Learning to Fail in the Boy Scouts

by

tent-384108_640

I am the proud father of a new Boy Scout and a big supporter of scouting in general.  When I was a kid growing up in Colorado I was into scouting big time and I reached Eagle when I was in the 8th grade.  Although I love Texas, I have to argue that Colorado is probably the best state to be a Boy Scout in given the varied terrain and weather… but, I digress.

Even though we are relative newcomers to our Troop, one of the key things I have really noticed is the personal accountability placed on the boys.  Of course there are adult Scoutmasters, but the kids lead and ultimately each individual boy has to execute.  A couple examples:

–       On the very first campout my son went on, the boys tried to make pancakes.  They didn’t work out.  So, they had apples for breakfast and nothing else.  Nobody swooped in to save the day.  The adults didn’t offer any of their food.

–       My son went to summer camp about 2 hours west of Midland, TX.  I know, it sounds like the absolute last place you would want to camp in the summer, but it is apparently nice – but, very hot.  So, of course it rained the first day and my son’s equipment got soaked.  He was gently “coached” by the adults to spread everything out to dry out, but he ignored their advice.  His clothing was quickly moldy and unusable.  He ended up wearing the same thing for the rest of the week.

–       My son lost his Scout handbook that had a variety of requirements singed off in it.  So, he had to re-do several requirements and get fresh approvals for his actions.

Scouting lets you fail so you can learn from the experience.  I found a Zig Ziglar quote that seems appropriate: “If you learn from defeat you haven’t really lost.”  You think they will maybe do a little homework first if they choose to make pancakes again?  Absolutely.  Do you think my son will be more prepared for rain and if his things get wet he’ll know what to do?  Definitely.  Do you think he’ll keep track of his scout handbook more closely?  Yes.

The Scouts are allowed to fail so that they will know what to do right the next time.  I see so many people around me that work hard with their heads down that are absolutely terrified of failing.  They don’t want to get involved, they don’t want to jump in, they don’t want to commit to anything “messy” that could fail and somehow be attributed to them.  They are just “punching their timesheet.”  As a good friend of mine said, “They are making the donuts.”  These aren’t people I want to work with.  I’m proud of the fact that at Thought Ensemble we have innovative people who are willing to take risks and that we seek out like minded clients.  If only I could rewind the clock and be a Boy Scout again…

 

READ MORE

Fake Case Study: Jack of all trades vs. Master of One

Fake Case Study: Jack of all trades vs. Master of One

  Listen to any earnings call or executive presentation and you will likely hear the terms “top line” and “bottom line.” These are words used to describe a business’s performance. According to Investopedia, the words are defined as follows: Top line refers to the...

read more
Your Personality Is Showing

Your Personality Is Showing

There I was, minding my own business one evening, digging into my organization's SEO performance (as one does), when I came across something interesting. Search terms related to "MBTI" — or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, developed by Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel...

read more
Lessons From a Change Manager Who Hates Change

Lessons From a Change Manager Who Hates Change

Hello. My name is Monique, and I’m a change manager who hates change.   After years of receiving “consulting therapy” from various mentors, I am now able to say these words out loud and proudly. But for a long time, it felt more like an admission of guilt. I mean, who...

read more
Creativity as a Cure

Creativity as a Cure

The topic of creative solutioning has been front and center these days as we talk more and more about organizational adaptability in the face of dynamic and uncertain times. For example, I recently read about a project that got me thinking about specific priorities...

read more
Thought Ensemble, a Pariveda Company — Why Now?

Thought Ensemble, a Pariveda Company — Why Now?

Big news over here as we close out the year - we have been acquired by Pariveda, a 750-person consulting firm in 12 markets across North America! We are now “Thought Ensemble, a Pariveda Company” and I’ll be serving as the Managing Vice President continuing to lead...

read more
Thought Ensemble Joins Pariveda Solutions!

Thought Ensemble Joins Pariveda Solutions!

Dallas, December 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Pariveda, a leader specializing in solving complex technology and business problems, announces the acquisition of Thought Ensemble. With the addition of Thought Ensemble, Pariveda now provides holistic business strategy,...

read more
Thoughts on Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act

Thoughts on Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act

It was about a year ago that we first started hearing about Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (SB19-085) and I knew it was going to be national news. We’d just gotten past the “Rocky Mountain High” jokes, and our lovely state was trying to break new ground...

read more
Disruption Is the New Normal

Disruption Is the New Normal

By nature, disruptors are not popular. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win, then they copy you.” We have all heard some version of this quote, and we have all seen it play out in real life. We've seen it with building...

read more
What Would You Say You Do Here?

What Would You Say You Do Here?

“I deal with the … customers so the engineers don't have to! I have people skills!” That famous Office Space quote from Tom Smykowski cracks me up every single time. I know Toms. I’ve been Tom. Change the quote to say, “IT Team” instead of “engineers,” and there’s a...

read more