Mr. Miyagi & Mentorship

Five things we can learn from Mr. Miyagi about Mentorship:


1. Provide clear guidance

“Wax on, wax off.“ “Paint the fence.” “Sand the decks.”

These menial tasks really rubbed Daniel-san the wrong way. Little did he know that these chores would become the foundation of his Karate. Mr. Miyagi knew that teaching in this method would be best for Daniel, a blue-collar, blue-blooded kid from Newark.

This is an important lesson for our onboarding. Keep it simple and clear. Train with the end in mind. Our products are very technical, so let’s start with basics on our technology and follow up with lessons on why these tasks are important.

For example


• Create lease map of area

• Color leases by Exp. Acreage

• Get offset wells

• Color wells by last prod date

What did we just do?

We just created an HBP map for a user in a matter of seconds. When looking for acreage for a prospect area, this changes the game for our clients. Time to generate prospect acreage is reduced from days to minutes with DI.


2. Give space

One of the things I love about Mr. Miyagi is that he gives Daniel-san plenty of space to think about what he is learning and to FAIL.

Teaching ‘The Crane’ is a great example of this. Mr. Miyagi had already built a foundation of training and trust with Daniel-san, which gave him the confidence to try this seemingly impossible skill on his own….and figure it out. This came with a lot of falls off of the tree stump and frustration along the way, but he figured it out in the end.

We can learn a lot from this. We hire very smart and capable people at DI and as mentors we need to give them the space to figure things out on their own. Personally, I find myself doing a lot of the work for the new hires, which I should really hand off. How will they learn, if others do for them?

This goes hand-in-hand with #1; when providing clear, concise direction, let them work things out independently. Then always follow up and discuss pros and cons and lessons learned.


3. Full disclosure

The most pivotal moment in the film is when Daniel-san walks in on a reminiscent and drunk Mr. Miyagi who is still grieving over his estranged wife. This is the point where the student becomes the teacher. Daniel realizes that Mr. Miyagi is a real guy, with real issues just like him. Their bond grows 100 times stronger.

Albeit extreme for this example, but we can learn a lot here. Let’s get to know our new talent outside of their work ambitions. What are their passions? What are their personal goals? And then, share ours. This leads to a deeper understanding and allows us to look to each other as more than just co-workers, but trusted advisors.


4. Lead by example

As a tiny kid growing that didn’t see a growth spurt until 15, one of my favorite scenes is watching Mr. Miyagi kick John Kreese’s ass with ease. Little did I know how important this scene was to Mr. Miyagi and Daniel-san’s relationship.

Miyagi always told Daniel-san that Karate is meant for defense. He was able to finally display this during that dark night at the Cobra-Kai dojo. Daniel realized that Mr. Miyagi was the embodiment of his teachings. Furthermore, Miyagi finally realizes the gravity of Daniel-san’s situation and agrees to really train him.

As a mentor at DI, we need to practice what we preach. This is something that is vital to on boarding and to our reputation as an organization. For example, if we talk about how important an up front contract is to every client meeting….then do it at every meeting. And, let them see you do it.


5. Show pride; gracefully

Predictably, Daniel-san uses the crane to defeat Johnny in the final scene and everyone in the crowd goes nuts. Everyone except Mr. Miyagi.

After all that Daniel-san had been through, Mr. Miyagi let him enjoy this on his own and bask in the glory of the crowd.

Over the years, I have learned much more from the people I work with than they have learned from me, which makes it all the more rewarding when they are finally ready to go out and teach the greatness of DI on their own.

That is the moment you realize….wow, this man or woman is a force to be reckoned with and a subtle Miyagi nod and grin are in order.