Monday, April 20, 2009

Take Your Kids To Work Day …Every Day


Today is official “Take our Kids to Work Day” an annual event where boys and girls get to go into work and get a glimpse of what their parents do when they’re not home being plain old mom and dad.

It's a great program, but it got me to thinking, maybe once a year isn’t enough.

What would happen if we took our kids to work every day?

Now I don’t mean literally. I’m thinking more metaphorically. What would happen if we let our “inner child” rule our approach to work.

My eight year old son is at a great age. Full of imagination and not yet at that self-conscious teenage stage. He loves coming up with ideas for Virgin businesses. His Virgin school bus complete with swivel seats, soft drinks coolers and Nintendo DS is actually one worth considering. Oh and it flies over traffic if you’re stuck behind some cars….

What if we allowed our eight year old selves to take over at work?

Even the most creative and collaborative environments could probably learn a thing or two from making every day “take your kids to work day”.

Chances are that overall work would be more fun.

We’d spend less time setting up meetings and worrying about getting through all our emails - and actually spend more time creating value through imaginative play. This could lead to more ideas. Maybe some crazy ones, but some gems as well.

Documents and presentations would be simpler. We’d use fewer big words and more colorful pictures to express ourselves. We couldn’t hide behind marketing and business jargon, because we wouldn’t know what it meant, and our colleagues (other kids) would quickly call us out on it.

We’d also be more comfortable being silly. Making fools out of ourselves, and even being gross (think of the eight year old obsessions with spurting milk out of the nose and burping). But this could be a positive thing. If we felt more relaxed and comfortable with our friends (colleagues) perhaps there would be less time worrying about maintaining our images and a freer exchange or information and ideas.

We would definitely be more collaborative. Few kids like to play alone. Everyone gets a turn up at bat. And losing is tough, but kids know there will always be another chance to play. They have perspective on the stakes and don’t take things more seriously than they deserve.

Innovation and learning would be more tactile and hands on. Instead of describing new packaging structures we’d get out the Play Doh, Legos and pipe cleaners and build models so others would get what we were talking about and easily build on our ideas.

Sound pretty cool, right? So why wait for a once year event? Try channeling your “inner child” more often and you might be pleasantly surprised by the “grown up” success.

That’s my Point of View. What’s your twist?

How do you bring your inner child to work?

1 comment:

  1. Love this idea Julie. Surely you've seen the Noggin commercials with adults at work, carrying out their business tasks and reporting like children would, with big colorful charts and drawings. Hysterical, and reminiscent of this idea. Sadly, I couldn't find any of the spots on youtube.

    Great blog. Really like the voice.

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