The Business Wisdom of Kids

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“Out of the mouths of babes

                                                  

oft times come gems.”

             

–A present day reality from the Bible

                                                                                                                                     

When did you last ask a child in your life— your own or someone else’s — for an opinion on, observation of, or response to your three longest-standing business problems?

Why do you imagine business owners and managers rush to the judgment that children are incapable of contributing meaningful business solution thinking to chronic business problems? “Because,” you might offer, “children lack experience.” Well, this is certainly true. It’s more likely than not, however, that the solutions to nagging problems will not come from having been there and done that.

You don’t need an MBA or to be on the cusp of retirement in order to render a (generally most productive) simplistic approach to business problem-solving.

Like most things in life that adults tend to over-complicate, common sense typically dictates the best approach.

Children are literal fountains of uninhibited common sense.

I heard a radio commercial this week for a home-building company owned by a gentleman named Robert Pittie. The 12 year-old with me who heard the same message started laughing hysterically. It took me a few seconds to catch up because I was preoccupied driving, but when calm finally prevailed, I too near busted a gut as I figured out the lamebrain message (delivered of course with total sincerity):

“When you want a home that lasts,

call Pittie Full Construction Services.”

(Uh, I don’t think so.)

Mr. Pittie might have spared himself the embarrassment had he first tried the words on a child. Most of us, in fact, could probably benefit by the kinds of regular booster shots of childlike innocence, simplicity, and authenticity that routinely roll off the tongues of 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 and 13 year-olds. They don’t pull punches. They tell it like it is.

Kids are not controlled by paychecks, promotions and compensation plans (though a little ice cream or some Silly Bands can make for worthy incentives). They are free-thinkers. They are joyful. The more you show them active listening by asking questions and withholding judgments — even taking notes — the more likely they are to spark a new idea or ignite a productive old one you forgot. 

Besides, when you force yourself to take the time out to spend these minutes together, you are reinforcing not only the relationship with this child (or group of children . . .  assuming you think you can handle a focus group discussion!), and you are building self-esteem.

And nothing in the universe bears the fruits of self-confidence and a successful life’s journey like helping a younster to feel good about him or herself. How to start: “Gweneth, can you help me out with something? My company is trying to figure out how to make better jewelry (vacuum cleaners/dogbones/bookkeeping services/customer relations . . . whatever), and you seem to have good ideas.”

To top it all off, you’ll find that just the exercise of having to explain what you do in simple terms and examples, can bring you the answers you’re looking for all by itself. Some small business owners who make presentations like this to neighborhood schools report they get as much value from the experience as the students.    

                                                                        

www.TheWriterWorks.com or 302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US  

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

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“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

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