Monday, March 2nd, 2015


Actually, I’m an execu- grandmama.  I was a working mom with five kids and a husband.  Sometimes that took more managing than my work.  One of my kids coined the phrase “execu mama”.  As in “watch out, she’s in execu-mama mode” meaning chores, homework, pick up the sports equipment, I can’t stand it anymore, mom gone nuts.

One of my grandkids had a two year old birthday yesterday which made me remember early kid rearing time. 

I was pregnant and taking a class toward my Master’s Degree.  The class was on  Executive Development taught by a retired Sears executive.  I was the only woman (and pregnant to boot) in the class.  And the only non-working, non-executive. The guys did not like that one bit. Mostly they were only condescending but careful because the professor liked me and made it clear that 
he respected my contribution. I don’t remember how it came about but finally one guy blew his stack and said, “I don’t agree with her at all and how would she know anything about being an executive and I don’t think she belongs in this class. 

Well I blew back. You know how sometimes anger makes you clear and articulate?  Well this was one of those times.  I stood up with a proud stomach and gave a mini-lecture that I wish I had on video.

I said, “I guess you don’t know much about your wife or what it takes to be a mother.  Let me tell you about the skill involved.:

—First of all, parenting is all about development. Who is ready for what kind
of responsibility.  What are the signs of a special talent?  How do you support it?
How do you see individual differences and create opportunity?

—Collaboration is what makes the system work. How do you create an environment in which people are proud of their accomplishment but know how to make room for others, how to celebrate peers?  How do you allow for healthy competition without letting it become detrimental?  How do you create the greatest good for the greatest number and let individuals flourish too.

—Stuff happens (I’m being polite). Everyday all the time. Nothing goes as
planned even in one day. You have to adapt to the most important thing without losing sight of what you wanted to accomplishment. And you have to accept ‘what is’ without giving up what you wanted to do. And you have to do it with grace if you want people to  to cooperate with you on the big stuff.
Patience and urgency have to work together.

—Let’s talk budget. Parenting is all about trade-offs. If we do this, we can’t do that. And you have to sell this concept to the world’s toughest audience which is a kid in a toy store. Negotiation is ongoing if you don’t want to slip into punitive dictator stance (which needs to be saved for the most dire circumstance) unless you want to live in an atmosphere of fear and resentment. (Think about your

—There has to be flexibility in the present tense in order to meet the new 
demands of growth for the future. Kids are constantly creating a new need, and new future or a surprising direction. Parents have to adapt and find the new opportunity for what is needed. 

I know there was and is more.  It was a grand moment. There was applause.
Many said, they would tell their wives about it.  Mr Crab Apple said, “it was one way to look at things.” I cringed on the way home wondering if I had been grandiose (common woman reaction–Was I too strong, too powerful, too strident?  Or (common man reaction–effective?)

I do think healthy parenting builds healthy executive skills and vice versa.
That’t a whole other column/blog.


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