4 Business Secrets You Can Use in Parenting


parenting skills

I edited a Dutch business book last week (it had already been translated into English!), and while I read about execution strategy, top-down management, and project management I came across insightful business advice that works as parenting skills too.

After I finished my editing job, I started using some of that advice with my own children. I was thrilled to see that it worked! Here are four business secrets you can try too.

1. Wanting to is better than having to.

In business, it’s described as getting employees to “buy into” a new program or initiative. If you don’t get the “buy-in,” you’ll have to drag your employees kicking and screaming to your way of thinking.

To get a buy-in from your kids, tell them the why behind what you’re asking them to do. Give them a chance to contribute to the plan and listen attentively. Finally, when you feel it’s appropriate, give them an incentive. One mom I know gets her kids to buy into cleaning the house on Saturday mornings by taking them on a family bowling outing once they’ve finished.

2. Limit your scope of improvement.

My kids have lots of behaviors and patterns I’d like to address. But according to business experts, if you try to get your team to work on all of their needs-improvement areas at once, you’ll have little chance for success. Instead, they say, target one or two behaviors at a time. Let your kids know you’re teaching them something new. Give them an alternative to the targeted behavior.

3. Attitude follows actions.

If you want your child to think a new way, help him develop the habits first that lead to that way of thinking. In my own home, I wanted my teenage daughter to want to keep her room clean. Well, to help her see the benefit in that action, I cleaned her room to perfection. When she walked in she was floored. “Mom,” she said later. “I really like studying in my room now.”

I told her that it would be easy to keep her room clean if, every day, she straightened her room before she got into bed, that way, the mess would never get out of hand. Her actions changed because she experienced the attitude shift that came from having a restful room.

4. You win some, you learn some.

Failure is okay. I repeat, failure is okay. One of the Dutch companies I read about has, you win some you learn some, as its motto. It wants its employees to innovate without fear of reprimand. Another company motto is, failure is fuel, and without it, innovation comes to a standstill.

In business, as it is in life, it is good to try new approaches and ways to do things. Our kids will only feel the freedom to innovate if they know that we won’t get mad at them if they fail.

What are your business-inspired parenting skills?

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