While talking with a friend earlier this week, I indicated that I won’t “be a ninja” in the situation we were discussing. Yet as I thought about it, I realized that in two areas — work and parenting — being a ninja is precisely what separates those who make due and those who *do*.
The definition alone is wonderful — a person who “commits a crazy act with unbelievably good results.” Think about it for a minute … it doesn’t describe a ninja as someone who is aggressive or “takes no prisoners,” alienating everyone in their path. It says that the person is thinking and/or doing something “out of the box” to generate stellar results. Isn’t that precisely what every organization wants — employees who are not afraid to think creatively, to develop new strategies and solutions, and to help generate stellar bottom-line results? It’s employee engagement on steroids. And isn’t it precisely what every parent wants? Stellar results (defined very differently for each child) for their children in school?
Many organizations are striving to develop innovative ways for employees to contribute to the health of their companies. They are encouraging cross-functional collaboration, allowing for flexible work options which can often generate creativity, and “loosening the reins” so that new products and services make it into their pipelines. It’s one critical way to enable employees to make their talents known and voices heard. They become ninja employees.
Many parents are striving to do the same as they work to jump the hurdles necessary for their children to succeed. Working with different people and teams, bringing creative thinking into problem-solving, and changing their own status quo. Often times, in business and parenting alike, the first step involves asking the right questions which may seem basic — e.g. who, what, where, when, why and how. Then, the “what to do next” phase is where ninja mode comes into play.
I like the ninja concept. It paints a picture of an employee and a parent not afraid to question and think innovatively and describes a person willing to take some risks in order to achieve “unbelievably good results”. It’s the difference between shooting wildly and aiming carefully. Wouldn’t it be great if more organizations encouraged ninja thinking and allowed every employee to assume an ownership role in the health of their companies? And imagine what would happen to the millions of children failing at their job — i.e. school — if their parents became “ninja parents”. My sword quivers at the mere thought of it all…