Lessons from childcare for CSR and the financial markets

I once did a joint article with respected child behaviour expert Warwick Dyer, which tongue in cheek correlated lessons from childcare for corporate responsibility.  My child was in trouble at school, so I was reading up on all this stuff and we got him in to advise us.  It struck me that the strategies were remarkably similar to those we were espousing in the world of CSR though using different terms for them.

I have lost it now, but this article by Larry Elliot in the Guardian this week brought it all back and refers to the same conclusions we did in relation to rioters and city bankers.

We found that there were four important links:

1     The need for defined boundaries of acceptable behaviour

2     Crystal clear communication of these boundaries and understanding of what is acceptable and not.

3    Consistency in application of boundaries. Arbitrariness, or letting something go in one circumstance and not another leads to confusion and chinks which can be wriggled through.

4     Rigour in enforcing boundaries and rules, with penalties targeted at both instruction and personal inconvenience.

What was interesting again with the childcare analogy was we didn’t really do what Warwick said for a while, because the way he delivered it was immensely patronising and superior and we could see he was right, but really didn’t like the way he said it.  When we eventually figured it out and did it our own way it worked, but we could see it was exactly what Warwick had said all along, which was annoying!

The boy is doing OK now, thanks goodness.  He’s still an argumentative little sod who tries to subvert the process at every stage, but then you have to look at the gene pool he has come from poor lad!


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