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Horizontal Mentorship ?

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Mentorship Types

Why horizontal beats vertical every time

Becomes Transactional Creates a power imbalance based on workplace hierarchy

Mentorship is not training. When mentorship is vertical, the focus is on the mentee getting something as opposed to both people benefitting.


Of Participants in Traditional...

Vertical mentorships are considered productive and quality by both parties

Builds Empathy Creates opportunities to learn about obstacles

Mentorship is mutual. When mentorship is horizontal, the focus is on both people learning and teaching, regardless of experience or status.


Of Participants in Horizontal...

Mentorships last for 6 months and are considered productive by participants

vertical mentorship


Power imbalances

Pressure to impress

Communication barriers

vertical mentorship
horizontal mentorship


Mutual respect

Shared motivations


horizontal mentorship

Understand the obstacles faced by employees in different departments

This understanding builds empathy between team members and breaks down communication barriers which decreases engagement volatility and increases productivity


Scenario A Poor Communication

Bob in accounting to Jen in accounting

Bob - "$200 for lunch! How could Justin possibly justify spending $200 on a LUNCH!? I am going to send him an email asking him to explain why he needed to spend $200 on lunch."

Justin in sales to Larissa in sales

Justin - "Accounting is getting all over me for that lunch the other day. Do they not realize that this is our largest client? Do they not realize how they get their paychecks!? Sales! Without us, the company can't operate. If I don't wine and dine our largest client for a lunch and we lose that deal, we may have to make cutbacks. Spending $200 on one lunch is a drop in the bucket compared to losing the thousands in revenue we make every month on them. Stupid accountants!"


Bob in accounting is matched with Justin in sales.

Justin - "I didn't realize how similar we are in terms of what motivates us at work. We both strive for professional growth. I didn't realize how similar we are. I also didn't realize the pressure you are under to balance the books and how our accounting is recorded. That $200 lunch is recorded in this quarter but the revenue we received from that client is recorded in next quarter, creating an imbalance in the books. I also didn't realize how much you budgeted for me to spend on a typical lunch and that $200 was over that budget."

Bob - "I also didn't realize how similar we are in terms of Work Orientation. I didn't realize how much pressure you are under to make quota and keep our existing clients. Please let me know which clients you would like a little more budget to wine and dine so I can write that into the budget for the future."

Build empathy between team members and open up new lines of communication

Horizontal Mentorship with Ambition In Motion changes the game by breaking through communication barriers across employees.

Women's Empowerment Group

Sofia is a junior developer for a company Ambition In Motion works with and Laurie is the VP of customer success. Sofia is 28 years old and Laurie is 48 years old. They work in completely different departments and have occasional interactions with each other. After getting paired with each other for the mentoring relationship, they ended up realizing that their company really needed a Women’s Empowerment Group. They created the group on their own time outside of work and now go to Women In Technology fairs at colleges across Indiana to recruit young women in technology to join their group. This has helped their company build a more inclusive environment and has helped get young developers interested in working for their company.


Removing Assumptions About Other's Work

Jim is the Director of Training and Development for a company Ambition In Motion works with and Luke works in accounting. Jim is 56 years old and Luke is 33 years old. They work in completely different departments and have occasional interactions with each other. Before the mentor program, Jim would receive emails from Luke because Jim didn’t properly submit his expense reports (e.g. an i wasn’t dotted or a t not crossed). Jim perceived this as a hassle and openly complained about Luke’s emails to other employees. After getting paired for the mentoring relationship, Jim was able to learn about the pressures Luke is under and gained insight into why it is critical that his expense reports are completed properly (e.g. not getting audited by the IRS). Jim has stopped complaining about Luke’s emails and now rarely receives them because he and his entire department gets his expense reports completed properly the first time. Jim also gave Luke feedback on how he could send future expense report revisions that cut the revision time down from 15 minutes to 5 minutes.


Building Connection for Remote Employees

Navneet is an engineer for a company Ambition In Motion works with and Karla works in sales. Navneet is 31 years old and Karla is 47 years old. Not only do they work in different departments, but Navneet works remotely. Navneet has been at the company for less than 2 years and enjoys working for the company but has only met people in other departments a handful of times for trainings and events that require her to come to the home office. This distance caused her to feel disconnected to the culture of the company and a lack of understanding in terms of how her role fit into the operation of the company as whole. After getting connected with Karla, she was able to build a connection with somebody who had worked at the company for over 5 years and could help her better understand the company culture, how other departments operate, and how her role helps make the company's operations run smoother. With this greater understanding, Navneet has now started to prototype ideas based on the feedback Karla is receiving in her sales conversations on her own time as a way to further enhance the company's offerings.


Start here

A guide to starting your own horizontal mentor program

Learn your Work Orientation

Understand your own Work Orientation and the type of person you would pair well with in a mentor relationship through the Work Orientation Assessment

Identify Participants

Leverage the Engagement Volatility Assessment to prescribe a mentor program fit for the right people at the right time on your team

Approve Matches

Affirm the matches Ambition In Motion has made for your team

Receive Monthly Reports

Gain insights into the status of your mentor program via regular reports from Ambition In Motion

Grow Your Culture

Continue connecting and reconnecting your team with new mentor pairings every 6 months

In The News

We love collaborating and celebrating success

Building Mentor Connections Through Work Orientation

Kickstarting Mentorships For Fulfilling Careers