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How To Compete with Kids

You Can’t.

Kids see the world through different eyes. Eyes that do not (or prefer not to) perceive limitation or fear. Kids tackle life with a sense of curiosity, imagination and fun.

Here are 7 pretty cool things you can learn from kids that will help you live outside the square and get noticed at work (in a good way):

7. Kids have no limits. They think BIG. Progress is only ever made when you challenge the limits. So go ahead and ask “What if we do this?” at the next meeting.

6. Kids are fearless. Get a bunch of kids in a group and ask them for ideas on anything and they will go nuts. Their eyes light up with enthusiasm and they get animated. Compare that with adults who sit there deliberating on everything they say for fear of sounding stupid.

5. Kids like to have fun, otherwise they start to yawn and get tired. Their energy does not go to waste. It is expended completely. Having fun does not mean frivolous fun at the expense of getting stuff done. Get creative about what you do. Ask yourself, “What can I do differently to grab people’s attention?”

4. Adults ask “why?” Kids ask “why not!” They don’t take no for an answer. If kids are enthusiastic about an idea, it’s hard to dissuade them.

3. Kids don’t hold back. If they don’t like something they will let you know. So speak truthfully at work. Say what’s on your mind. Do not agree with ideas just to be popular. Pull someone up who is doing the wrong thing.

2. Kids ‘get over it’ pretty quickly. They wake the next morning and don’t even remember what they did wrong or what upset them the previous day. They forgive quickly and don’t hold grudges. They are wired to say “Next!”

1. Kids love their imagination and use it to daydream. Adults learn to steer away from their imagination, as they grow ‘older’ because they start to use it to imagine the worst. So it scares them. It makes them feel uneasy. Cf. with kids who use it to think of the ‘bestest ideas ever!’

So here’s a BIG idea. Hire more kids at heart. And remember that there is a difference between being child-like and being childish. You want the former not the latter.

Every organisation that is serious about innovation and business transformation has to have enthusiastic and imaginative people in their talent pool. More importantly they have to nurture and promote such talent to positions of influence, and not just for transient amusement or the fake appearance of being a cool company.