Child’s play: What kids can teach you about management

The way toddlers behave can teach you more than you'd think about how to handle risks, rest and furious reactions in business.

by Paul Simpson
What kids can teach you about management
What kids can teach you about management

Although ‘walking the walk’ has become a ubiquitous business cliché, few managers ever wonder if learning to walk as an infant could help them.

Yet Petra Smith, the founder of marketing and PR agency Squirrels & Bears, is convinced that the acquisition of this fundamental skill reveals fundamental – and often ignored – truths about management: “Watching a baby learn to stand and walk is a powerful reminder that failure is not a catastrophe. They stand up, they fall over, throw a tantrum, do something else, reflect on what happened and try again.”

Our innate refusal as infants to regard failure as catastrophic literally helps us stand on our own two feet. An extensive study of toddlers aged between 12 and 19 months found that, on average, they take 2,368 steps an hour – and fall over 17 times.

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