Learning to utilise your business and management skills, which you use so successfully in the office, in your home life to raise your children is an interesting concept.
When you think about it, management, motivational and negotiating skills apply to both work-related and parenting roles. Kids & Co sets out, in a rather obvious yet useful way, to explain how to “tweak” the use of these skills in different environments.
As chief executive of GMG Radio, responsible for a large staff across five radio stations at Real Radio & Jazz FM, I have a challenging and exciting role. But years of experience have prepared me for this job.
Becoming a father, on the other hand, was more of a rabbit-in-the-headlights experience, where all defences were down, management skills immediately went out the window and I’d often end up on my knees agreeing to almost any demand in order to get some peace – an experience shared by many other high-profile professionals, whose names shall remain anonymous, I hasten to add.
Author Ros Jay, a mother of no fewer than six children herself, has cleverly broken the subjects down into chapters (complete with American-style cheesy titles), such as Customer Relations Skills: make your children feel they matter, and Selling Skills: get your children to do whatever you want ... willingly. But within these chapters is some surprisingly useful help and advice.
While reading the book, I was never quite sure whether this was a business book dressed up in a new guise or whether it genuinely was trying to do what it said on the tin – that is provide winning business tactics for every family.
Having finished it, I think it works as a combination of both. The useful office and home scenarios throughout the book help you to know when to put your various techniques into practice with the kids and it also reminds you how to use them at work.
Some suggestions, however, are likely to be received with a large dose of scepticism.
For example: Treating your customers with respect is second nature yet it’s often abandoned with the people who deserve it most. Visualise your child’s face as the customer’s, says Ros, and ensure your home echoes with the sounds of “pleases” and “thank you’s” and “sorry to keep you waiting”, and “can I give you a hand with that?” ... I can’t see that catching on myself in my house, especially when breakfast is late, time is at a premium and you have five jobs to do at once.
The one big difference between utilising your skills at work and at home, however, comes on page 63. You can’t fire your children – and they know it! But Ros has advice on how to generate enthusiasm and keep control over your children ... without having to bribe them.
I would recommend Kids & Co as essential reading for new parents. My major criticism is that this book has arrived 20 years too late for me!