In 2002, Adriaan and Adri Grobler founded Lithon with a vision of positively impacting people’s lives. Initially, their focus was on making a meaningful difference to nearby communities in need. However, as the business developed, and the team grew, it became clear that they could also realise their vision within the company itself – by creating a people-focused culture built on values that include integrity, loyalty, generosity and respect.
In 2019, Lithon took this people focus to the next level by launching an internal leadership programme. In 2020, they went a step deeper and implemented a company-wide mentorship initiative. Although mentorship has always been an integral part of Lithon’s strategy, fostering and facilitating these relationships has taken on even more significance in a socially distanced world. Today, each staff member has a mentor who they connect with on a monthly basis – to discuss not only career growth but personal development too.
“A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.” ― Zig Ziglar
Lithon’s Operational Director, Gert Maritz, explains that the mentorship programme is designed to “take a holistic view of our people and help them develop their purpose. It’s not just about work, it’s about the individual.” The company’s leadership strategy also outlines the importance of the mentorship programme, stating that in order for Lithon to achieve its goals, all teams need to be committed to each other’s personal growth and success – something that can only happen through a “formal but genuine process of coaching and mentoring within the company.”
Lithon Foundation CEO, Marsia Reed, is currently mentoring three younger staff members and believes that the programme is a natural extension of Lithon’s culture. “There’s a family environment at Lithon and people really care about each other – in fact, the whole company has coffee together every morning to catch up and connect. I think the mentorship programme is helping to make these relationships even stronger.”
Besides building trust and strengthening relationships, the programme has real benefits for individuals and the business as a whole. “As mentors, we challenge people to push their boundaries, to explore and develop their potential in all areas of their lives,” says Reed. This holistic approach to growing staff also has a positive impact on the business because, as Reed explains, “when someone is happy and fulfilled in their life, they’re likely to be happy and more productive at work too.”
“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” — Steven Spielberg
Civil engineer in training Eva Alugodhi says that having a mentor has been a motivating influence and notes that a personal highlight has been goal setting for both her career and personal development. “The mentorship programme has helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses, and it continues to challenge me to move out of my comfort zone,” she says.
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