Our 1st Year, Session 2, Week 2
“My employees are useless! I have to do everything myself!”
This was shouted out by a 9 year old Eagle as he was playing a business simulation game that was built for college MBA program adults.
He was struggling to make a profit as a door to door salesman building robots for customers.
He was profitable as a one man show, until he decided to invest in some employees and learned the pitfalls of poor employee training and management.
He later invested in a large factory and went bankrupt…
Here’s the face of one of our Eagles reflecting the hesitation and difficulty of making the decision to hit the button to hire a new employee.
They are almost ready to launch their very real products and businesses at the upcoming Business Exhibition to a crowd of over 150 people!
On Tuesday our Eagles made 57 Sandwiches that were donated to The Arc of East Ascension to help the intellectually and developmentally disadvantaged.
Imagine you own a small business making sandwiches and you you receive a large order for 50 sandwiches that will make or break your business- and it must be completed in 30 minutes.
For this segment of our Entrepreneurship series they split onto teams and held timed competitions to test different methods and strategies to make sandwiches.
Quality control matters, but so does meeting the order size!
There were real world consequences…
Do you instruct your employees to work individually or on an assembly line?
Would you rather risk overworking and upsetting your employees or selling poor quality sandwiches and losing your customer?
Will your employees work faster when they are paid by the hour or by the sandwich?
Through a series of challenges, discussions, and trial and error; they experienced deep learning, earned a few Eagle bucks for the winning team, and helped a good cause!
Can you imagine your teacher in school never answering a question?
Well, that’s exactly the goal of a guide (teacher) at Active Leadership Academy.
As a traditional teacher, or parent, we typically answer hundreds of questions a day.
But is that the best thing for our children?
What does it teach them?
When we jump in with an answer, we rob the child of learning something for themselves.
We teach them that they don’t have to think for themselves or figure anything out on their own.
As Jean Piaget said,
“Each time one prematurely teaches a child something he could have discovered himself, that child is kept from inventing it and consequently from understanding it completely.”
We believe in equipping our students with exactly this: independent thinking and the confidence to solve problems and find solutions on their own.
We trust and allow our Eagles the privilege of figuring it out themselves.
This is accomplished using the Socratic style of teaching.
This doesn’t mean questions are ignored.
Instead of an answer, we offer:
- Deeper questions.
- A choice of processes that will lead to the acquisition of a new skill, a character trait, or both.
- A choice of actions with natural consequences.
- Growth mindset praise.
We often have to count slowly to 100 before intervening….Then count to 100 again…
This week the Eagles took much longer than usual to perform their studio maintenance and it was absolutely frustrating to watch.
The natural consequence was spending all their precious free time cleaning up after themselves.
This was not the first instance, as this has been happening for a few days now.
After several discussions, they voted on rules such as “you must wear shoes outside” and “wash your feet before coming back inside” because of the mess.
The rules were promptly ignored.
When the studio slips into chaos, it is natural for us to want to step in and restore order.
It feels like absolute torture to let it continue.
But we just wait; count to 100 and then count to 100 again, if necessary, before intervening.
With enough patience, leaders will emerge to restore order.
We will not rob these young Eagles of the opportunity to lead their learning community and practice self governance just because of our ego or need for control.
We went through this same experience when they were habitually late for daily circle discussions.
We fought our instinct to give them 5 minute warnings, reminders, count downs, lectures, etc..
It was worth it, as they are now 3-5 minutes early every single circle discussion without us ever having to say a word.
Being a Guide is hard, but not complicated. Just like being a parent.