. Then you’re going to keep repeating that, right? Every two minutes you’ve got to get your 15-12 cal on the bike done before you start knocking out thrusters. The workout is over at 30 thrusters. I just did this the other day. I finished in the 7th round, 13 minutes and change. It’s rough. There’s not a lot of rest by not a lot I mean none. Think about scaling that weight if you’re not getting over 5 reps in those first rounds. If you don’t feel that’s doable, maybe knock a few pounds off or you might be there. for a while because that bike only chews up more time as you get more fatigued. So give that a bit of thought. It’s a wonderful workout. Make sure you tag us, Ice Fisio, Ice Train. Love watching you do all these workouts and sharing them across our social media platforms. Team, welcome to Gut Check Thursday. Welcome to Gut Check Thursday and welcome to Leadership Thursday. where I want to share a huge hack on mentorship that I think is so underappreciated. So the title of today’s episode is Optimization via Degrees of Separation. Speaking of mentorship, and the hack that I want to share with you is how to recognize who you should learn from and who you should be teaching. An area that is incredibly plagued by low intention. The organization of that is not something people give a ton of thought to. It’s plagued by low intention and one very common mistake.

A COMMON MISTAKE OF MENTORSHIP: FOLLOWING THE LEADER
So let’s open with that common mistake. The common mistake in this, in the space is that most people think they want to learn from the star player or the leader of the organization or the person who they recognized that brought their attention to that area. They think they want to learn from that key person. You almost never do. Who you, you might want to work in their system, right? Like that absolutely makes sense. You might want to move towards their position. That totally makes sense. But who you want to learn from is very rarely that individual. You want to find someone who can over deliver for you and it will almost never be that person. The principle that we’re talking about in today’s episode is that you can talk across a river, you can yell across a lake, but you can’t hear each other across the ocean. What I mean by that is the farther apart you are in knowledge and experience, the less effective the mentoring relationship. Now, the classic example here is when somebody says, oh, I had this great physics teacher, right? They were brilliant, but they couldn’t relate to us. They couldn’t teach as well as entry-level students, okay? This is not because of their intelligence. Generally, that’s what it’s blamed on, right? This person was too smart to be able to relate to us. That’s almost never the case, right?

SEPARATION FROM LEARNING PREVENTS SOLID MENTORSHIP
It’s because of separation. So many kinds of separation that make it more like an ocean than a river. Examples of that separation are the amount of knowledge this person has. That is not so much speaking to their intelligence, but they have simply accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge over so many years that they can’t understand anymore what it’s like to look at a new concept in the absence of having that knowledge. because they have so much and they’ve had it for so long. They can’t remember what it was like not to have it and what trying to learn a new concept feels like in the absence of it. They simply cannot put themselves back in that position. They can’t relate to your phase of life. They can’t remember what it was like when their other parts of their life beyond the professional stuff looked and felt like yours does because theirs looks nothing like that anymore. Other responsibilities. These people, that physics professor for example, is thinking about their research. They’re thinking about building their team right well above and beyond the classroom. There’s other areas that not only have some of their attention but arguably probably have more of their attention because as they’ve gained seniority that is where their unique role is probably most dependent upon. So that’s what they’re thinking about all the time. It’s where a lot of their focus is. But when you add in all of these degrees of separation, the amount of knowledge, the phase of life, all these other responsibilities, that’s what creates the ocean. And getting across that for a quality mentorship relationship is simply impossible. I can give you a personal example of this. My most effective phase of teaching physical therapists how to get better at physical therapy was when I was in the clinic about 25 hours a week. That was the sweet spot. I remember being in that sweet spot. I was one degree of separation. away from the people I was teaching. Yet, I had enough time out of clinic that I could mold and form my course and put good intention into the content That was the sweet spot. I was just removed enough from full-time clinic that I could really craft the message, but I was in it enough and I was still in phase of life enough that I totally understood exactly what these people needed to hear and what was going to have the greatest impact. When my role in the company shifted, my ability to teach clinical content noticeably declined. Oh that’s better that’s better because it just they had all the antidotes you could feel the fact that they just faced the same problem it was so much more relatable all the small changes in the profession they were in in and are in lockstep with and you could just feel the real. And that made it come across so much more applicable and so much more relatable. So I noticed as I began to move away and get a bit more separation, my ability to relate and be effective was significantly altered. This should guide you. This principle should guide who you look to for mentorship and who you look to mentor. You want the person who was where you are two to three years ago. That’s the sweet spot. When you get in this organization you’re excited about, you do not want to learn from the most veteran, clinician, person, team member.

REACH UP THE LADDER BY ONE RUNG
You want to learn very specifically from the person who was where you currently are two to three years ago. That’s the sweet spot. So don’t get enamored on trying to maybe look at it as reaching up, right? And try to make that relationship. You really want to reach up, but just one ladder rung, because that’s going to be the river. That’s going to be the most effective communication mentorship relationship. Now, similarly, you want to teach people who are only two to three years behind you. who are in situations that you very recently were in. So give that some really serious thought, right? Is there somebody you’re currently teaching leading that really you should be passing that off to somebody who’s a bit more closely connected to where all of those different components in that person’s life are existing? Have you been hanging on to some relationships too long, or does the system need to be reshuffled where you’re a bit more intentional about that time domain when you’re looking at these mentoring relationships? This is not, by the way, just true in professional or clinical practice, right? It’s true literally everywhere. Think about it in the gym. The athlete who just learned muscle ups is often the most effective person at helping you get your first one. Why? Because when you ask the person who knocks out 12 to 15 unbroken without thinking about it, that last part’s the problem. They don’t have to think about it, right? So it’s very hard because they kind of say things like, I don’t know, man, I just do it, right? Now don’t mishear me. There are some amazing experienced coaches that have a truly unique ability to still break it down for you. But there is something to be said that once it gets so natural, once it requires so little thought, it’s a bit tough to instruct somebody who is just learning their very first one. It is so true in music, right? When you’re learning the guitar, somebody who just mastered their scales is an amazing person to show you how to sit and how to hold the guitar, the fundamentals. Because again, the person who has true virtuosity is going to say things like, dude, I don’t know, man. I just kind of feel it out, right? I can play it by ear. Well, cool. I can’t. So right now I need somebody who can understand what it’s like to not be able to.

EVALUATE YOUR MENTORSHIP SYSTEMS ON A DEEPER LEVEL
My call to action for all of you on Leadership Thursday is to begin to evaluate your mentorship systems using the one degree of separation rule. You want people teaching people who were where the learner is just a couple years ago. When you go into a system, don’t think it’s awesome to learn from the person who’s been around the longest. Think it’s awesome to learn from the person who most recently solved your specific problem. And that person was where you are two to three years ago. Change these mentorship relationships from a time domain and you will drastically alter their efficiency. Give it some thought team. We are off for Easter weekend and then we are coming back with 13 live courses next weekend. all over the map. Actually the next couple weekends we’ve got about a dozen or more courses on tons of spots to check out PT on Ice live classes. Go to PTOnIce.com. You’ll see them all right there. April 6th, 7th, the following week. Tons of options. Wherever you are, we probably are. Jump into all the fun team. Have an awesome Thursday. We’ll see you next week.

OUTRO
Hey, thanks for tuning in to the PT on Ice daily show. If you enjoyed this content, head on over to iTunes and leave us a review, and be sure to check us out on Facebook and Instagram at the Institute of Clinical Excellence. If you’re interested in getting plugged into more ice content on a weekly basis while earning CEUs from home, check out our virtual ice online mentorship program at ptonice.com. While you’re there, sign up for our Hump Day Hustling newsletter for a free email every Wednesday morning with our top five research articles and social media posts that we think are worth reading. Head over to ptonice.com and scroll to the bottom of the page to sign up.