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Everything I need to know I learned in 2nd grade...

What if you just needed a playful reminder that the most simple and key principles of leadership and engagement were already in your bones?

What if the most simple and key principles of effective leadership and engagement were already in your bones and just needed a playful reminder?

At the beginning of the school year, my son’s 2nd grade class established class “ground rules” aka “Rules of Engagement.” These rules were set as guidelines by which they agreed to be treated and treat each other. When I went in for our student led Parent Teacher Conference last month, I was kind of taken aback by the wisdom and emotional intelligence that a savvy group of 2nd graders exhibited in their agreements.

Here are three of their key agreements:

1. Choose your attitude
2. Make their day
3. Be there

In a way they were “co-designing” their alliance, or their relationships and how they would “be” together throughout the year. Clear, concise, to the point. This is something I often do with my clients and their teams or business partners (and sometimes even marital partners.) ”Here’s what I promise…Here’s what I want…Here’s what we can expect…” If someone forgets, they have an easy reminder and place of accountability to check back with. Most importantly, they know what their agreements are up front.

It struck me how simple and useful (not to mention fun) this would be as a leadership team exercise to go back to those kindergarten/2nd grade agreements and let some of those guidelines, in their beautiful simplicity guide us. I notice that in the busy-ness of organizations and my client’s teams, it’s really easy (present company included) to forget that simplicity, forget what the team is all about and to make team building/bonding more complex than it needs to be. Is it complex? Of course, we’re talking about human emotions and dynamics, AND, we can all use some simplicity in our livesScience Articles, wouldn’t you say?

What were your childhood agreements? What “Golden Rules” would you like to bring into your team/organization?

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Anese Cavanaugh is a certified coach, author and speaker and the founder of Dare To Engage, Inc., a company devoted to helping leaders create a healthier, more engaged workforce and retain their top talent. To receive a free special report on "Energy & Results" go to

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