Mothering your business to foster conversation

Paul Millar |    | 3 min read

In any industry or workplace, there is no shortage of “experts”; Put a group of these experts in a room, and almost always you’ll get some contradictory advice. My wife and I recently welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world, and in the day that followed, this couldn’t have been more apparent.

Whilst the birth went reasonably well, our little girl had decided she wanted to come out much faster than her Mother had planned. Sparing the details, this meant our little one had failed to push all of the amniotic fluid out of her lungs and belly on her way out and wasn’t having the easiest of times breathing. We were told we would have a ‘grumpier than usual’ baby until she had coughed all the fluid up but we were so besotted it didn’t matter.

The first few days were tough; looking after a baby isn’t easy. For the uninitiated, there’s a lot for both parents and child to learn; breastfeeding, latching, nappy changing and swaddling just to name a few. We tried our best, our child rarely settled and screamed the ward down for a good few days.

Whilst I am forever thankful for all of the many midwives that were on shift over our stay, I was continuously baffled at the lack of consistent advice. This ranged from the relatively simple like “hold your baby this way when she’s feeding” to the more complex ways to get a baby to latch. With the lack of sleep, it frustrated me terribly that when we were desperately seeking to understand and learn how to take care of our child from the experts, they were unable to give us clear and consistent advice.

Upon reflection (and having caught up on sleep) it makes total sense that conflicting advice is given; the midwives on duty came from different backgrounds and had different experiences. This varied from the fresh-out-of-uni-with-no-kids midwife right through to the 35-year industry experience veteran.

More importantly though, this is a tiny human, and humans are complex.

Real life doesn't have a fixed set of rules

The “right” decision in any scenario can depend heavily on the context that it sits in - real life doesn’t have a fixed set of rules. There may not even be a right decision - life isn’t boolean. So how do we seek to improve and navigate a path forward?

Well, we listen, converse and discuss. In the context of being new parents, there’s no shortage of those with prior experience. Our parents, peers and mothers groups offer this. Listening to what each group has to say gives a lot of hope and comfort to the situation and allows us to accumulate a list of tips and tricks that we can try to resolve any issues.

Similarly, businesses are complex; no one business is alike to one another. Whilst many of the businesses we work with have heavy regulatory requirements, there is still a large degree of variance in how each company carries out similar tasks. This is to be expected, but it’s interesting to see the trends when company policy is tested.

At Yarno, we run campaigns of multi-choice questions with the goal of embedding knowledge over time. These have proven incredibly successful with the average learner showing a typical increase in performance of 12% over time.

However, what’s often more beneficial and interesting with these campaigns is the discussion that they generate between the teams of learners on each campaign. Real conversations are being started and learners are collaborating with one another to evolve both themselves and the businesses they represent.

"This isn't how we do this in practice"

We regularly hear the line “This isn’t how we do this in practice". This is invaluable when trying to identify gaps and navigate a path forward.

Teams have tooled-down to discus the best way to tackle an issue and we’ve seen customers overhaul policy off the back of our campaigns. This has facilitated huge level-ups to our customers.

Ultimately you know what’s right for your business - just like a mother knows what’s best for her child - but you should ensure that you’re encouraging those conversations otherwise you could be left in the dark.