January 2016

It's Not How You Start...It's How You Finish

No, I'm not referring to the song from the Broadway musical Seesaw... but rather words from a 10-year old competitor in the latest team competition of the reality TV show, MasterChef Junior

In case you haven't tuned in, it's a show with kids age 8-12 who compete in a sophisticated cooking show where they create complex dishes I can't even pronounce.  They each have an amazing  gift for cooking, but it's the leadership learnings they illustrate that keep me watching.

Leadership Wisdom

Team captains discover the importance of communication and organization as they lead their small teams to complete 13 gourmet meals in less than an hour.  When the pressure is on, and the team captain struggles, another team member seamlessly picks it up and moves the team to victory.  There's no blaming -  just desire to do the best they can, and keep their focus on the big goal.

Although this is a competition where only one kid will win (and they do want to win), they collaborate, treat each other like friends, experience pure joy, and genuinely console each other when one gets stuck during a cooking challenge.  When two kids leave after each show, the remaining kids huddle around them, shed some tears, and remind them never to stop cooking to fulfill their dreams and assure them of a lasting friendship.  Even the departing kids speak about the great experience they gained, and it's always more than simply new cooking skills.

9-Year-Old Grasp

The kids are full of amazing talent along with a pure desire to help each other, as they compete to win the title.   It is a powerful reminder of how we tend to lose or forget these qualities as adults, particularly when we are under pressure. 

These kids are excited about learning (from the judges and each other) and are full of curiosity and bright energy.

Why should we lose those qualities simply because we grow up?  It's a reminder that we have the capacity to compete and excel through healthy behaviors that express respect and care, rather than destroying others in an effort to make ourselves shine (i.e. current presidential political candidates)... if we just think back.  

Grown Up Discoveries

I've just begun a group coaching engagement with a team of 15 leaders all part of the same company.  As an introduction exercise in our first session, each leader was asked to describe something they accomplished or felt good about, that occurred before the age of 15. 

After several moments of recollection, each described an accomplishment  that allowed them to remember the simple moments of past achievements, how it felt to be recognized, and the pure joy of accomplishment.  It created an opportunity  to think back to those times when we felt the excitement of learning and growing.  In each case, they recognized lessons learned that could positively impact their leadership approach today.  

Important Leadership Lessons from kids 

  • Stay curious.
  • Remember the joy in your work and life.
  • Look for ways to help others shine.
  • Ask questions to genuinely understand other perspectives.  
  • Collaborate with pure intentions.  Focus on the big win, not just yours.
  • Build on others ideas.  Watch the collective energy rise.

If you've forgotten any of these lessons, it's comforting to remember that it's not 'how you start, but how you finish'.  Begin again today!

"Allow yourself to be a beginner.  No one starts off being excellent."  - unknown

Are you achieving the results you want?
The best leaders make simple shifts or practical changes for big results.  I work closely with leaders to create practical solutions to achieve real success. Let me help you discover what's possible. Visit my website www.terrihughes.com for details.

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