Parents aren’t in it for recognition, so I was completely surprised and grateful to be named the firm’s 2020 Working Dad of the Year. The award followed Working Mother Magazine placing Grant Thornton on its list of 2020 Best Companies for Dads. Some colleagues, in their congratulations to me, described lessons learned that I’ve shared over the years. One referred to my admitting to a failed experiment in getting my twin sons to eat spinach. I had tried blending spinach into their milk and, in hopes they wouldn’t notice, used colored cups. I told her it worked for all of three days before one son figured it out.
Experimenting with time and project management has been more successful. My sons, Keaton and Parker, and I try different ways to accomplish household chores. I’ve brought home the concept of Fast 5s and Focus 15s — for example, for folding laundry and putting it away. One night, everyone takes a pile. On another night, we take the entire pile and set ourselves up in an assembly line. On a third night, we specialize by shirts, pants and sheets. We track each attempt and compare results. How did the three ways work? Was there a bottleneck in any of them? If so, what can we do to fix it?
One other example is “Morning Manager.” When Keaton and Parker had a 9:00 a.m. Saturday swimming class, on alternating weeks one would be responsible for keeping us on task to leave the house by 8:45 a.m.. He would use a to-do list, moving the three of us from one step to the next. Now that they’re older and have complex school projects, it comes as second nature to make a checklist, gauge the overall and incremental time needed, and follow through to achievement.
At home as at work, I believe in these learning experiences for individual and team satisfaction in getting the job done efficiently.