I find myself watching a great deal of children’s television these days.
No, I’m not going through a midlife crisis, reflecting on my lost youth and yearning for the days when my greatest dilemma was which colour crayon to use. I expect that stage will arrive for me in a few years’ time.
I am, in fact, the father of a toddler; one that, despite my very best efforts, is currently obsessed with watching television. And not just any TV will suffice – it has to be specific programming. On repeat. Again and again.
Passing the hours watching these colourful characters, it’s impossible not to become somewhat invested in their lives after numerous viewings. What I wasn’t expecting, however, was to learn some valuable lessons that apply to the corporate environment along the way.
Allow me to share five with you right now. I’m sure you can think of many more.
1) Don’t undervalue the importance of punctuality
Postman Pat‘s mainstream popularity may have dwindled in recent years, but you wouldn’t know that if you were to visit the Veal household. There are certainly worse role models for a youngster to look up to.
Postman Pat’s commitment to his vocation teaches us all that we should take pride in a job well done. Whatever our gifts and wherever we find ourselves placed, do it to the best of our abilities.
Pat Clinton could take the easy life and quietly enjoy the rural idyll that is Greendale. But that isn’t in his character. Instead, the dedicated civil servant diligently performs his duties … and he never misses a tight deadline.
2) Be aware of the power you yield, and act responsibly
Spider-Man sure can teach us a thing or two about social responsibility. While Peter Parker’s alter-ego may have put it more eloquently, we all hold tremendous power to influence and affect those around us. And it’s not just about our actions; it’s about the words we choose to use too.
Author John Ortberg says it best in his book If You Want To Walk On Water, You Have To Get Out Of The Boat:
“Every word you speak boosts someone’s hope a bit, or kills it just a little.”
Think carefully about what you say, how you act, and the consequences you have on others. Being responsible in your own actions can have a big impact.
3) Don’t be afraid to lead others
Peppa Pig certainly knows how to get a job done effectively.
While a growing number of parents are turning against the character amidst concerns that her “bossy” attitude is encouraging young viewers to pick up undesirable traits, Peppa’s powers of persuasion are second to none.
Whether it’s demanding Chocolate cake for breakfast or convincing grown adults to jump up and down in muddy puddles for her amusement, Peppa’s clear approach to leadership consistently overcomes the reticence of those around her.
4) Learn to speak the language of your audience
Mr. Tumble and the many other characters also depicted by Justin Fletcher in Something Special show how important it is to communicate in a way that your audience understands.
We all know that communication is essential to business success, but Fletcher’s all-inclusive use of Makaton – signs and symbols specifically designed to support the spoken word – ensures that his message is heard far and wide by his audience and that, most importantly, nobody is left sitting on the sidelines.
5) A little enthusiasm goes a long way
Thomas The Tank Engine‘s cheeky attitude to life is the secret to his longevity. For almost 70 years, everyone’s favourite steam locomotive has faced the world with a broad smile, always first in line to tackle the big jobs that are perhaps best left to those with more experience or stature.
Unfazed by the shackles of corporate hierarchy, Thomas’ self-belief and aptitude to grow in experience is why he remains the star of the show.
Just imagine what you could achieve if you adopted the same approach.