Why Protection in the Playground Robs Children of their Resilience

Children in the PlaygroundI sometimes wonder if we as parents and our schools have gone too far in over-protecting our children, pandering to their whims, and being hell-bent on saving them from accidents or disappointment in their young lives. Remember that old saying from the fairground… “Every Player Wins a Prize!” But should they? We all know that’s not the reality in the real world and we may be risking future emotional harm by trying too hard to smooth out the bumps in the road for our children during their formative years.

Political correctness gone mad and ‘safety first’ may be responsible for breeding a generation lacking in resilience who throw in the towel at the very first falter or knockback. I remember days of falling on the hard ground and skinning my knee; cutting my arm on a nail sticking out of the billycart I and my brother had built; breaking a collar bone in a football tackle; and discovering that what I thought was a ‘best in class’ composition only gaining me a B-.  Yet eventually the knee and the arm healed; the collarbone knitted together and I knuckled down and tried harder on my next classroom assignment.

And yes there was the occasional schoolyard falling out between friends when lunchtime games went awry, but ultimately we sorted things out and made up again the next day without the need for adults to come in and impose their ‘play fair’ rules upon us.

So if you like me, feel that protection pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction here is a wonderful story about a radical new move to back away from over protection in the schoolyard. It originates from my old home town in Auckland, New Zealand.

I read this story on Australia Day and it is sourced from ONE News in NZ. The headline reads “School Ditches Rules and Loses Bullies.” Now that piqued my interest. Here’s the gist of it… [Read more...]

When Spreading Good Fun and Goodwill is the sustainable competitive advantage

Red Balloon Logo on TagWhen RedBalloon opened their doors in 2001, they didn’t just want to open an online gift retail shop, they opened their doors to start a happiness revolution… [Read more...]

A Paradigm-Busting Australian Study Tour

Showcasing companies that are changing our world and the way we do business today.

Time For ActionAcross the globe executives are realising that we need to change the way we are running our businesses, because the old ways don’t serve society and its people effectively any more. The current model has served us well for the last 150 years but the world is changing faster now than we have ever experienced at any other time in our history.  Businesses lose their relevance at the same rate that internal change lags behind the pace of external change.  We’re now at a time when we are facing the option of change or become irrelevant. [Read more...]

A Short but costly Lesson on giving too much Freedom

Landscaping - Instant TurfI must admit I got caught out recently when I thought I was doing the right thing by this young tradesman. I needed some landscaping to be completed at the front of my property and it just so happened that at the same time I was considering my options, a young man (around 25 years) happened to drop by with a business card offering to quote me on the job. He had been doing some work in the area and noticed that I had been preparing my front yard for a major facelift. He seemed knowledgeable about his craft (landscaping and concreting) and was personable enough in a rough ‘tradie’ kind of way. Once I had seen his handiwork on some previous jobs, I felt comfortable he could complete the work to an acceptable level, so I decided to give him the opportunity. So far so good… [Read more...]

R.O.I. + I. – Return on Investment and Integrity. The new Breed of Brands.

Southwest Airlines - Fortune's Most Admired listWhen you think of some of the world’s most admired brands, there have been precious few who have lasted the distance remaining consistently near the top of all the “best” lists for the whole of their corporate life since inception. We have witnessed many burst on to the scene from nowhere only to disappear from view within a decade or so. And quite a few have remained in the public eye as product/service innovators one year; top financial performers another; employers of choice at other times; and maybe even good corporate citizens on other occasions.

But to be recognised as consistently high achievers in the triple bottom line of Financial, Social and Environmental performance takes a special kind of company with a special kind of culture and ‘servant leadership’ who understand the true meaning of ‘stewardship’ and all that it represents. In my opinion there is one company in the USA that has remained the stand-out performer for almost all of its 42 years in an industry littered with failures, and it continues to outperform on its “R.O. Double I” to this day. And no, it is neither a hi-tech nor an IT based company. It plies its trade in a brown fields industry that has been around for decades. [Read more...]

Australia’s Election is over and our outgoing PM gives a Victory Speech!

Kevin Rudd on Election nightSo at last the election is over and we can get on with our lives. We have a new conservative government  and a new Prime Minister, Mr Tony Abbott. Once again I would like to draw your attention to the language used by our outgoing Prime Minister, Mr Kevin Rudd, as he delivered his 30 minute concession speech. From what the pundits are saying, it seems I may not be the only one who wondered whether he had achieved a marvellous victory, rather than a resounding defeat. It seems to me that Mr Rudd was attempting to “reframe” the loss as a victory of sorts, but in my opinion it falls short for a number of reasons. [Read more...]

The Broken Window Theory and how Context defines Meaning and Motivation

Two Fish SwimmingTwo young fish were swimming in one direction when they happened to meet an older fish heading the other way. The older fish nods at them and says… “Morning boys. How’s the water?” The younger fish swim on for a bit and eventually one of them turns to the other and says… “What the hell is water?”  Even though this story told by award-winning novelist David Foster Wallace is all about ‘missing the obvious’ it also a salutary lesson about context and how it defines meaning. Fish are defined by their water environment. Without it they wouldn’t exist, but as the story goes, it is so pervasive in their lives that they remain blissfully unaware of it even though they exist only because of it. And so it is with people. We are who we are because of the context in which we find ourselves, and that can have a huge impact on the type of profiling assessments organisations use in recruitment, and why I believe it is wise to steer clear of ‘personality profiles.’ [Read more...]