About curling parents and curling managers

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Last week I heard about curling parents for the first time. My offspring is beyond the age of needing ‘curling’, but I can relate to this phenomenon. But – learning the hard way – I know this is ‘not a good idea’, to state it mildly.
Just in case you missed it – just like I did – this is what curling parents are: parents who try to sweep away all obstacles in their offspring’s path so that their child can go through life without the slightest bump.

From curling to helicopter parents

Doing some more research I discovered that besides curling parents there are also Helicopter-parents, who sweep away problems when they arise – while curling parents tackle their offspring’s obstacles in advance.

On the one side it makes me laugh giving a whole new interpretation to curling and helicopters, but it also makes me sad.

Of course you want to protect your loved ones. And yes – I have been there too, curling and helicoptering with all my heart. Despite all efforts my eldest daughter got a depression at the age of 13 and it took her years to get over it. My protection hadn’t been able to prevent this. Looking back, it probably even contributed to it.

The one thing we all need to face the future – to face anything that comes on our way – is self-confidence. Outsourcing confidence to the parents doesn’t help kids to get stronger. It deprives them from the opportunity to grown this confidence.  A quality that is essential in life.

The fastest way to grow is to make mistakes 

So the greatest gift you can give your child is to allow it to make mistakes, to face the obstacles and learn from all these experiences – good and bad.

And what if we translate this curling parent attitude towards business. Do you recognize the ‘curling manager’ (or helicopter manager – this may give a whole new meaning to the much-valued helicopter view…)

The manager who steps in every time things don’t go as it should? Or as he – or she – thinks it should. In these changing times the one quality that is essential for business is agility or resilience. Being able to move and change quickly. Curling cuts off the way to develop and strengthen these qualities.

From operational excellence towards a learning culture

Decades of focus on ‘operational excellence’ and ‘first-time-right’ (what curling and helicopter parents are aiming for too) have resulted in a company culture where making mistakes is definitely not the right thing to do. Curling managers believe this and act accordingly. Killing the learning capacity of organizations and it’s employees. A capacity that we must cherish and nurture.

Again here, the fastest way to learn it to make mistakes. Lots of them!

So let’s leave curling in the ice rink. Both as parents and in the workplace. And let’s make lots and lots of mistakes.

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