I have recently changed industries in my management career. I have an acquaintance whom is a CEO at a “competing” company of ours. He has agreed to meet with me for lunch later this week and basically mentor me in this industry and would like to create an alliance of sorts. My question is what would be an appropriate way of saying thank you in this type of situation. Also would it be appropriate to create a mentoring relationship with a person in the same industry as I work in. Any advice would be very much appreciated.

lapsiek's picture

My initial gut feeling was one of caution.

When I read your post, the words that remain with me are "[i]competing[/i]" "[i]alliance[/i]" and "[i]appropriate[/i]".

Without a doubt, there would be some gems of experience that could be gleaned. However, many (if not all) companies require their employees to sign binding Business Conduct Guidelines. I would carefully get it out, dust it off and review it.

Example :

[b]Inadvertent disclosure[/b]

[i]You should be careful to avoid the inadvertent disclosure of proprietary information.

To avoid inadvertent disclosure, never discuss with any unauthorized person proprietary information that [b][/b] considers confidential or which has not made public. Furthermore, you should not discuss such information even with authorized employees if you are in the presence of others who are not authorized--for example, at a trade show reception or in a public area, such as an airplane, or when using a cellular or wireless telephone or an electronic bulletin board or database. You should also not discuss such information with family members or with friends, who might innocently or unintentionally pass the information on to someone else.

Finally, keep in mind that a harmful disclosure may start with the smallest leak of bits of information. Fragments of information you disclose may be pieced together with fragments from other sources to form a fairly complete picture. [/i] "

I am guessing that despite knowing the wealth of information that you may be able to access in this relationship, you have a degree of trepidation , otherwise you would not be seeking peer feedback on a forum such as this.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

I absolutely would encourage a mentoring relationship.

I don't know what you mean by "alliance." I would have to know more about size and scope of company and your role/his before going further.

The best way to say thank you is to write a note saying so, and then, if the relationship continues, do everything you say you're going to do, and manage the relationship so he doesn't have to work at it.