Acting as a Child could probably help your Company

Today is my 5th working day in ST Engineering Unmanned & Integrated Systems, and something crossed my mind yesterday. What if I see myself as a child instead of an adult new team member? What might be different in the way that I approach things?

When my daughter is growing up.

When my daughter grows up, she’s always curious and keen to explore different things around her. When she is trying something new, she is fearless, and probably we are the ones who are worrying and trying to restrict her and prevent her from severe injuries.

She will find means to test our boundaries on what she can or cannot do. She will always have the “I will try” attitude and keep on asking, “Why cannot?” in an “irresistible” manner. She will try to “laugh” her way out of any situation, and only when we start to tell her off that she start to pull back. But, when this doesn’t stop her from trying it on another occasion.

As a child, she doesn’t have many burdens. The fundamental purpose of her life now is to have as much fun as possible. This is probably her top priority instead of her studies. We are also cautious about giving her as much playtime as possible. Things will change when she needs to face the reality of examinations and other responsibilities in life as she gets older.

When an adult is working.

As an adult, we have different burdens that we are carrying. Apart from the family burden, we have our reputations, and we need to prove ourselves and get a good appraisal from those working, like me.

In a new environment, it takes time for us to familiarise ourselves with the different power at play and determine how we might need to approach the various stakeholders. Especially when there is already a structural process at play, making change is complex and often viewed as unnecessary. When we hit a wall, we will most likely take “No” for an answer and avoid getting into that situation again in the foreseeable future.

To not appear stupid and clueless, we tend not to ask someone about things we don’t know. Instead, we will probably observe and take time to figure it out before deciding on our course of action. At least this prevents people from “judging” us on minor matters that might appear to be the norm.

How is this supporting you?

Unless I try to maintain the state quo and earn a living trying to stay under the radar, I will be an average working person. I will consistently be asking my boss what he needs me to do and only do things that he approves. I will try not to disrupt any existing norms.

However, this is not my role, and this is not what I like to do. Fortunately, this is also not the role that my boss was assigning me. I am supposed to help him break the status quo, disrupting things and making them better for tomorrow. I will need to chart a path and get into unchartered territory to get into a Green Ocean. Yes, it’s intended to be the Green Ocean instead of the Blue Ocean that we always thought.

I need to have a change in approach and mindset.

When I was thinking about how am I going to approach this role, I used the approach of Cross-Pollination in Design Thinking. This was something that I did when I was taking the course Design Thinking and Creativity for Business from INSEAD.

So, I was thinking of how can I approach this role differently and drawing from other experiences that I might have to do this better. This calls for a change in my mindset. I can’t be taking “No” for an answer but need to be persistent in uncovering and eliciting the concern.

I need to be “shamelessly” asking for “Why” and banging doors, similar to when I was running my business. I need to act like a “kid” in my office and laugh off those rejections. I will be running into different situations and getting much “hate” from doing my job. However, they probably have not seen the “Why” I am doing this. So, I think this will start the journey on how I will approach my job very soon.

Lastly, there are many toolkits that I have to pick up from the INSEAD courses. They are relevant and applicable in my situations, and I will need to apply them. Only applicable can help one attain mastery, and I need to take action. This is above the new “know-how” that I am picking up to do my job.

Interesting learning times ahead! Have fun!

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Sunny Tan HC

Sunny Tan HC

Continuous Improvement | CX | DX | Ex- Technoprenuer | Project Manager | Vacathoner | Medium Writer