Just recently leadership took on a whole new meaning for me when I realised a certain someone started to watch my every move, they were repeating things I’d say but not always doing as I’d ask of them. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about a disruptive colleague – in fact, this person doesn’t even reside in my workplace.
At 08:32 on Monday, 5th July 2010 I became a father to the most beautiful creation on the planet; Jessica Rose. Since taking on this new heir of responsibility I’ve watched with admiration how she has grown and developed over the last couple of years – from drinking that first bottle to taking her first steps; nothing comes close to the sense of pride I get from these milestones – all of which came from the nurturing between my wife Julia and me.
But, as with all relationships they are a two way thing and I’m learning lots from Jessica as she is from me. There is something we can all learn from the way children think; they know no boundaries. We all share the same stories at Birthdays and at Christmas time when the giving of presents results in a young child being more likely to play with a box than with its contents, but why is this?!?!
Children are not bound to a set of rules that would come with a toy; it goes forward, it goes backwards; this goes here, that goes there; it turns on, it shuts off. A child’s natural inquisitive nature tells them to look at the bigger picture, to take a step back and look at their surroundings. What is it that’s actually before them? That brown cardboard frame that housed the expensive toy you just brought for them is more than just a box; it’s a den, it’s a train; it’s a house; a castle! The toy they have just unwrapped hasn’t gone to waste, they’ve just found a much better way to enjoy it – that we hadn’t thought of!
I recently heard a story how Disney’s Chief Imagineer kept trying to convince a room full of board members how it feels to be close to animals on safari – he was trying to sell an idea to them that would eventually unfold into what we know as Disney’s Animal Kingdom. After a number of failed meetings, unsuccessful presentations and countless heated discussions, he had one final go to convince the jury; he took a tiger into the meeting room!
How could we use this realness principle for our new ideas or service improvements?We all need to get more creative. We need to be radical in our approach. We need to throw out the rulebook. Take down the boundaries. We need to get inside the box!