What your kids can teach you and how to recoup some of your investment!

Small child sitting in the grass

Many of our long time readers would have seen us shamelessly quote Kenny Moore previously.

Many of our long time readers would have seen us shamelessly quote Kenny Moore previously. This article is again based on his writings as presented in his regular newsletter, this one dated late 2006.

All leaders within the corporate environment will at some stage turn their thoughts to considering whether they need to engage the services of a consultant of some form to help them resolve a particular issue, or perhaps to assist develop the latest strategic plan that their organisation requires.

Kenny Moore’s latest newsletter reminded me that like consultants, children don’t come cheaply and so perhaps we could recoup some of our investment by observing more closely what it is they’re showing us every single day!

Kenny talked about attending his children’s school play rehearsals where night after night he watched them struggle through their lines, fumble away, all while holding at bay their stage fright. Despite all this, they supported each other every time a mistake was made, they continued to sing out boldly and to carry on the face of what most adults would regard as agonisingly embarrassing.

He summarised what he learnt into these “6 shining lessons.” And for the hard-nosed amongst you, I never intended them to be taken as hard and fast rules. However I believe that by simply adopting some of the attitudes when responding to certain situations will see you handle life in a more balanced manner.

Lesson # 1: “If people say you’re not qualified, pay them no mind.”

Don’t’ be constrained by the judgment of others. Life has always had a way of disregarding some of the mindless rules that society can try to impose. We’re all here for a purpose. Rewards will come our way for reasons which will not always be clear, if we take responsibility for publicly using the gifts we’ve been given. 

Lesson # 2: “When things don’t go as planned – giggle and keep moving.”

Despite what you believe, none of us are really in charge of that much. Over-planning often does no more than suppress those wonderful bonus’s that life should present to you from time to time. When destiny decides to present us with something that was unexpected, a childlike sense of curiosity should also be a part of our response.

Lesson # 3: “other may recognise your talents before you do.”

You’re often blind to your own gifts. Think of those people you’ve known that are naturally good at something but because it is easy for them, they tend to automatically discount the value of the skill.

Lesson # 4: “Mistakes make for new and entertaining opportunities.”

This is one of those pieces of advice that has been quoted and re-quoted so many times that I almost didn’t quote it again here. But Kenny had a way of making this very old point that is worth considering.

If everything went according to plan, we would never mature because our lives would be continuously repeating versions of yesterday! Mishaps on the other hand can often be portals to personal growth and self discovery. 

Lesson # 5: “Performing with others is better than stealing the spotlight.”

Basking in the glow of the lime light can make us blind to the other action taking place on stage! Again such an old piece of advice but consider the alternative in the context of a play.  If we’re blinded by our own role, we run the risk of believing that the audience is there to serve us, rather than the other way around. It’s when your talents mix with those of others, that a true performance takes place. Giving recognition to the many instead of fawning over the few, continues to remain a more refreshing way of doing business and living life.

Lesson # 6: “Be positive rather than punitive.”

We decided to highlight this as a separate article under this editions “Opinion” – refer page ?????. It goes to the very heart of certain HR practises which if you’re a regular reader of HR literature you will have seen promoted quite regularly in recent times; that is the idea that you should annually ‘cull’ the bottom 10% of your workforce. Kenny’s view is that punishing people because they don’t meet some imposed standard, is a far less effective way to build a great team than to encourage people for what they ARE good at. Go to page ? now and read why “mindlessly raising the bar of acceptable performance, threatens many employees”.

Kenny Moore is co-author of “The CEO and the Monk: One Company’s Journey to Profit and Purpose” (John Wiley and Sons, 2004).  He is Director of Human Resources and Corporate Ombudsman at a New York City Fortune 500 company. Reporting to the CEO, he is primarily responsible for awakening joy, meaning and commitment in the workplace. While these efforts have largely been met with skepticism, he remains eternally optimistic of their future viability. Kenny has over 20 years experience with change management, leadership development and healing the corporate community. Prior to his work in corporate America, he spent 15 years in a monastic community as a Catholic priest - doing a very similar kind of work, but getting paid a lot less.  He has survived “incurable” cancer and open heart surgery - largely due to luck and Divine playfulness. Having dealt with both God and death, Kenny now finds himself eminently qualified to work with executives on corporate change efforts. He can be reached at kmoore@keyspanenergy.com.