How Working with Children Improved My Business Development Skills Our Insights Dave Thorpe April 27, 2017 How Working with Children Improved My Business Development Skills I am Scout Leader, and I have been for around 10 years now. Having gone through scouts as a child, I knew how much it helped my development into an adult. I felt it was only fair that I gave back and helped others have the same opportunities that I had growing up. Scouting gave me a large portion of the friends I still have. It game me chances to try things I never could have such as sailing, kayaking, climbing, and archery, and allowed me to develop my leadership skills. I was always so grateful of volunteers who gave up their time to allow me and my friends to have those experiences. When I became a Leader at 18 I suddenly became responsible for the wellbeing of 30 children. This can be a daunting task but there were the other Leaders who had a wealth of experience, friends and family who had done similar things to me. Even without that support, I utilised the skills learned whilst scouting to become a leader. I usually get asked one quite big question when people find out what I do; Why? This is a difficult question to answer and I don’t think there is a set reason why. I first did it to give back. However now when I reflect I think there are many more reasons why I am a scout leader, some of which are much more selfish. (This is the part when I start sharing some trade secrets with you, and how rules should be bent.) Set An Example First of all I learned that as a responsible adult taking charge of the care of other people’s children there are several ways you must set an example. Now I’ll admit there are children at scouts that have caught me swear, curse, argue, tease, mock and so on which people think would be a poor example to set to children but I would love to argue the opposite. These are all things children will all be exposed to and have to cope with during their development, and some of their language can be worse than mine. Don’t Let Mistakes Get To You Also by mocking mistakes but doing it in the right way after a relationship has been established is how a lot of friendships are forged. So this is a skill that is ingrained in part of our scouting. The ability to laugh at your own mistakes and not be hurt by that. We all get knocked back in our journeys and in business as you all know and it is important to not let this negatively affect you. Be Accountable For Your Own Work Also in my workplace it is important with the culture we have to take charge of your own tasks. It’s something that makes me really love my job but everyone has to pull this way so in being able to set this example of pulling out all the stops and extra hours to meet deadlines and then working at a regular pace when the pressure is off is something not everyone can do as easily so getting everyone work similarly is important or that system can be taken advantage of. Budget Your Money and Your Time Well Another skill I’ve gained from scouting is organisation of time and budgets. I have for 10 years been part of a team running a week long activity camp. This means planning a program of activities, meals and various other things, costing it all within the budget and making sure we are on time for everything. This is, obviously, a reflection of lots of business practices. Keeping to budgets on project expenditures, delivering things on time, and managing resources. There is a team of leaders on camp and we all have different jobs to ensure everything runs smoothly. For example one person organises transport, one person sorts out the menu, another the activities on the campsite. This is just another variation of how work in small businesses and teams is delegated, sharing out responsibility and being accountable for what we take charge in. It’s Okay To Break The Rules… Sometimes. Now the main thing I’m going to say here is something that probably sounds incorrect, but breaking the rules is, in my opinion, one of the best rules to have. There are obviously a lot of rules put in place to protect the Scouts, but breaking some of the smaller rules in my opinion has led to one of the strongest scout groups in my area and the one where I believe the children who attend get the most enjoyment and skills. However, not all the rules are meant to be broken. The rule about Leaders not joining in games is probably made to be followed, if you don’t want to break a 14 year-old child’s arm… but I digress. The business lesson is… To do things differently even if it’s not the normal, don’t worry about the mistake it might lead to because if you don’t, you won’t know if you could have had success.Being in a high competition market makes me strive to ensure that I do everything I can to help the people I work with so that they know they are valued. Other people can be great at what you do but none of them are you so don’t feel threatened by this; use it to challenge and push yourself. Knock backs will happen, deals will fall through and you will make mistakes, but this is all part of development of both your business and yourself. Learn to reflect on these in a positive manner and you will continue to enjoy what you do. Good luck in your businesses and know that the journeys and problems you face aren’t dissimilar to the ones you have faced all your life and the ones my scouts are going through every week. You are still here rolling on so don’t let them ever get you down. Bounce back better than ever. Check out this similar blog post here, or contact Indiespring if you need any advice.