7-Year-Old Leadership

Accountability Contribution Teamwork


Key Point: I watched my 7-year-old grandson catch his first two fish this long weekend (Yes… He released the little rainbow trout back into the lake). He was so excited and took it all in wonderful stride; like he knew intuitively that he shouldn’t expect continued success without the perseverance leading to the first one. The catch came after two days of trying with no success… Including, but not limited to endless bait loss, catching weeds that cruelly mimicked a teasing nibble, many tangled lines and one beauty of a cast high into a pine tree. But then, with some kind help of better bait from a seasoned angler, and being in the right place at the right time… Eureka!!! What joy. Two trout in two minutes! A bunch of other fishing colleagues on the shore came over to high five, and declare… “You’re on fire!” Haha. What a celebration.

And at 6:45 a.m. the next morning, sun barely up, the lake smoky grey, and sweetly silent, there he was casting away with a big delicious grin of expectation on his face. The fact that there was no more bait, his best rod and reel on the sideline waiting for grandpa maintenance, was irrelevant. The feel of success, joy and accomplishment was all the motivation he needed to keep on fishing.

When I sat down to write this week’s first blog, he asked me what I was going to write about. I told him I didn’t know. His beautifully innocent response: “It’s ok if you want you want write about me gramps.” Ok, I will, my wonderful 7-year-old friend, you have taught me something again as you do every time I spend time with you. Thank you, Logan.

Recently, my team did some research on improving retention with our newly hired team members. And one of the key findings from the research is that when “newbies” experience real, job related, measurable RESULTS AND a sense of TOGETHERNESS/BELONGING in their first 90 days, they are more likely to stay with us for much longer. When we start something new, it’s disheartening to keep fishing day after day without success and contributing to the team. And when we “catch a fish,” it’s a lot more fun to keep tossing out that line. It’s so obvious… To a 7-year-old.

Character Moves:

  1. Hang out with a great little kid more often if you can. They will give you a full lesson in leadership without the management speak and other blah. It’s lot more fun too.
  2. It is so obvious, but effective leadership and coaching takes INTENTIONAL personal accountability to help people continuously achieve desired results AND a sense of meaningful contribution/belonging. This includes encouraging everyone on “the shore” to celebrate too.

Grand(son) Fishing in a The Triangle,


One Millennial View: Well I can’t help but be biased… He IS my nephew… But, I’ll tell you what… I happen to work in an environment where good feedback or a “well done,” isn’t normally offered. It’s implied. It’s the idea that you should KNOW you’re doing well, and if you’re not, you’ll hear about it… Basically: “Positively perform to a point where you don’t hear otherwise.” However, I just attended an off-hours, co-worker’s party this weekend, and all we did, in a casual scenario, was praise each other and candidly talk about how our team is such a well oiled machine… None of us THINK anyone else needs any encouragement at work… It’s funny… We somehow need a crawfish boil to share what we should tell each other all the time… Sure, it’s our job to “catch fish” on a regular basis… It’s expected, that’s why we got hired… But, you know what? It always feels great to hear about a good catch. I’ll work on casting more positive lines for my coworkers. 

– Garrett 

Edited and Published by Garrett Rubis