business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Michael Sansolo

Some 30 years ago, the book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” turned simple bits of wisdom into a best seller. At the time, I never considered reading the book, but I understood the central premise of the importance of common sense, sharing, being nice to others and assorted basic skills.

I may read it now. This past weekend I got schooled by a kindergarten student with a lesson on both the pace of change and perseverance that relate to all of us, especially in challenging times.

For a host of reasons I ended up at a public library with my sister and her grandson for story time in the children’s section. Not surprisingly, change is everywhere, mainly in the form of countless computers and bottles of Purell.

The books have changed as well. Sure all the old classics are on hand, but one of the stars of the kindergarten set these days is something called “Pete the Cat.” Right there was a simple lesson in how easy it is to miss new trends, fads or whatever. My grandnephew and the librarian both assured me that Pete is very important. In fact, my lack of awareness clearly dated me. Pete is that big.

But both my grandnephew and my sister assured me the bigger lesson came from the books themselves.

Pete’s books, as you might guess, have a simple and consistent message. Pete starts out each book happy about some element of his life, be it his new shoes or the buttons on his shirt. As each book moves along, Pete’s circumstances get consistently worse. The shoes get stained by one thing after another or the buttons come loose and fly off.

Pete never gets upset though. He simply notes the change and moves along happily. That his white shoes are now stained blue isn’t a problem; he just celebrates the new color.

Now supporting the argument that everything we need to know we learn in kindergarten, Pete provides a powerful lesson. We all know the best laid plans in business or life rarely work out. As Mike Tyson used to say of his boxing opponents, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.

Today that punch might come from competition, shoppers, technology or whatever. Our courses are constantly shifting because they have to - circumstances force us all to adjust.

And that’s where Pete and his simple lessons matter because just like the kindergarten hero we need to accept each new reality, smile and march on in a new direction as if that’s what we meant to do all along.

A well-known biblical passage reminds us “a little child shall lead them.” Certainly their picture books can help.

Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at . His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available on Amazon by clicking here. And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon by clicking here.
KC's View: