Before I had my daughter two years ago, I had many prejudgments about becoming a mom. But I quickly learned that you really don't know all that parenting entails until you actually become one.
I'm not just talking about feeding schedules and diaper changes. I found I learned a lot more about life and picked up many skills that not only helped me at home, but at work as well.
If you ask other moms, most of them would agree. In fact, according to Sue Hilger, vice president of franchise development for Kiddie Academy, many moms would say motherhood is in fact the perfect training ground for future business leaders. "Moms who wonder whether they have what it takes to lead a company need look no further than their own living room for proof of their skills," she said.
Hilger, who is also a mother of two, points out five lessons from the playroom that can easily translate to business:
1. Compromise. "Any mother who's convinced a toddler to choose pants and a shirt over a tutu and a cape for a trip to the grocery store is well-equipped for business negotiation," Hilger said. The same basic rules apply at work -- stay calm, keep your goal in sight and be willing to make concessions if needed.
2. Crisis management. Once you have a few late-night emergency room trips with your child under your belt, dealing with the loss of a client is a piece of cake, she said. "In most cases, nobody's safety or health will be compromised when a client leaves."
3. Organization. "Working moms routinely manage multiple schedules while also serving as procurement officer, event planner, chief financial officer, hiring manager and head chef," Hilger said. "In a business setting, all of those roles are usually assigned to different people."
4. Meeting deadlines. Busy parents must meet numerous deadlines in order to keep their lives under control. "Nobody wants to be late for after-school pick up or forget to deliver the cookies needed for the bake sale," she said. "Working moms understand the value of delivering on a promise to our business associates as well -- even if being late submitting a proposal doesn't result in tears from your colleagues."
5. Flexibility. Parents start each day with a schedule and goals; however, the only thing for sure is that plans change, Hilger said. As a result, parents are forced to constantly adapt in order to survive each day. "The flexibility and creativity that parents develop serve us well in a business setting, where adjustments to a changing landscape can determine success or failure."