December 3, 2004

News & Opinion: Similarities

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 4:49 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

I first thought about the "cross-over" of skills from parenting to the workplace right after my son was born in the mid-1980's. I had been a business and economics reporter for The New York Times, and was familiar with the books on how to be an effective manager. After the baby came, like any good reporter, I began to devour all the books I could find on how to be an effective parent. I was immediately struck by the similarity of the advice in the baby books and the tips contained in the business books. It was an "a-ha" moment - it looked like the same material had been packaged differently for different audiences.
A few years later I attended a three-day management seminar at Harvard and sure enough, the management lessons that the assembled executives were being taught were largely the same lessons one can find in a good paperback book on parenting. When I mentioned this to the instructor, he laughed and readily admitted that much of his material was based on the writing of humanistic psychologists like Haim Ginott, the author of a classic child-rearing book called Between Parent and Child. In my own book, I point out numerous other connections between best-parenting practices and best-management practices. They really often amount to the same thing.