On the school holidays I took my children to a fabulous adventure playground. As I watched the play, I realised that the lessons learnt in a playground apply to leadership in any organisation. So get down to your local park to play and learn!
1. Be open to others: Kids make friends easily. They are in tune to the feelings of others and blind to the differences their politically correct parents label as ‘diversity’.
2. Fluidity of teams: Children form groups or teams to meet an immediate objective (hospital tiggy is popular) and then disband with ease when the objective is met. Leadership with the ‘team’ is dynamic based on the needs of the moment – perfect training for matrix management.
3. See things differently: All the kids were playing within the obvious framework of the equipment, except two boys! They were climbing outside the equipment and had created a whole new game because they saw things differently.
4. Delight in the simplicity: Two little girls sat in a big sand pit, smiling as the sand ran through their fingers. The looks on their faces told me they were entirely present in the moment – no regrets of the past nor fears of the future – and feeling delight in the simplicity.
5. Play full on: One group of kids was playing hide and seek. Despite the cool temperature, their faces were glowing red with exertion. All the energy they had was going into that game.
6. See the possibilities: A very young boy was turning a metal steering wheel. For him it was way more than that… He could see the possibilities. He was the driver of a huge train carrying important goods.
7. The game’s over when the game’s over: When the game’s over, the kids disband. No hard feelings, no artificial promises about getting together again. The game’s over – no more or no less.
An Adventure Playground makes a great learning space for leaders.
Which lesson from the Adventure Playground, if embraced, would create the biggest shift in your leadership?
Last one to answer is ‘he’ for tiggy!