Humans have lived with Mother Nature in most synergistic way. Even in today’s frantic world of information explosion, there is lot to be learned from the simple and most obvious things; but we fail to imbibe the learning scattered around us. Remember, many a time the bulky books and endless world of internet fail, whereas the nature impeccably mirrored the lessons even about the modern world’s business and marketing.
I notice the kids around me. Their actions radiate simple truths of business and marketing; the lessons covered by the greatest of management philosophers in their voluminous books and endless articles. Watch them next time closely and think over, you will be amazed by the timeless lessons that they teach you.
I’ve seen my boys growing up. It has been a treat to watch them grow and see them teach numerous lessons in their own way. Kids are smartest teachers, but learning is optional to us.
1. Emotions are stronger than rationale
Kids are the smartest marketers, consistently finding the chinks in your emotional armor; and every single time, you give up to their oddest of whims. Emotions are the strongest of feelings that fizzles out the rationale and make me act; because you too are emotionally bound to them.
Lesson: Connect with customers on emotional ground. Organization’s repute, superior products, brand equity, value for money etc. are based on logical rationale which are equally important; but conclusively its strong emotional connect to your customers which make them buy from you; becoming our advocates in fiercely competitive world. Block the rationale, become their savior, their friend, their well wishers; everything else will follow.
2. Have patience. Perseverance always pays
You will never see the kids giving up when they couldn’t sit at first try, when they couldn’t walk first step, when they couldn’t speak their first word clearly, when they couldn’t fix the toy that they dismantled in curiosity…. the list is endless. Leaving the ground is akin to accepting failure. They win their small battles by perseverance; by endless patience of trying…and trying until they succeed.
Lesson: Single strike never transforms iron bar into sword. It’s always perseverance and patience in your marketing efforts that bring results. Don’t give up, improve upon your strategies, implement them, and wait. Perseverance and patience will pay. Remember what Nelson Mandela said once, “It always seems impossible until it’s done” How true!!!
3. Don’t carry the baggage
Whether it’s attempting earlier failed effort or passing you a loving gaze after your feigned scolding, kids never ever carry the baggage forward. Their actions are so devoid of the burden of past feelings that you surrender immediately for their freshness and innocence. They leave and forget everything and start afresh every time.
Lesson: Old, preconceived thoughts, notions and beliefs mustn’t ruin your efforts of planning and implementing. Leave baggage. It mustn’t burden you. Act on merit of the situation. Start afresh, behave as kids; remember when your kids return your loving gesture with equal intensity minutes after your feigned scolding. This principle is also a golden rule for all our relationships.
4. Keep curiosities burning
This is the natural gift given by God to us but it fades out as we grow older. Kids are curious about every single thing they observe. Watch them carefully when they are aloof in their own sweet world. They touch, feel, experiment, break, dismantle, try to see beyond the visible, discovering every single moment. They are bemused, curious and, surprisingly, they keep this feeling always burning in them.
Lesson: Always be on your toes, experiment with your methods; try to do novel things in your plans and strategies. Being curious always like a kid is the key to learning. Invent new ways to implement your strategies. Capture Kids-like curiosity. Never let your natural impulse to know and experiment die. You will realize “winners don’t do different things, they do things differently.”
5. Ask questions
Kids sometimes baffle you with the questions they ask. They never have what-the-other-person-will-think syndrome. Their intellect gets enriched with every answer they get from you. Moreover, observe closely, they never take your first answer on face value. They are expert in probing; why, what, who, when are the amours which even marketing experts also vouch for in their texts.
Lesson: Remember, growth ceases the moment you stop asking. Put every single strategy and plan under question and look for answers. Ask a lot of questions from customers, from yourself, from your peers. Probe your plans, implementation, results, and question the ways to improve. Inputs are critical and they will never come your way unless you ask.
6. Take risks
Everything is a risk while charting an unknown territory. Kids are audacious risk takers. Their every action is associated with inherent risk; whether its learning to walk with risk of falling down, experimenting with a risk of failure or getting mischievous with a risk of scolding. The moment they acknowledge the risk, they act with caution next time but never stop taking risks.
Lesson: Any Action is better than inaction. There is inherent risk in every strategy you apply in market. Take into account the risks, build safeguards early on; but never cease to initiate and experiment. You can never learn to swim unless you jump into water and take the risk of drowning.
7. Learn from failures
This is the underlined priceless lesson you learn from your kids. Failure is integral to their every single attempt of learning and growing. Again watch them closely; they never repeat the same mistake, learning from every subsequent failure and improve with every step. It’s the learnings from modest failures which enable them to grow and learn the basics of living.
Lesson: Its unfortunate for us to ignore the learning from our last failure. Lost accounts, disastrous marketing campaign, failed strategy etc. seldom able to teach us lessons. If you see the pattern carefully, you keep on repeating the same mistake and failing consistently but rarely learn from them. Failures are the most potent teachers of success.
8. Read non verbal cues
Believe me, your kids are excellent face readers, experts in picking non verbal cues and act accordingly. Your angry gaze or modest smile, your good mood or disturbed mind, they can read every emotion. Their actions are apt according to your non verbal language that your body, anyway, shows it. They need not be spoken to every time to let them understand your expectation.
Lesson: What your customers tells you is not always true. Catch their non verbal cues. Get into their mind. See thorough their non verbal language; try to see the pattern behind their behaviors. Give them what they long for, its different most of the time from what they ask for. You can always pick the cues. Many bigger organizations use customer psychology as one of the inherent part of their marketing strategies
9. Stop saying “That’s the way it’s always been done”
This is the Golden rule and timeless lesson your kids can teach you. I am yet to come across a kid saying “I will do this way because I have always been doing this way only”. They are always open for learning, always open to try the novel ways of doing things.
Lesson: Get out of the genre of that’s-the-way-it’s-always-been-done marketers. Your every strategy and plan can be approached altogether from a different perspective. Don’t let yourself to become slave of old, rotten ways of doing things. Investigate every step and don’t hesitate to change if required. Match your pace with the expectations, change yourself, change the way you do the things. Marshall Goldsmith aptly said “What got you here won’t get you there”.
Next time you see your kids playing, engrossed in their own world; watch them and you will realize they always teach us priceless lessons in their own sweet ways…. Let me know if you learn something more, adding to the above list…..