Monthly Archives: February 2021

📻 — Example: Corporate “Code of Conduct” via a Fortune 500

Good morning yeniverse!

Yesterday I shared Dell’s core values / handbook and today I’m sharing their official “Code of Conduct” handbook (“rule book”?) that you might find useful!

Loved hanging yesterday with the folks who were able to join the Pitch Deck QnA! That was super-fun! We’ll have more of those for sure.

But… the hyperlinks!

  1. Code snippet. Pitch deck db. Invest together. Document site generator.
  2. Voice as modal. Screenstab. Design for teams. VS Slack theme? Eww.
  3. Code editor for email. UI builder. HTML email templates. Code in nocode.
  4. Chatwoot. Daily video exercise help. Kitemaker. Signoz. Event-first comm.
  5. I do not believe in NDAs. Media angst Substack. Coinbase IPO.
  6. Onboarding. Maze. Personalized coaching. Emotive. MailChimp, wtf.
  7. Wow. Twitter communities and Super-Follow! Otter. I love the summary.
  8. Sequoia’s Board Deck, YC’s approach to Boards, “Secrets”, Feld & Ramsinghani’s Startup Boards. Thanks Ash!
  9. Early-stage consumer. Deepfakes are dangerous.

To infinity & community,

— john

Just like Cisco, Dell is a large company and they have standardized their operations for scale and, as a consequence, canonized many useful material(s) that we can use even for smaller and more agile projects.

Feel free to read through this material and use whatever you might find helpful as you build your new project, community, and/or business of your dreams! Or save / bookmark this for when you’re a bit bigger and need a more formalized “policy” for your growing business.

And, of course, I’m here for you every step of the way!

Dell’s Higher Standard — Letter to Team

To the Global Dell Team:

Dell’s success is built on a foundation of personal and professional integrity. We hold ourselves to standards of ethical behavior that go well beyond legal minimums. We never compromise these standards and we will never ask any member of the Dell team to do SO either. We owe this to our customers, suppliers, shareholders and other stakeholders. And we owe it to ourselves because success without integrity is essentially meaningless.

Our higher standard IS at the heart of what we know as The Soul of Dell – the statement of the values and beliefs which define our shared global culture. This culture of performance with integrity unites us as company that understands and adheres to our company values and to the laws of the countries in which we do business.

Just as The Soul of Dell articulates our values and beliefs, the following Code of Conduct provides guidance to ensure we meet our higher standard and conduct business the Dell Way – the right way; which is “Winning with Integrity.” Simply put, we want all members of our team, our shareholders, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders to understand that they can believe what we say and trust what we do.

Our higher standard includes several key components and characteristics that both underpin The Soul of Dell and provide the foundation for our Code of Conduct.

  1. Trust. Our word is good. We keep our commitments to each other and to our stakeholders.
  2. Integrity. We do the right thing without compromise. We avoid even the appearance of impropriety.
  3. Honesty. What we say is true and forthcoming – not just technically correct. We are open and transparent in our communications with each other and about business performance.
  4. Judgment. We think before we act and consider the consequences of our actions.
  5. Respect. We treat people with dignity and value their contributions. We maintain fairness in all relationships.
  6. Courage. We speak up for what is right. We report wrongdoing when we see it.
  7. Responsibility. We accept the consequences of our actions. We admit our mistakes and quickly correct them. We do not retaliate against those who report violations of law or policy.

All of us regardless of grade level, position or geographic location – should base our daily actions and conduct on these standards, which support The Soul of Dell and our ultimate success.

Thank you for your commitment to our Code of Conduct and to maintaining Dell’s higher standard.

Michael and Kevin
September 9, 2002

Personal Conduct and Our Work Environment

Dell employees should report discrimination, harassment retaliation or other inappropriate conduct directed at themselves or others. Reports of such incidents should be made to your management, Human Resources representative or the Ethics office. All such reports will be investigated promptly and appropriate corrective action will be taken. No employee who makes good faith reports of discrimination, harassment, retaliation or other inappropriate conduct will be subjected to reprisal or damage to their career, reputation or employment at Dell.

Violence, Threats and Weapons

The safety of our employees IS extremely important to Dell. Dell employees are prohibited from engaging in violence or other deliberate acts intended to harm another person or his/her property. Similarly, Dell employees must not make threatening or menacing comments, or behave in such a way that may threaten the personal safety or property of another person. Violence or threats of violence should immediately be reported to Dell Security.

Dell prohibits the possession, concealment, use or transfer of any firearm or other weapon, including knives, clubs or other devices that are primarily used to inflict injury, on Dell premises (including buildings, parking lots, walkways and any other property leased or owned by Dell). These prohibitions also apply to Dell employees in any location outside the home when conducting Dell business. Dell security personnel and law enforcement officers are exempt from this provision.

Alcohol and Illegal Drugs

Alcohol and illegal drugs have no place in the workplace and are inconsistent with a safe and productive work environment. With the exception of moderate and prudent alcohol consumption during legitimate business entertainment, Dell employees are prohibited from consuming alcohol or using, possessing or distributing illegal drugs while working, operating Dell property (including company vehicles) or engaging in Dell business. Employees also may not perform work for Dell or operate company vehicles or other equipment while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.

Solicitation and Distribution by Employees and Third Parties

To prevent disruption of work activities and to promote a safe and productive work environment, Dell corporate and regional policies may restrict the time, place and manner in which Dell employees or third parties solicit or distribute literature to Dell employees on Dell premises or using Dell information technology resources. Refer to the applicable corporate or regional policy for details regarding these restrictions.

Employee Privacy

Dell respects the privacy and dignity of every employee. Dell collects and retains employee personal information that is required for effective operation of the company or that is required by law. The company will implement policies and procedures that protect and limit access to employee personal
information and comply with all applicable laws that govern employee privacy.

No employee should access or otherwise use employee records or information unless authorized to do so for legitimate business needs in accordance with local laws.

Health and Safety

We have a responsibility to treat with care and respect both the environment in which we work and the people on whom we depend. Dell is committed to preserving the health and safety of our employees, contractors and others working in Dell facilities. We will conduct our business with integrity and dedicated observance of the occupational health and safety laws and regulations of the locations where we operate.

We will continuously improve our health and occupational safety systems and procedures so that they meet or exceed industry standards and local regulations. It is Dell’s hope and belief that no one should ever be injured while working for Dell. All employees should observe applicable workplace safety rules and ensure that they use due care when performing their duties for Dell.

Financial Statement Integrity and Company Records

In addition, employees must immediately report workplace injuries or unsafe conditions in accordance with applicable corporate or regional be subjected policy and procedure. No employee will to retaliation or reprisal for being injured on the job or for reporting a workplace injury or unsafe situation.

Financial Statement Integrity and Company Records

The integrity of Dell’s financial records is critical to the operation of Dell’s business and is a key factor in maintaining the confidence and trust of our employees, shareholders and other stakeholders. We must ensure that all transactions are properly recorded, classified and summarized in accordance with Dell’s accounting policies, which ensure compliance with U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and applicable laws and regulations.

It is a violation of Dell policy to misrepresent our financial performance or otherwise knowingly compromise the integrity of the company’s financial statements. No Dell employee may enter information in the company’s books
or records that intentionally hides, misleads or disguises the true nature of any financial or non-financial transaction or result. In addition, each employee must retain, protect and dispose of company records in accordance with the applicable Dell record retention policies.

It is expressly against company policy to unduly or fraudulently influence, coerce, manipulate or mislead independent or Internal auditors regarding financial statements, processes, or internal controls.

Dell’s finance and accounting officers and personnel, as well as all members of senior management, have a special fiduciary responsibility to ensure finance and accounting practices support the full, fair, accurate, timely and understandable disclosure of Dell’s financial results and condition.

All employees are required to promptly report any case of suspected financial or operational misrepresentation or impropriety. All such reports made by employees of any position or grade level will be promptly and thoroughly investigated. No employee who makes good faith reports
of suspected misrepresentation or impropriety will be subjected to reprisal or damage to their career, reputation or employment at Dell.

Conflicts of Interest and Personal Integrity

All work we undertake for Dell must be carried out solely in the best interest of our shareholders and Dell in a manner that is free of conflict of interest or even the appearance of a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest occurs when any person or situation compromises our judgment or ability to conduct business in the best interest of Dell. To avoid a conflict of interest, you should not engage In any activity, investment or association that creates or appears to create a conflict between your personal interests and Dell’s business interests.

Secondary Employment and Outside Business Ventures

If you wish to pursue a second job or participate in an outside business venture, you must ensure that your engagement in such activity does not create a conflict of interest with Dell’s business.

To avoid a conflict of interest, the job or venture must not:

  • compete with Dell;
  • provide goods or services or
  • otherwise do business with Dell; or reflect negatively on Dell.

And you must not:

  • use Dell-owned equipment or services in support of the job or venture;
  • use your position or authority with Dell to influence Dell to conduct business with your secondary employer or outside business venture; or
  • jeopardize your productivity or fail to meet your obligations at Dell.

Even if you believe there will be no conflict, you should check with your manager before accepting a second job or engaging in an outside business venture. Depending on the nature of the work, you may be required to seek approval from your Ethics office.

Further, as a Dell employee you should not use information obtained internally for your personal gain or to support an outside business venture. For example, it could be a conflict of interest for you (or your business partner or spouse) to purchase certain real estate because you have knowledge as an employee that Dell is considering a purchase of that property at a later date.

Memberships on Corporate Boards or Advisory Committees

If you are considering accepting an invitation to serve as a board member of an outside company, advisory board, committee or agency, you must first obtain appropriate approval from your Regional Ethics Committee and the
Global Ethics Council (if applicable).

Dell’s consent is not required for membership on the boards of charitable or community organizations, as long as such activity does not conflict or interfere with your duties as a Dell employee and does not reflect negatively on Dell.

In general, it is permissible to serve as a director (or in a substantially similar capacity) of another company only under the following circumstances:

  • The other company must not be a competitor of Dell or be engaged in a business that enhances the marketability of or otherwise supports the products or services of a competitor of Dell.
  • If the company is one in which Dell has invested (e.g., through Dell Ventures), the prior consent of the chief executive officer or president must be obtained.
  • You must not make, participate in or influence decisions on behalf of Dell that relate to Dell’s relationship with the other company.
  • The company’s business must not be illegal, immoral or otherwise reflect negatively on Dell.

For more detailed guidance on membership on corporate boards or advisory committees, please refer to the Board Membership Policy and the Technical Advisory Board Membership Policy.

Financial Interests in Other Companies

If you or someone with whom you have substantial business or personal relationship has a financial interest in a particular company, you may not attempt to influence Dell to do business with that company.

If you are in a position to make decisions on behalf of Dell that relate to a
company, you may not own any financial interest in that other company UNLESS:

  • the other company IS a public company (i.e., its securities are listed on a public securities exchange); and
  • your interest is no more than 1 percent of the total market value of the other company, including suppliers, and no more than 5 percent of the total market value if the company is, or becomes, a customer. If your ownership exceeds 5 percent of 5 a company that IS also a customer, the
    Global Ethics Council will review and oversee all the terms of Dell’s relationship with that customer.

Your financial interest includes any financial interest that is owned by with someone with whom you have a substantial business or personal relationship.

Insider Trading

Shareholder trust and compliance with securities regulations is of the utmost importance to Dell. Therefore, Dell employees may never use inside information to trade or influence the trading of stocks.

Inside information is something that you may know as a Dell employee that people outside of the company may not know. Some examples of inside information include unannounced financial data, mergers or acquisitions, stock splits, unannounced products, marketing plans, vendor contracts or
procurement and manufacturing plans. Sometimes this information is defined as “material.” Information is considered material if it can influence someone to buy, hold or sell a stock.

Dell employees who work with confidential information are sometimes placed on the Trading Window List, which restricts them from trading Dell stock during certain specified periods called *Trading Windows.” Employees who are placed on the Trading Window List must adhere to all restrictions imposed by the Trading Window Policy, which can be found at

Regardless of whether you are placed on the Trading Window List, you should refrain from using any material inside information about Dell or any other company (such as supplier or vendor) to trade any stock and you should not provide “tips” or share material inside information with any other person who might trade the stock. To do otherwise is a violation of Dell policy and may subject you to criminal penalties.

Theft and Fraud

Honesty and integrity form the basis of Dell’s firm stance against theft and fraud. When employees commit theft or fraud against the company, everyone with a vested interest in Dell is affected.

Dell does not tolerate fraud of any kind and will investigate and prosecute offenders. Fraud is intentional deception or illegal, unethical, dishonest or unfair conduct that could result in gain, profit or advantage to an employee, or harm or loss to another person or entity.

All employees are required to report suspected theft or fraudulent acts within Dell. To make a report, contact your manager, the Ethics Helpline or your Ethics office. All such reports will be investigated promptly and appropriate corrective action will be taken. No employee who makes good-faith reports of suspected theft or fraud will be subjected to reprisal, or damage to their career, reputation or employment with Dell.

Gifts and Other Business Courtesies

Dell selects suppliers and wins customers on the basis of the merits of people, products and services. Dell employees must comply with the legal requirements of each country in which we conduct business and should employ the highest ethical standards in business dealings. Therefore, as a
Dell employee you must never accept or give a bribe, nor should you accept or give a business courtesy that will compromise your judgment, inappropriately influence others, conflict with Dell’s ability to succeed or reflect negatively on the company.

A business courtesy is generally a gift or entertainment such as tickets, discounts or meals to or from someone with whom Dell has a business relationship.

Unless otherwise specified in this Code or local policy, you may accept gifts of nominal value ($50 USD equivalent or less). Approval from local management and the Regional Ethics office must be received before accepting any gift that is in excess of $50 (USD) equivalent or less. You also
may accept meals and entertainment provided that such activities are reasonable, in good taste and consistent with accepted business practices. The business courtesy should be accepted solely for the purpose of cultivating or enhancing a business relationship.

Regardless of the amount, you must never accept:

  • gifts of cash or its equivalent (e.g. stock, bonds or other negotiable instruments); or
  • any other business courtesy given in an attempt to motivate you to do anything that is prohibited by law, regulation or Dell policy.

Anti-Corruption Laws and Business Courtesies to Government Officials/Customers

Regardless of local practices or competitive intensity, you must never directly or indirectly make a corrupt payment (cash or any other items of value) to obtain, retain or direct business, or to acquire any improper advantage. As a Dell employee, you must fully comply with all anti-corruption laws of the countries in which Dell does business, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which applies globally.

Complex rules govern the giving of gifts and payments to governmental employees. Therefore, what may be permissible in regard to commercial customers may be illegal when dealing with the government and could even constitute a crime. In some countries, businesses may be controlled by
the government, making it difficult to distinguish between commercial and government officials. Therefore, your Ethics Committee and the Legal Department must approve business courtesies to any employee or official of any government-affiliated entity.

Use of Company Assets and Resources

Dell’s assets and resources are dedicated to achieving Dell’s business objectives. All Dell employees are required to safeguard and not misuse company assets and resources, and must never use them for any unlawful or unethical purpose. Personal use of any Dell asset is also prohibited, except as outlined in this Code.

Information and Technology Resources

Dell’s information and technology resources (e.g., e-mail, computers, computer applications, networks, Internet, intranet, facsimile, cell phone and other wireless communications devices, telephone, paging and voice mail systems, and the like) are company property and are provided to Dell employees and select third parties for Dell business use. Occasional personal use of these resources is permitted but must be kept to a minimum and must not be inappropriate. Inappropriate use includes hacking, pirating software, using Dell resources for non-Dell commercial activities, soliciting, distributing literature for outside entities, disclosing confidential information of Dell or third parties, sending inappropriate e-mail or accessing inappropriate Web sites (such as those advocating hate or violence, containing sexually explicit material, or promoting illegal activities), or using Dell resources in a way that violates the letter or spirit of Dell policies or reflects negatively on Dell.

Users of Dell information and technology resources must not share passwords. If you allow others to use your password or assigned resource, you will be held accountable for their use.

Consistent with local laws, Dell reserves the right to monitor the use of its information and technology resources and to take appropriate disciplinary actions up to and including termination, or denying future access privileges in cases of misuse. Where permitted by local law, your use of Dell’s information and technology resources constitutes consent to such monitoring.

Software and Hardware Licensing

All Dell employees must be familiar with company license restrictions and corporate policies relating to the use and duplication of computer software and hardware systems. Dell IS licensed to use a variety of hardware systems and software programs, some of which are provided under licensing agreements that restrict their use and duplication.

Software purchases are permitted only with the appropriate approval specified In the applicable Dell expenditure authorization policy. In addition, software should be installed only by employees designated by the Information Technology (IT) department or through processes and resources sanctioned by the IT department. For additional information, contact your local IT department.

Travel and Entertainment

All Dell employees are required to ensure that their business travel is ntended to further Dell’s business interests, and that travel and entertainment expenditures are reasonable, prudent and in accordance with applicable corporate or regional policies.

Dell funds may not be used, and Dell will not reimburse expenses incurred, at any establishment that would reflect negatively on Dell, such as a sexually oriented business or similar environment. All employees are expected to exercise good judgment when traveling on Dell business.

As a Dell representative, you also should be aware that certain venues, including those specified above, are not appropriate for business entertainment or meeting with professional or business associates because of the nature of the entertainment or atmosphere. These venues are not acceptable even if expenses incurred are not submitted to Dell for reimbursement.

Political Contributions and Activities

Laws in the U.S. and many other Dell locations strictly limit the ability of corporations to make political contributions or to engage in political activities and Dell complies with all such laws. Dell’s Governmental Relations team is responsible for coordinating Dell’s activities with government officials and policy makers. Dell employees should not communicate with public officials on policy matters, make political contributions or engage in political activities on Dell’s behalf except in accordance with local law, applicable regional policy and in coordination with Dell’s Government Relations team. Any deviations from regional policy must be approved in advance by the applicable Regional Ethics Committee.

Charitable Contributions

As a Dell employee, you may receive requests from charities for contributions from Dell, such as requests for donations of computer equipment, direct cash donations or the purchase of tickets for fund-raising events. Charitable contributions on behalf of Dell are permissible only with the prior approval of Corporate Communications.

Confidential Information

Dell employees have a duty to protect confidential Dell information, as well as confidential relationships between the company and its customers, suppliers and shareholders. Even if you leave Dell, you are still legally and contractually obligated to maintain the confidentiality of this information. It is a violation of Dell policy to use confidential information obtained during employment at Dell for personal gain.

You should use extreme caution when discussing confidential information in public places. In addition, confidential information should never be discussed with non-Dell employees, including family members and friends, and should only be provided to or discussed with Dell employees for valid business reasons.

Dell employees are expected to take reasonable precautions to ensure the physical security of confidential information and facilities.

Dealing with Others

As Dell employees, we are committed to acting responsibly, honestly and with integrity in all dealings with our suppliers, customers, partners, shareholders, government regulators and competitors.

Human Rights

Dell IS committed to working with socially responsible entities that comply with all applicable laws and regulations where they conduct their business, embrace high standards of ethical behavior, and treat their employees fairly,
with dignity and respect.

We avoid working with entities that do not adhere to laws regulating wages, hours and working conditions. Entities must demonstrate a commitment to the health and safety of their employees and not use forced or indentured labor, or use raw materials or finished goods produced by forced or indentured labor.

Contracting with Others

Our contractual relationships with suppliers and customers are important elements of our success. Vendor selection and purchasing decisions must be made objectively and in Dell’s best interest, based on evaluation of suitability, price, delivery, quality and other pertinent factors. No agreement with a supplier should be entered into without proper approvals and appropriate involvement of the Procurement and Legal departments, as specified in Dell’s procurement policies.

Similarly, negotiations with customers should be conducted in a professional manner, engaging the proper Dell resources to establish the best overall sales relationship with each customer. No sales agreement should be entered into without proper approvals and the appropriate involvement of the regional Contracts Management organization, if applicable, and/or the Legal department, as outlined in Dell’s sales policies. In addition, employees should never enter into agreements, written or otherwise, that would appear to contain questionable accounting and/or business practices. Dell will require that all its suppliers comply with applicable laws In fulfilling their contractual obligations with Dell.

Sales and Marketing

Dell wins customers and builds long-term customer relationships by providing quality products and services and by demonstrating honesty and integrity in all our interactions. Our marketing and advertising materials and other representations we make to current or prospective customers will be accurate, truthful and in full compliance with applicable laws.

Customer Privacy

Our customers must be able to trust that we will only collect, store and use their personal information for defined business purposes and to support and enhance our relationships with them. We will not sell our customers’ personal information. We will appropriately safeguard our customers’ information and comply with Dell’s privacy policy and applicable laws on customer privacy.

Commitment to the Environment

Our interest in the environment goes beyond the mandates of governmental regulation. Our vision is to create a culture in which environmental excellence is second nature. Our operations will place a high priority on waste minimization, recycling, reuse programs and pollution prevention. We will continuously improve the environmental friendliness of our products and procedures SO that they meet or exceed industry standards and applicable regulations.

Speaking on Behalf of Dell

Dell receives considerable attention from the news media, the financial community (e.g. investors, financial analysts, stock brokers) and from other companies. Media stories about Dell, as well as good relationships with other companies who may be potential Dell customers or suppliers, can enhance Dell’s image and products and may encourage people to invest in Dell.

However, mismanaged media, business and financial contacts may result in confusing messages or wrong information, with possible legal implications. For this reason, Dell corporate policy requires all employees to contact Corporate Communications before participating in any of the following:

  • Contacts with the media or industry analysts
  • Requests from vendors or suppliers for public relations partnerships
  • Invitations to participate in surveys
  • Invitations to speak at public events
  • Letters to the media

Upon receiving an inquiry from a member of the external financial community, employees should contact Investor Relations.

Inquiries from lobbyists or government agencies should be directed to the Legal department or Government Relations.

Dealing with Competitors

It is common to gather information about the general marketplace, including our competitors’ products and services. However, we want to compete fairly to avoid even the appearance of anti-competitive behavior. As a global for complying with U.S. corporate citizen, Dell is responsible antitrust laws and laws related to competition in countries where Dell does business. Under these laws, agreements among competitors that restrict trade or price
competition are illegal.

Dell employees must maintain independence of judgment and action in designing, producing, pricing and selling our products and services and must avoid even the appearance of collusion with a competitor regarding these matters.

Dell has established guidelines for situations that could raise an antitrust or anti-competition issue. These guidelines include the items described below.

  • Agreements Among Competitors: No employee should enter into an
    agreement or discussion with any competitor that would set prices
    or limit the availability on the market of goods or services. To avoid even the appearance of impropriety, employees should not discuss the following or similar subjects with a competitor: prices or discounts; terms of sale including credit, profits, profit margins or costs; allocation of customers or markets; boycotts; customers; suppliers; market share; distribution practices; bids or intents to bid; sales territories or markets; selection, classification, rejection or termination of customers; or other competitive information.
  • Handling Competitive Information: No employee should obtain competitive information by unethical or illegal means, such as industrial espionage or improper access to confidential information. Employees joining Dell after having worked for a competitor must not possess any hard copy or electronic copy of confidential information of such competitor and must not reveal to Dell any confidential information of their former employer.
  • Comments Regarding Competitors: It is improper to make false or deceptive statements concerning a company and its products. If you are in a position to speak on Dell’s behalf, you must ensure that your statements are based upon current, accurate, complete and relevant data. Never comment on another company’s business reputation or financial or legal problems.

If you have questions in regard to any of these guidelines, contact your Regional Ethics office or the Legal department.

International Trade Import and Export Control

Many countries have laws that regulate the import and export of goods, services, software and technology. In particular, U.S. laws mandate very specific requirements that must be complied with before an export of goods, services, software or technology occurs. Failure to comply with these regulations may constitute a crime and the sanctions for non-compliance
can include fines and imprisonment for Dell and for any responsible individuals. A corporation that does not comply may also be denied the right to participate in export trade.

Dell will comply with all laws of the United States and those of other countries that may apply, concerning the import or export of goods, services, software and technology.

You should obtain advice from the World Wide Export Compliance Organization before making any commitment concerning the export from the United States or another country of any of the items listed above, or if you have questions about Dell’s or your compliance obligations in this area.

Government Contracts and Relations

Our business relationships with our government customers are important to our continued success. We want to avoid even the appearance of animpropriety when dealing with our government customers.

As a government contractor, Dell is subject to detailed procurement and personnel regulations adopted by the governments with which we conduct business. Every employee involved in the verification or signing of certifications related to these regulations must ensure that the information is accurate and complete and that they posses the authority to sign these certifications on behalf of Dell. Failure to do so could result in suspension or debarment from government business, in addition to serious criminal and civil liability for Dell and individual employees.

Raising / Resolving Issues and Concerns

Open Door Policy

Open communication is a cornerstone of Dell’s culture. Dell’s direct business model demands straightforward and open communication between Dell, its customers, suppliers, partners, shareholders and other stakeholders. Dell employees deserve no less.

Every Dell employee should feel comfortable dealing directly with his or her manager, other members of management, and representatives of the Human Resources department regarding any employment-related issue, or to resolve misunderstandings or conflicts, without fear of harassment or retaliation.

The Open Door policy provides employees with a way to resolve a grievance, raise issues of general concern and otherwise have their voices heard. Employees may also contact the Office of the Ombuds, where available, for unbiased consultation and mediation. All employees shall be treated with dignity and respect and will not be subject to retaliation, threats or harassment for using the Open Door Policy or the Office of the Ombuds.

For more information regarding the Open Door procedure, please visit your regional Human Resources Web site.

Raising Concerns or Reporting Violations

Dell is committed to winning with integrity. If you suspect a violation of law, this Code or Dell policy, or other improper activities at Dell, it is your responsibility to immediately raise these concerns. You can bring them to the attention of your manager or to another member of management. Or, you may use other reporting avenues such as contacting your Human Resources representative, the Global or Regional Ethics office or the Ethics Helpline. Calls to the Ethics Helpline, a toll-free telephone service, 1-888-888-9975 (check with the Global Ethics Web site for your applicable local calling prefix), may be made anonymously. All employees will be treated with dignity and respect and will not be subject to retaliation, threats or harassment for raising concerns or reporting violations.

Conclusion and Certificate of Compliance

Thank you for reading Dell’s Code of Conduct, “Winning With Integrity.”* Refer to it whenever you have a question regarding ethics or compliance at Dell. Additional information about Dell’s ethics policies, programs and procedures can be found on Dell’s Global Ethics Web site. You may also contact your Human Resources representative, send an e-mail to your Regional Ethics office, or call the toll-free Ethics Helpline in your region.

As a Dell employee, you are required to complete and sign a statement upon hire and periodically throughout your employment that you have read, understand and agree to abide by the Code of Conduct, that all of your activities are legal and ethical, and that you agree to disclose potential violations of the Code of Conduct for confidential Ethics office review. Failure to comply with the principles outlined in this booklet may lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

Hopefully that was useful! Have a great weekend folks!


📻 — The “Soul of Dell” — Core Values and Culture Doc from a Fortune 500

Good morning yeniverse!

A bunch of you pinged me about yesterday’s issue; a few of you are planning on using it as an “info product” which is a fantastic idea! Feel free to use it for anything that you want!

  1. Art of Storytelling. Spotify paid subscriptions. Mr. Beast sells.
  2. LinkedIn Freelancer vs Fiverr. Shopify goes gaming. eCommerce!
  3. Dunbar’s number and your phone contact list. $500M mistake.
  4. News aggregators. App tracking transparency. Contra. GPT3 demos.
  5. WhatsApp says “Fuck You“. Twitter threads. Remote teams.
  6. Project management for GitHub. NeXTStep. QAnon casualties.
  7. Kingdom. User Surveys. Stress-free move. Motivation. Event analytics.
  8. Wow. Bye. Cookie protection. Inclusive trans workplace. Weird.
  9. Software bugs have a real cost. Find audience for course.
  10. Would you trust Google with your domains? Rumble everything!

To infinity & community!

— john

When I accepted a role as a newly-minted content producer and software developer at DELL, Inc. back in 2006/7-ish I was handed a new Dell-branded notebook computer and a stack of printouts that included their corporate handbook. They called it “The Soul of Dell” and I giggled a little too much.

The reality is that the document, itself, was actually pretty good; at the time I was far too immature to fully appreciate how useful a handbook can actually be!

I’ve since changed my tune and one of the most important documents that I’ve created for my community and startup is the handbook itself:

I was asked if I still had the Soul of Dell handbook and after some searching I was able to find my original — digital — copy. Hopefully you find this example useful and can draw from it some inspiration for your own!

Dell, at the time of my employment (for nearly 2 years), was the largest computer company on the planet! HP would quickly take the lead away from them and then Apple a few years later.


Table of Contents:

  1. The Soul of Dell
  2. Customers
  3. The Dell Team
  4. Direct Relationships
  5. Global Citizenship
  6. Winning

The Soul of Dell

When Dell was founded in 1984, our business model was grounded in the fundamental belief that having a direct relationship with customers was essential to understanding their expectations and, ultimately, being able to deliver the best customer experience.

Since its beginnings, our company has been guided by the value of building direct relationships, as well as other operating values that have led us to become one of the world’s most admired companies.

The Soul Of Dell is our statement of corporate philosophy. It provides a common statement of our basic values and beliefs and serves as a guide for our company in the many cultures we call home. Our values and beliefs communicate the kind of company we are and aspire to be.

This document is intended to assure that our actions worldwide are consistent and supportive of our values and beliefs.

At Dell we value and are committed to: Customers, the Dell Team, Direct
Relationships, Global Citizenship and Winning.

Dell Customers

We believe in creating loyal customers by providing a superior experience at a great value.

We are committed to:

  1. One-to-one, direct relationships.
  2. Providing the best products and services featuring the highest quality and
    most relevant technology.
  3. Creating and leveraging industry standards.
  4. Out-performing the competition by consistently providing value and a
    superior customer experience.

The Dell Team

We believe our continued success lies in teamwork and the opportunity each
team member has to learn, develop and grow.

We are committed to:

  1. Being a meritocracy. — We value accountability and reward those teams and team members who continually improve their capability and contribution.
  2. Developing, retaining and attracting the best people, reflective of our
    worldwide marketplace.
    — Hire and promote based on performance, capability and qualifications as key criteria. Look first to promote from within Dell.

Providing training and learning opportunities to maximize team and
individual performances.

Investing in our People Leadership capabilities as a competitive advantage.

Managing our talent as a key asset.

Utilizing job assignments across and within regions to build global
leadership capability,

Promoting an environment that values individual differences, engages people
in decision-making and encourages employees at all levels and across all parts
of the company to work as a team.

Maintaining base pay and benefit programs competitive with successful
companies relevant to our marketplace.

Direct Relationships

We believe in being direct in all we do.

We are committed to:

  1. Behaving ethically in every interaction and in every aspect of how we
    conduct business.
  2. Responding to customer needs in a timely and reasonable manner.
  3. Fostering open, two-way communications with customers, partners, suppliers and each other.
  4. Building and maintaining effective relationships with our partners and suppliers to ensure availability and reliability of our products and services.
  5. Organizing, communicating and operating through non-hierarchical and
    non-bureaucratic structures.

Global Citizenship

We believe in participating responsibly in the global marketplace.

We are committed to:

  1. Understanding and respecting all nations’ laws, values and cultures.
  2. Profitably growing our business in all markets.
  3. Promoting a healthy business climate globally.
  4. Contributing positively in every community that we call home, both personally and organizationally.


We a have a passion for winning in everything we do.

We are committed to:

  1. Building a culture of operational excellence.
  2. Delivering superior customer experience.
  3. Leading in the global markets we serve.
  4. Being known as a great company and a great place to work.
  5. Providing superior shareholder return over time.

Who We Are: How We Win with Integrity

The term speaks to our business model, of course.

But being direct also lies at the heart of how we treat our customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders and other stakeholders. Direct relationships help us understand their needs, making it crucial that they believe what we say and trust what we do. Dell’s success is based on this foundation of personal and professional integrity.

And at the core of this approach is a higher standard of ethical behavior that goes beyond minimum legal requirements.

This standard is based on trust, integrity, honesty, judgment, respect, courage and individual responsibility. There is meaning behind these words, which relate to the values we require not only of ourselves, but also of our business partners.

This brochure explores how these words apply to our work, through our global ethics office and our Code of Conduct. Just as The Soul of Dell articulates our values and beliefs, the Code of Conduct provides guidance to ensure we meet our higher standard and conduct business the Dell Way – by winning with integrity.

We are what we show others.

Trust, integrity, honesty, judgment, respect, courage and responsibility.

Their meaning may vary slightly from person to person.
But at Dell, they speak to our character and reputation.

And our character and reputation precede uS, because the way we choose to conduct business with customers, partners and each other creates a lasting impression.

How does Dell interpret these seven words?

Trust — It means our word is good. We keep our commitments to each other and to our stakeholders.

Integrity — We do the right thing without compromise. We avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

Honesty — What we say IS true and forthcoming not just technically correct. We are open and transparent in our communications with each other and about business performance.

Judgment — We think before we act and consider the consequences of our actions.

Respect — We treat people with dignity and value their contributions. We maintain fairness in all relationships.

Courage — We speak up for what is right. We report wrongdoing when we see it.

Responsibility — We accept the consequences of our actions. We admit
our mistakes and quickly correct them. We do not retaliate against those who report violations of law or policy.

At Dell, everyone — regardless of grade level, position or geographic location — is expected to base their daily actions and conduct on this higher standard.

Who Will You Be?

Policies and guidelines are necessary, of course.

But ultimately our standards and our reputation in global ethics start and end with each of us individually. Our behavior sets the course toward Dell’s higher standard in global ethics.

To ensure all of us continue meeting or exceeding these higher standards, Dell established its Global Ethics Council to define and advocate our policies worldwide. Every region of the world has Regional Ethics Committees that report to the council and place these policies into effect. They’re also responsible for ensuring compliance worldwide.

The authoritative guideline for appropriate ethical behavior at Dell is our
Code of Conduct, which makes clear an uncompromising set of standards.
Online training provides you with tutorials, guidance and reference resources
to help each of us meet these standards.

Another important resource is the global ethics telephone helpline at 800-808-9975. The helpline lets you speak with someone about an ethics issue or find answers to questions about the Code of Conduct, The helpline is an
anonymous way to report possibly unacceptable behavior. One additional resource is to e-mail the ethics team at

Dell also has an Office of the Ombuds, which offers employees in the United States and Canada a comfortable way to resolve work-related issues, including those involving ethics, through confidential, anonymous and informal assistance, The office is neutral and independent, advocating for neither the employee nor management, but serving as an intermediary and a representative for fair process. Staff members help recommend resolutions to alleged harassment and business conduct violations as well as certain job-related concerns. If necessary, the office may suggest voluntary third-party mediation.

What Will You Face?

Of course, you always have the option of contacting your manager or Human Resources representative for advice.

Just remember that although the letter of the law is obviously important, the spirit of the law is equally crucial. It’s that little voice that can guide us when facing unethical behavior.

In the quest for success, we continually try to win new business, and suppliers, vendors and partners want to win business with us. But sometimes professional hospitality is taken too far. That’s why we should never accept or give a business courtesy that might compromise our judgment, inappropriately influence others, conflict with Dell’s ability to succeed, or reflect negatively on the company.

Remember, too, that the conduct we display in e-mails, faxes, voicemails and any other technology should be no different from our conduct in person. That’s just good business sense and professionalism. And good business sense and professionalism is what global ethics is really all about.

What We Must Do

Here are several common ways our actions can avoid potential problems:

  • Ensure our suppliers embrace high standards of ethical behavior and treat their employees fairly and with dignity and respect
  • Establish metrics that encourage ethical behavior
  • Refuse to distort the truth to avoid confrontation
  • Use corporate assets for corporate uses
  • Speak up In the face of unethical practices
  • Reject the use of fraudulent data
  • Never conspire with competitors
  • Refuse to participate in or allow sexual harassment
  • Stop illegal actions by others on our behalf
  • Send appropriate e-mail and access appropriate Web sites
  • Never let good results excuse or mask problems
  • Don’t blindly follow group ideas that are wrong and disrespectful to dissenters
  • Select suppliers and win customers based on the merits of people, products and services
  • Record and classify financial transactions in accordance with our accounting policies
  • Work with socially responsible organizations that also meet high standards of integrity

How We Will Know

It’s true that situations involving ethics and values can be complex.

When dilemmas occur, remember to ask yourself:

  • Is it legal?
  • Does it comply with Dell policies and our Code of Conduct?
  • How would my decision affect and look to others?
  • How would feel if my decision were made public?
  • Could I explain and defend my decision honestly to others?
  • Have I fully explored the implications of my decision?
  • Would I benefit from additional advice?

The bottom line: Dell will never support your unethical decision, so never do anything unethical on Dell’s behalf. Seek advice and help to find solution that’s right for you and in accordance with company policies.

Who We Are Goes a Long Way

Dell’s direct business model relies on strong relationships with our vendors and partners.

We know that as a company with an extensive global supply chain, we have a responsibility to work with our suppliers to promote sustainable environmental practices, the health and safety of people and fundamental human rights and dignity. While we operate in a world with many different cultures, countries and levels of economic development, we also believe certain high standards must cross borders, levels of development and cultures and that meeting these standards is a condition of doing business with Dell.

Dell’s higher standard represents i commitment from its Board of Directors
as well. The board firmly believes that following sound corporate governance policies and practices is critical to governing and managing Dell with the highest standards of responsibility, ethics and integrity and in the best interests of stockholders. The board has adopted principles of corporate governance that reflect a set of core values and provide the foundation for Dell’s governance and management systems and in interactions with others.

Who We Are Makes the Difference

Global ethics are everyone’s responsibility at Dell, and everyone has an obligation to know our corporate guidelines and act accordingly. Learn the policies, take advantage of the resources available, and be a positive example. One person can impact the entire company, both positively and negatively.

That’s why Dell’s commitment to ethics is so comprehensive and demanding – and truly global. At Dell, we shouldn’t expect any less. Nor can we afford anything else.

Tomorrow, I’ll share Dell’s Code of Conduct! Have a great rest of your day!

📻 — Mentoring Program Template and Guide: Helping Leaders Develop Leaders

Good morning yenizens!

A few good links before we dive in to this somewhat large issue…

  1. Tragedy. Samsung AR? Thanks Bezos. Make money helping others.
  2. Malware on Macs? SaaS mgmt. Shopify. Technically true.
  3. Wholesale. Huh. Auth. Screenshots. Compete with Steve. Deplatformed.
  4. Clubhouse. CH. CH. CH. CH. CH. CH. CH. Influence. Video dating.
  5. Measure PMF? No. Guests choose music. HDMI + SD Card Reader?!
  6. Don’t become what you want to disrupt. ‘gram biz. Splice and $55M.
  7. Deepfake detection. Where did she go? Pandemics. Innovation.
  8. Audio social biz models. Create a knowledgebase. Power. Dispo.
  9. Next internet. TikTok is changing music. But competition is for losers.
  10. Grit. Avatars + Notion. Localized price for SaaS. Better and better.

That’s a lot of links. Love you. To infinity & community,

— john

I have a few older program guides and playbooks from 10+ years ago when I was spending more of my time doing IT consulting and in larger enterprises like Fox, NewsCorp, and Dell. I have developed many of these types of mentorship and coaching programs for a variety of different clients.

Here’s an older program manual — originally via Cisco — and some of their internal mentor / mentee training systems — I hope you find this useful!

The following is a high-level overview of a mentorship / mentee program from a Fortune 500 company — feel free to use this for your own project, business, and perhaps even your own community! Building a mentorship program is a useful growth strategy for creating “superfans” and evangelists for your project!

I imagine many of you might be able to use some of this as a basis for an info product or even as part of your foundational community and project culture. You might be able to even build an entire business on top of this material if you felt like it!

Feel free to use it or pull it apart for your own use — it has an overview, roles of each person (and even more details for large enterprise organizations) as well as surveys worksheets!

A few high-level stats:

  1. 35% of employees who do not receive mentoring will look for new employment within 12 months
  2. Just 16% of those who have mentor expect to leave their jobs
  3. According to Gallup, one of the core elements needed to attract, focus, and keep talented employees was to ensure there is is a personal connection with another employee at work.

Mentorship helps retain your amazing staff (and community members), develops them to be more productive and create more value, and prepares them for greater roles within the organization.

Program Overview


The purpose of the Leaders Developing Leaders Mentoring Program is to provide development opportunities for high potential employees as either a Mentor or Mentee.

Mentoring is a development arrangement that provides employees with advice and counsel on work and career related issues in a supportive environment.

This program will foster information sharing and improve coaching, leadership and interpersonal skills for both the Mentee and Mentor.

Mentoring Commitment:

Mentors and Mentees agree to embark on a one-year partnership focused on development opportunities follow program that will benefit both parties and the organization. Both the Mentor and Mentee agree to one another regarding progress of guidelines, maintain confidentiality and openly exchange feedback with the mentoring relationship.

Mentoring Objectives:

  • To provide a consistent mentoring process across the organization
  • To encourage development of leadership skills.
  • To provide advice regarding career development.
  • To encourage idea exchange without fear of criticism.
  • To provide opportunities to learn more about other areas of the company.
  • To retain high potential people.

Business Results:

Companies that offer mentoring have demonstrated improvement in the following areas:

  • Higher individual performance
  • Improved retention
  • Greater job satisfaction
  • Career development and growth
  • Transfer of intellectual capital
  • Improved profitability
  • Higher productivity levels
  • Increased customer satisfaction

Mentoring Program Process

The following guidelines and process will help the Mentor and Mentee understand the program and be aware of timelines.

  1. Nominations accepted once a year.
  2. Nominated persons submit a Mentee enrollment form to the Program Manager.
  3. Program Manager and HR leaders conduct match Mentors and Mentees.
  4. Matches are reviewed by the Senior Leadership Teams.
  5. Program Manager notifies participants and schedules orientation and workshops
  6. Program participants (both Mentor and Mentee) create program goal.
  7. Participants attend quarterly mentoring events.
  8. Program surveys are sent to participants to assess the the program at key points during the year
  9. Mentors may meet with the Mentee’s manager early in the program
    to discuss development opportunities. (The Mentors must get permission from the Mentees prior to this meeting.)

Mentor / Mentee / Manager Roles

Mentee (Driver)

  • Take ownership for initiating & maintaining contact with Mentor
  • Establish clear set of goals & expectations for the mentoring relationship
  • Remain open to feedback and development
  • Build effective relationships with mentor and manager & other SME’s
  • Establish clear set of development commitments including creating & taking action on development plans
  • Accept coaching without taking things personally
  • Have the capacity for self-disclosure
  • Be curious, ask questions, and be open to trying new things
  • Ensure communications are clear, timely and complete
  • Recognize/celebrate success and accomplishments

Mentor (Coach/Resource)

  • Help identify development strategies and opportunities
  • Serve as a confidant, sounding board, nurturer and provide emotional support
  • Act as a source of motivation, encouragement & networking resource
  • Establish clear set of goals for the mentoring relationship with the Mentee
  • Focus on longer term development goals
  • Be a guide for navigating formal and informal organizational channels
  • Serve as a role model
  • Have the capacity for self-disclosure
  • Be an advisor/confronter regarding choices made
  • Ensure communications are clear, timely and complete for stakeholders
    in the mentoring process
  • Recognize/celebrate success and accomplishments

Manager (Support)

  • In addition to setting performance objectives, work with participant to create a development plan that meets business & personal goals
  • Provide assistance on work requirements and commitments
  • Provide ongoing feedback, direction and encouragement
  • Share experiences and lessons learned & serve as a role model
  • Show an active interest in participant’s progress, & continually link learning & development to business needs
  • Have the capacity for self-disclosure
  • Be an advisor/confronter regarding choices made
  • Ensure communications are clear, timely and complete for stakeholders in the mentoring process.
  • Recognize/celebrate success and accomplishments

Roles and Responsibilities

Senior Management

  • Supports mentoring by encouraging managers and employees to participate
  • Nominates key managers to take on mentoring roles.
  • Recognizes individuals who participate in the program

Program Manager

  • Works with HR to recruit Mentors and Mentees through nomination process
  • Interviews nominees and helps coordinate matching process with HR leaders
  • Conducts Mentoring Program orientation sessions
  • Assists Mentees with self-assessment process
  • Coordinate seminars with Mentors and Mentees on various business topics
  • Acts as information resource for the
  • Evaluates program effectiveness and recommends improvements
  • Works with senior managers to promote the program

Mentor Qualifications

  • Strong interpersonal skills: enjoys working with people and building relationships.
  • Organizational knowledge: a person of vision who knows the goals of the organization
  • Exemplary management skills: A person, who excels in performance management, gives feedback, coaches, models positive behavior, and delegates well.
  • Technical competence
  • Personal power: must have a positive regard and respect for others.
  • Willingness to enable growth.
  • Aware of resources available within or outside the business

Mentor Responsibilities

  • Commits to a 12 month participation in the program- minimum of 8 mentoring discussions
  • Completes Mentor and Leading for Results Training
  • Helps Mentee create a development plan, coaches, and gives feedback.
  • Shares personal experiences relevant to the needs of the Mentee
  • Makes time for one-on-one mentoring sessions
  • Maintains confidentiality in mentoring relationship

Mentee Qualifications

  • Must be goal oriented
  • Willingness to assume responsibility for own growth and development
  • Actively seeks challenging assignments and greater responsibility
  • Receptive to feedback and coaching

Mentee Responsibilities

  • Commits to a 12-month mentoring relationship, with a minimum of 8 meetings
  • Completes a self assessment and identifies areas for
  • Schedules regular one-on-one meetings with the Mentor
  • Commits to short-term assignments and projects.
  • Keeps the Mentor up-to-date on development plan

Manager Responsibilities

  • Set performance objectives
  • Provide assistance on work requirements and Leaders Developing Leaders commitments
  • Provide ongoing feedback, direction and encouragement
  • Share experiences and lessons learned
  • Is focused primarily on performance standards and deadlines
  • Be a role model
  • Have the capacity for self-disclosure
  • Be an advisor/confronter regarding choices made3
  • Ensure communications are clear, timely and complete for stakeholders in the mentoring process.

Mentee Orientation and Training

Session Objectives and Outcomes

  • Understand the business case for the mentoring program
  • Understand the mentoring program overview and objectives
  • Understand roles of the key stakeholders in the mentoring relationship
  • Recognize and leverage strategies to maximize the mentoring
  • Understand the role of development planning and how to create
    and use effective development plans

Mentoring Program Objectives

  • Provide a consistent mentoring process across the organization
  • Retain and develop high potential employees
  • Provide advice and counsel on work and career issues
  • Encourage open idea exchange in a confidential manner
  • Foster information sharing across businesses
  • Improve coaching, leadership and interpersonal skills
  • Support change management

Program Overview

  • One year partnership – mentee, mentor, mentee’s manager
  • Driven by mentee
  • Mentor and mentee agree to meet a minimum of 8 times during the
  • Focused on coaching and development
  • Open exchange of ideas and feedback
  • Confidential environment
  • Mentoring orientation and training for mentors and mentees
  • Quarterly meetings with executive speakers discussing business, operational, and leadership topics
  • Training events held quarterly by LDS on topics of leadership and business acumen
  • 360 and leadership style assessments with 1-on-1 coaching and individual development planning
  • 20-25 hour commitment (mentors) / 25-35 hour commitment (mentees)

Strategies for Navigating the Mentoring Relationship

Defining Mentoring and Mentorship

Mentoring is a development arrangement that provides employees with advice and counsel on work and career related issues in a supportive
environment. This program will foster information sharing and improve coaching, leadership and interpersonal skills for both the Mentee and Mentor.

Building Blocks for Successful Mentoring Relationship

Applies to all stakeholders in the mentoring process!

  1. Straight Talk — Mentee / Mentor relationships must be one where each can be candid
  2. Listening for Understanding — Both listen for understanding, allow for differences & ask questions to clarify
  3. Making Commitments — Making and following up on commitments promotes reliability which leads to trust and respect

Reliability creates trust, trust creates mutual respect.

First Meeting with Your Mentor

  • Build rapport
  • Discuss the partnership agreement worksheet and mutual goals/expectations for the mentoring partnership
  • Establish the ground rules
  • Agree on next steps

Mentoring Partnership Agreements

  • Ground Rules that define operating norms
  • Mentor & Mentee agree on how they will work together
  • Mentor & Mentee should establish the Mentoring Partnership Agreement in their first meeting

What to Include in a Mentor / Mentee Agenda

  • Meeting logistics
  • Rapport building
  • Update: What has occurred since last meeting (progress on goals, etc.)
  • Topics for this meeting
  • Review and action steps
  • Evaluation

Getting The Most From Remote / Virtual Interactions Between Mentee & Mentor

  • In the first mentoring meeting, discuss the likelihood of some/all sessions having to be virtual and what this could entail:
    • Schedule meetings at times other than traditional office hours
    • For sessions that may encroach on meal times be sure you have reserved time to “meet and not eat”
    • If meetings are late or very early, be aware that people may not be at their best
    • Because you do not have the benefit of sight, it is critical tO ask clarifying questions throughout the session to ensure understanding & agreement
  • At the end of the meeting, always review commitments, summarize and
    agree on next steps
  • Whether face to face or virtual, committing uninterrupted time together and ensuring you have privacy is key

Getting The Most From Remote / Virtual Interactions Between Mentee & Mentor

Your relationship with your Mentee / Mentor may be virtual all or part of the time. Here are actions to make it effective:

  • It is imperative to be committed to the mentoring structure established, yet flexible to individual needs
  • Find a way to break through the “virtualness” to make real contact with the other person. Consider using Zoom!
  • Look for opportunities to meet face-to-face – travel or business meetings at same location, etc.

Development Planning

An ongoing process for improving or enhancing a person’s knowledge and skills to help him or her achieve goals or maximize potential.

  • Mentee Self-assessment
  • 360 and Leadership Style assessment
  • Development planning tool

Making the Development Plan a “Living Document”

Based on career goals and/or assessment results, Mentees will a create a development plan that will:

  • Pinpoint strengths to leverage, skills to enhance, and/or behaviors to change
  • Generate development goals (no more than 2 or 3)
  • Define specific strategies, actions and tactics to achieve each goal, along with timeframes for completion
  • Develop criteria for evaluating their progress towards the goals,
  • Validate development plans with their Manager and Mentor
  • Guide or roadmap for the mentoring partnership

Mentee Next Steps

  • Contact Mentor within the next week to schedule your first meeting.
  • As pre-work for your first meeting with your Mentor:
    • Complete the Partnership Agreement worksheet (Mentors will be asked to do the same)
    • Schedule Leadership Style Assessment
    • Begin work on your development plan
    • Develop and forward to your mentor, a preliminary meeting agenda
    • Decide what documents, if any you will share with your mentor

Mentee Readiness Areas

  1. What is “executive presence” and how can you demonstrate
  2. As a Mentee how can you demonstrate willingness to learn and be open to new and different ideas?
  3. What are specific ways to develop trust in the mentoring relationship?
  4. What are tangible and intangible ways to determine the success of your mentoring relationship?
  5. How can you demonstrate initiative in managing your own career?

First Mentor / Mentee Meeting

The first meeting is very critical in setting the framework for the Mentor / Mentee relationship. Three key areas should be covered in your meeting.


Make certain you both understand what you can and cannot expect
from each other. This includes talking about the way the relationship will function in terms of time commitments, communication, scheduling meetings, and handling cancelled meetings. It also includes discussing what both partners want from the relationship in terms of processes, outcomes, role clarification, values, and participation.

Tools To Clarify Expectations:

  1. Mentoring Partnership Agreement Worksheet
  2. Partnership Agreement


Get to know one another. Strangers do not form relationships. What elements will make you both feel more comfortable in the partnership relationship? List interesting and relevant questions that might help the relationship be more productive. Your list might include background on career history, family, experiences, goals, vision, values, temperament, and present job. It is important the Mentor begins the process of understanding the Mentee (strengths, weaknesses, temperament, etc.) and his/her role (present and desired future job).

Tools To Build Understanding:

  • Resume/Bio
  • Mentee Enrollment Form, Mentor & Mentee Planning Worksheets
  • Assessment Results (Mentoring Self-Assessment, Leadership Style Assessment etc.
  • Performance ObjectivesJob Description Position Focus
  • Organization Flow Chart


Create an agenda for the next meeting. Set the date, time, and location. Determine next topics for discussion. Create a template for the process you decide you want to operate together.


  1. What to Include in a Partnership Agenda

Mentoring Partnership Agreement Worksheet

The purpose of the mentoring agreement is to establish mutual expectations for the partnership relationship.

Before meeting with your Mentor or Mentee, answer the following questions. When meeting with your Mentor or Mentee, refer to your answers to complete the agreement.


  1. How do I view my role as a Mentor or Mentee:
  2. What do I hope to gain from the relationship (desired outcome)? (increased productivity, overcoming obstacles, support, encouragement, collaboration on development plan, suggestions, feedback, help in a particular area, improvement in coaching skills, direction, etc.)
  3. What do I hope to contribute to the relationship (what value do I bring)? (thinking, powerful questions, experience, processes, motivation, clear objectives, vision, etc.

Spend time answering all three questions above.


  1. How do expect my Mentor or Mentee to participate during our meeting times? (ask questions, take initiative, speak frankly, active listening, understanding, action-oriented, give information, share experiences, challenge, etc.)
  2. What values are important to me in the relationship? (mutual respect, open-mindedness, trust, reliable behavior, honesty, promptness, confidentiality, etc.)


6. What do want my Mentor or Mentee to commit to in terms of function
(operating procedure)? (commitment, regular communication, send an agenda beforehand, easy access outside of meetings, etc.)
7. How do I want the relationship to function?

  • How often and how long do I expect to meet face-to-face? (The Leaders
    Developing Leaders Mentoring Program suggests a minimum of 8
    meetings during the 12-month program.)
  • What do I expect I in terms of other communication? (E-mail, phone calls, voice mail, etc.)
  • What suggestions do I have for meeting locations?

Mentoring Partnership Agreement


I. We view the roles of Mentee and Mentor as… (refer to question 1-3)

2. We plan to participate in our Mentor/Mentee relationship by committing to… (refer to questions 4-5)

3. We will function inside and outside of meeting times by committing to (refer to questions 6-7)

  • Frequency of meetings:
  • Length of meetings:
  • Location of meetings:
  • Other communication:

Mentor’s signature:
Mentee’s signature:


What to Include in a Mentor/Mentee Agenda (Reference Tool for Mentees)

Agendas help to maximize meetings and a mentoring meeting is no exception. Thinking through eight primary components will help to create productive meetings. Each component should be considered in creating each meeting agenda and then the agenda should be communicated to the Mentor. Samples for communicating with the Mentor follow.


The basics of the meeting need to be confirmed with one another.

  • Date
  • Time
  • Place
  • Duration

Understanding Each Other:

What additional information or exchange might be helpful to set a foundation for a successful relationship? It is extremely helpful to think through what might help the Mentor understand the Mentee and his/her world. As well, the Mentee needs to understand the Mentor and his/her potential contributions better.

  • Personal foundation (personal background, life history, career history, experiences, core values, personal mottos, etc.)
  • Skills and Abilities (In what areas does the other excel? What skills can be learned/taught?)
  • Desired future and vision (What does the Mentee see as his/her future What IS his/her vision for his/her career? Personal life?)
  • Processes (understanding how the other learns, makes decisions, solves problems, approaches work, etc.)


What has occurred since last communication?

  • Progress on goals
  • Reflections
  • New situation / experiences


What areas of concern or desired growth does the Mentee have?

  • Specific questions
  • Scenarios (something that happened recently in the work environment that needs discussion/perspective)
  • Preparation (for a new situation, skill, experience)
  • Gaps between what the Mentee wants to know/do and what he/she feels he/she knows/does

Items to Bring:

What key items might be appropriate to bring to create understanding or promote growth?

  • Performance review 360 degree reports
  • Written goals (performance, work, personal)
  • Book to review
  • Assessment reports
  • Job descriptions / position focus
  • Examples of work


What additional approaches might help to facilitate understanding or learning?

  • Attending a networking or development meeting
  • Role-playing or practice
  • Case studies

Review or Action Steps:

What suggestions or homework have the Mentor/Mentee agreed to complete before the next meeting?

  1. Read a book or article
  2. Conversation with boss
  3. Attend a meeting
  4. Add a new skill (i.e.: facilitate a meeting, make a presentation)


Evaluation is a critical part of the learning process. What is working well in the partnership? Is there an area that needs improvement or is not meeting expectations? How is a development plan progressing? Are there areas of needed change?

  • The partnership
  • The plan

Mentor Planning Worksheet

The mentor should complete these questions prior to the initial
meeting with the mentee:

  • What do you bring to this relationship?
  • What motivations and values do you have that will support a mentorship?
  • What experiences have you had that you have grown from? What lessons have you learned from these experiences that you could share?
  • What are your strengths? How have you built upon them?
  • How have you developed or created “work-arounds” for your areas of weakness?
  • What role models of mentoring behavior have you experienced and what will you apply that you have learned from them?
  • What people, experiences and viewpoints can you connect your mentee to that will provide developmental experience?
  • How do you hope to learn or grow from this relationship?
  • What outcomes do you want from this relationship?
  • What do you need to do to make this work?

Mentee Planning Worksheet

The mentee should complete these questions prior to the initial meeting with the mentor:

  • What are your career aspirations?
  • What are your near term goals—one or two years from now?
  • What knowledge, skills and abilities should you develop in order to meet these goals?
  • What experiences could help you meet your goals?
  • What are your desired outcomes for the mentoring relationship?
  • What do you expect from your mentor?
  • What agreement do you and your mentor need to have in terms of confidentiality?
  • How will you know if the relationship is working?

Mentoring Goal Plan

  1. The objective of the Mentoring Goal Plan is to provide guidance to the mentoring partnership and to ensure that the development needs and goals of the mentee are met.
  2. The Goal Plan should be completed jointly by the mentee and mentor with input from the mentee’s manager
  3. The following tools should be used to complete the Goal Plan: Existing development plan, self-assessment summary, leadership style assessment results and coaching report, mentee goals and objectives, etc.

Use the following if you need:


This self-assessment should be completed by the Mentee. Using the completed assessment, the Mentee and Mentor should then construct a development plan to determine areas for improvement. The development plan will serve as working document for setting and meeting goals and objectives during the mentoring relationship.

Directions: Rate yourself against each critical competency. Circle the appropriate rating. (5=superior, 4=often exceeds expectation, 3=neutral, 2=meets expectations, 1=needs development)

  1. Strategic/Innovative – ability to conceptualize and clarify all forces, events, entities, and people that are affecting the situation. The ability to create Or enhance new ideas, products, and services through challenging assumptions and thinking “out of the box”.
  2. Change Agent – planning and initiating important organizational changes by identifying the need for change and bringing about change in spite of obstacles. Behaviors that are used include: ability to build from scratch, turn around ability, tough mindedness, and persuasiveness.
  3. Leadership – articulating a compelling future vision coupled with the charisma to create enthusiasm and commitment for that vision throughout the organization. Key behaviors include vision, inspiration, role model, and achievement.
  4. Interpersonal Relations – enhancing understanding and mutual respect, acknowledging the needs and feelings of others, focusing on the positive aspects of conflict, and valuing diversity to build an effective team to ultimately create a healthy environment for productivity. Key behaviors include communication, relationship building, approachability, and conflict management.
  5. Staff Development – exhibiting a genuine intent to foster the learning or development of others by coaching, supporting personal growth, rewarding, and team-building.
  6. Management/Administration – identifying what has to be done and developing systems and procedures to get things done by staffing and project management.
  7. Business Acumen – understanding the industry, its key success factors, the competition, and expected future developments and challenges as well as the organization’s goals, strategies, strengths, and weaknesses. Including the following behaviors: customer focus, financial awareness, broad company knowledge, and commitment to quality.
  8. Thinking Patterns – selecting and using appropriate strategic, creative, or resourceful thinking to make effective decisions by being flexible, handling uncertainty, analytical, and using systems thinking.
  9. Emotional Maturity understanding and mastering your own emotions (and recognizing emotions of others) in ways that instill confidence, motivate, inspire, and enhance group effectiveness through self-awareness, commitment to personal growth, balanced values, and perspective.
  10. Results Orientation focusing on accomplishment by providing useful service, products, or advice. Effective leaders persistently go after goals and measure their success in terms of results achieved using decisiveness, resourcefulness, thoroughness, and are venturesome.
  11. Analytical Thinking uses broad conceptualization and problem solving when faced with complex situations. Identifies cause and effect and integrates multiple concepts. Offers new and creative solutions.
  12. Executive Judgment – evaluation of facts, actions, trade-offs, and risks to reach sound decisions. Addresses cross-functional implications of actions, drives for quality. Accepts responsibility for own actions and displays sound judgments.
  13. Communication and Influencing shares and expresses information in an organized, clear, and timely manner. Uses both written and verbal communication effectively. Strong interpersonal skills and an active listener both individually and in group settings.
  14. Forward Thinking – develops plans that address immediate and long term business needs and initiatives. Anticipates opportunities to create new and better business practices.
  15. Functional Proficiency recognized as a subject matter expert in relevant functional areas. Utilizes skills, knowledge, and expertise to proactively develop solutions to complex business issues. Is willing to share knowledge and skills with others to enhance proficiency.
  16. Strategic Leadership – recognized as one who guides, directs and coaches others. A commitment to serving the needs of employees, customers, and shareholders. Takes ownership for own actions as well as the team’s.
  17. Adaptability – anticipates the need for change and solicits feedback from professional development needs. Foresees changes in the business and actively manages the change.
  18. Quality – meets output goals while meeting quality standards.
  19. People Management and Development (managers only) – performs skills in coaching, and developing people at all performance levels. Is able to recognize individuals who are ready to move and supports organizational development. Effectively motivates individuals to achieve business goals. Evaluates and recognizes performance. Implements activities designed to attract, develop and retain a diverse workforce.
  20. Process Management – coordinates workflow and meets objectives. The ability to set multiple priorities resulting in consistent output. Is able to meet changing priorities and uses technology to drive continuous process improvement.
  21. Project Management performs project duties while mindful of final results. Able to manage change and using resources appropriately. Assignments are finished ahead of time to allow for group discussion and adjustments if necessary. Deliverables are presented in professional manner.
  22. Passion for Talent (managers only) – ability to attract, select, reward and retain talented employees. Creates enthusiasm, enhances communication, builds relationships, and encourages cooperation within own sector as well as working with other sectors.

Overall Self-Assessment Summary

Directions: Choose from the critical list below in the Self-Assessment.

List below your three competency strengths:

  1. One
  2. Two
  3. Three

List below your three areas for development from the list of competencies:

  1. One
  2. Two
  3. Three

List any areas not included in the list of competencies for areas you would like to develop in: