I had the privilege of teaching and leading a group of twelve boys in 4th and 5th grade in the first semester of the school year. They go to a private Christian school and they have the option to select a club as an elective class held twice a month for 40 minutes. They can choose from a variety of clubs – Fitness, Robotics, Technology, Crafts, Profit, Drama, and Chorus. The boys and girls pick the club that interests them and they participate for a whole semester. It is a wonderful way to provide them with an alternate way to learn and apply what they are learning. The group leaders are parents or teachers that volunteer their time to share their passion and expertise.
The Profit Club gives me the opportunity to teach business skills to these young students. Each semester, we start with the basics. They transform their desks into a conference table and the classroom becomes a conference room. The ruler becomes a talking stick and they must have the ruler to speak and avoid two people talking at once. They learn to have an agenda or they do not have a meeting. Brainstorming becomes their favorite agenda item. Presenting their ideas back to the decision maker (school Principal) is a welcomed task. They know the objectives of the club before they select which one to join and we go over them at each meeting. The objective of the profit club is to:
Learn about Pricing
Pick a product or service
Help others – “Be a Prophet” – donate to missions
Of course, they learned a whole lot more and I think I learned as much as them or possibly more. This past semester consisted of 6 total 40 minute meetings and them running a school store that sold healthy snacks. They were open for 27 days for 20 minutes before school. They invested 5.4 hours of time and made a profit.
Professional development of others is something I really enjoy. As a leader, I always encourage and help my team to continually learn and grow in their education and experiences. Some companies today may be challenged with lack of budgeted training dollars for professional development. Even if challenged, there are ways you can invest in people. Some ideas that may work for you:
Lunch and Learn – Take an hour a week and meet in person with your team. Have everyone to bring their lunch and have those remote to dial in to a conference line. Use this time to discuss a chapter a week in a book that you are reading together. Or have someone to teach others about something they have learned at a conference or through a recent training session. When someone does have the privilege to attend outside training, make it an expectation that they do a teach-back to the group upon return. It will help them apply what they have learned as well as provide new information to the team.
Identify gaps in skills – Work with your team to identify skill gaps so you will have target development plans for the year. Meet with each team member once a month in a one-on-one session. Help keep them on track to accomplish their yearly goals for professional development. If you need help in identify the gap in skills, consider trying a proven assessment offered through my company.
Toastmasters International – A world leader in communication and leadership development. For $36 every six months, members can improve their speaking and leadership skills. Start by checking out a local meeting in your area as a guest. You can also start your own club at your company. Membership in Toastmasters is one of the greatest investments you can make in yourself.
Sprinkles definitely take the cake with their innovative idea of offering fresh baked cupcakes to customers through a very creative source – the world’s first cupcake ATM machine. A prime example how an Entrepreneur, Candace Nelson, goes with gut instinct, follows through and makes it happen. The idea started when Candace was pregnant. A craving for a fresh baked cupcake in the middle of the night. Now that is an Entrepreneur. In looking at the Sprinkles website, I was even more amazed how Sprinkles has donated over $3.8 million in cash and cupcakes to charities in the local communities where they operate. Congratulations to Candace and Charles Nelson for the success of their business but most importantly to the impact they are making through their contributions back to the community!
A lot of great lessons learned shared by five exceptional Women Entrepreneurs. Some really good advice for both women and men. Strategy and communication are a big part of the advice, however, the one common theme I noticed that each entrepreneur shared was at least one comment each around around the topic of People. In summary:
Believe in people.
Bring out the best in your team.
Hire the best and take care of them.
Surround yourself with people who challenge your thinking.
Hire the right people partners – invdividuals you like and respect.