Today Brandon and I took a visit to a local classroom to observe kids creating as well as bounce ideas off a couple of teachers on our new product plans for 2013. Never am I disappointed in these visits as I always walk away with little morsels of understanding and knowledge that I didn’t have before. And today certainly got me thinking: why is it so much easier to work together as a 5th grader?
No, I’m not being sarcastic. I’m serious. Sure a 5th grader will say “No, that’s not the picture we want to take” and gently shove their partner aside to continue taking the pictures they want to, but then after a few more seconds of struggles back and forth somehow (often unsaid / unknown) a resolution is magically found because they are both equally motivated to complete the project. And that’s the ticket. I think back to jobs in my previous life and it seems there’s always a significant amount of time spent on finger-pointing (we’re human, there always will be), but the finger-pointing lingers, and inhibits any forward progress and the crazy thing is 5th graders are better at just getting on with it and getting a project done than us adults!
Why is this? Is this because we’re more cautious in what we say or do and prevent ourselves from true expression and it’s easier to just blame and halt than hash it out and move on? Or is it because we don’t want to be the ones that made the decision to use the purple clay that ended up looking brown in the final film as we’d have to live with the fact that it was our decision/fault? I watched how quick and easy it was for the groups today to disagree, get momentarily upset, make mistakes, you name it – but within minutes move on to the next thing. Yes, they did have a common project to complete together, but this is what we encounter every working day as adults — tons of common goals and projects. But for some reason we pretend the stakes are so much higher than making an animation, when they most often aren’t, and spend more energy blaming and analyzing why we can’t meet a project goal than actually meeting it.
Sometimes I think it would be easier if us adults took on projects more like 5th graders. Call it what it is, disagree, come to terms, and move on to getting things done together. Seems so simple, right?