Own it like its your Lemonade Stand!
(In fond memory of Rachel Nesbitt - 3.22.2017)
When I read the news earlier this month about a Texas law legalizing temporary set up of lemonade stands by minors, I was reminded of how such a simple childhood activity could be a great learning for young entrepreneurial business minds to appreciate not only the value of a dollar, but also the importance of social interactions that bring purpose and enjoyment to a day. Do a Google search for ‘Lemonade Stand' and you will get a LONG list of how to (literally) build a profitable lemonade business, with or without the stand!
There are 2 fundamental leadership learnings in the Lemonade Stand business model and philosophy that start very early in life; Failing and Fun. Our parents encouraged us to embrace stepping into the unknown, being fearless and creative in building the stand, and developing confidence in stopping passers-by to invest in your hard-earned lemonade squeeze.
Failing - As a child, we had no concept of what failure was, making every attempt to build and rebuild the best lemonade stand on the block, with nobody telling you how it could be done better. Over time, as adults we are ‘boxed in’ by conventional behavior where we fear to make changes or to be creative and to ‘fail forward’ like the kids at the lemonade stand. Failing is in fact a powerful tool of self-discovery which should not be damped but encouraged (with the right guidance and mentoring). It is said that it took 1,000 failings before Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, but each one got him one step closer to success. So, was he a failure? When making decisions about your business ask yourself: "What is the worst thing that could happen?" Think of failing as part of the journey to getting the right result and each failure as being a test run in getting there. To fail is not to be a failure!
Fun at work - I love the quote 'Creativity is intelligence having fun’ (Albert Einstein) because it is! Fun at work doesn’t always have to be about laughing out loud and humor but IS about the enjoyment of working on something that you believe is worthwhile or with others who have a shared sense of purpose and accomplishment. The social aspect of the lemonade stand with friends and siblings was a vital necessity to its success. Relate this to your work environment, as a leader it is your choice (and responsibility) to make work ‘fun’, especially when there is high intensity and pressure of getting through a long list of to-dos’. It is a known fact that great work environments are ones that integrate fun and social friendliness into the day-to-day of how their employees interact. This in turn translates to a corporate culture with happier employees who feel part of something greater than the dollar, tend to work harder, stay longer, and are more resilient during times of stress.
So why have these 2 key aspects of early business acumen learnings been discouraged by many of our corporate leadership environments today? My suspicion is that creating a 'Fun Fail-Safe' work place is not a priority - it takes too much time to coach and empower employees to work independently with an element of creativity, and/or encouraging social interactions during the day is a waste of precious work time.
The core message here for all Leaders is that you don’t need permission to create a great workplace for your direct reports and/or teams. Embrace every opportunity with an element of appreciating and learning from failure. More importantly, have FUN in the journey of learning along the way. Bottom line - OWN IT like it’s your Lemonade Stand!
If this information resonates but you are struggling to create a great workplace and corporate culture, this is where leadership coaching can help - contact me at www.idme.consulting.
This is written in memory of Rachel Nesbitt, a very dear deceased Leader who embodied everything about being a genuine, fearless and thoughtful ‘Lemonade stand owner’ that connected Heads and Hearts of all that surrounded her. Remembered fondly on March 22nd.