Recap of Our Conversation with Mentor Mike Williams (authored/edited by Anisah Muhammad)
August 7, 2014, Tech Expresso leader David Blackman interviewed Mike Williams at the 2015 BDPA National Conference. Mike Williams is the senior Vice President of Enterprise Technology Services for a Fortune 500 Company. He is a prominent member of BDPA (Black Data Processing Associates) and has formerly held the position of South Region Director. He has also been a National BDPA Board Member.
Mike A. William’s book The Advantage Factor will be released November 21. Technology Expresso will be sponsoring a book signing and promoting the online sell at an event in Atlanta held at ROAM located at 1155 Mount Vernon Hwy Suite 800, Atlanta, Georgia. If you can’t join us in person, join us online by using the twitter hashtag #theAdvantageFactor @itmikewilliams
Here is a summary of Mike’s interview.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your BDPA affiliation.
A: My relationship with BDPA started somewhat 10 years ago in New Jersey, but I have gotten more active when I moved to Atlanta in 2006.
Q: What’s your favorite aspect of the conference?
A: It’s all about the children. When you look at the purpose of why BDPA exists, it’s about nurturing and building up the next set of IT leaders.
Q: As far as BDPA and your role with BDPA, how did you first hear about BDPA?
A: I have a passion for leadership and a passion for technology. I did a lot of community service in New Jersey. When I moved to Atlanta, I took what I call a community service break for a couple of years. When I felt that I wanted to get back out there, get to networking, and get to know people, that’s when I first met Teresa Williams. She was coming in as the new president of BDPA in Atlanta. BDPA has always felt like home.
Q: In the past you’ve participated in some activities in the Atlanta area, such as the Minority Executive Forum. Can you tell us about your role and participation there?
A: When I see people wanting to do better or trying to be better, if they need my help and I have the way to help them, I’m willing to help. The work was really done by the Atlanta team. When you look at that team, there aren’t too many weak components among them. They work well together. When you look at the success of the Black & Minority Executive Forum and the success of some of the events they’ve done, the work and effort they put in is paying off.
Q: You’ve recently written a book. Tell us a little bit about it.
A: The book is called, “The Advantage Factor: 12 Lesson Areas Aspiring Young Professionals Should Know.”
What it teaches: Things that I wish someone had told me when I walked into Corporate America; how to identify a mentor early on; how to network; how to build up others; how to focus on the objective instead of the noise.
The Target Audience: The aspiring young professionals between the ages of 22 and 30. Those years define who you are going to be personally and what you are going to do professionally. You gain experience and exposure. The book is targeted to that age group but can be used for anyone.
Q: What advice do you give to people looking for a mentor?
A: In the book I define knowledge leaders vs. mentors.
Mentors: People who have gained knowledge and experience over time. Mentors coach you and work you through challenges. They don’t have the passion, capabilities, or experience to teach others how to lead.
Knowledge Leaders: People who have failed and succeeded and have acquired the experience, skills, and passion to teach others how to lead. Being a mentor is a key component of being a knowledge leader, but you have to mentor with the intent of teaching others to lead.
Q: You mentioned the correlation between experience and exposure. Can you differentiate the two?
A: Say you’ve had two people, (Bill and Jim), standing side by side working at the same job for 10 years. Bill, in those ten years, happened to work on another project. Bill, who had the additional exposure, has the most experience. Jim had the same role for 10 years while Bill had the same role but stepped outside of that comfort zone. You have to have the experience and the exposure, and it’s always a combination of both.
Q: In your book you had another methodology: “the ideal situation”. Can you describe that?
A: I have found that a group of people always fit into 5 categories. I call it the ideal situation. You have the influencers, the distractors, the enablers, the achievers, and the leaders.
The Influencers: When they talk, people listen. Influencers can be positive or negative. If he is positive, he can help get your message across. If he is negative, he can be a person that always has long stories to tell. He looks at rumors for sport.
The Distractors: Distractors are people you have to handle swiftly, because no matter what you do, what the team does, or what the company does, it’s never going to be good enough. When you’re trying to accomplish something, you can’t have a team with distractors.
The Enablers: The enablers are the worker bees. They’re people that come to work, do their 9 to 5, get their check, and go home. They’re willing to always help you out, and they’re not your competition.
The Achievers: The achievers are the go-to people. They’re people that you go to if you want something done on time and done right. They’re going to be your competition. Some of them will help you and some of them won’t.
The Leaders: The leader within the group is the person everyone looks upon for leadership. The leader has to step up because his or her voice counts for the whole team. The leader is the person you want to work with and gravitate towards.
Q: How do people fare if they are new to a role and don’t have the knowledge and experience of leading people?
A: In the book, I talk about “Y.O.U.R.S.” You Own and Understand that you’re Responsible for your Success. You have to make it yours. Any role you get when you don’t have the skill set, you have to evaluate yourself. You have to determine what skills you need to learn. The development is yours. Know that your objectives, your success, and what you want to do is all on you.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A: I have a passion for community service and a passion for giving back. When I retire, that’s what I’m going to do.
Learn more about Mike Williams: go to https://storify.com/techXOcafe/mike-a-williams
About the Author/Editor, Anisah Muhammad is a high school student. She is a published writer of magazine articles and poems. She is a very talented writer and a dligent worker. She is prolific in all forms of writing from business to creative writing. She also started her own business, Anisah’s Greeting Cards.