I thought long and hard about whether or not to comment on the recent Time Magazine cover, but decided that it is just too interesting not to.
In the magazine Kate Pickert discusses Dr Sears and his theories of attachment parenting, part of which is a view that children should be breast fed until they no longer wish to be. The result is that some mothers are still breast feeding children who are 7, 8 or older.
The mothers that I have listened to who support this practice often talk about their toddlers asking to be fed when they are hurt, upset or distressed.
The whole concept is fascinating to me (not as an expert on attachment parenting, which I know little or nothing about) because it made me reflect on our approach to business growth and leadership.
Yes, I know, it sounds a strange connection, but bear with me as I will explain…
As many of you know, we base our approach to business growth on determining where an organisation is in the lifecycle. This is because how you grow your business must be specific to this position; otherwise you may find yourself focussing on activities that do not bring about the growth you are looking for.
Like being human
Often we seek to explain this concept by likening stages on the lifecycle to the developmental stages of human beings.
Basically, we suggest that it is normal for a business in its early stages to be demanding, all consuming, requiring constant nurturing and attention. It’s not unusual for the founder(s) to be responsible for everything from buying the toilet paper to product development.
But, as the business grows, it isn’t normal for the leader or founder to be doing everything single handedly, or for the business to continue to require constant nurturing to the same extent.
Just like a child as it grows, there is less reliance on the parents. The relationship changes and more people become involved in the child’s growth and development. So it is with growing businesses.
Time for a Change?
The Time Magazine article is interesting to me because it suggests that breast feeding a child of 7 or 8 years old creates a sense of attachment and security that is beneficial for both parent and child.
But, if this is the case, I have to question this view. Surely the ability to grow, progress and to become self-sufficient is dependent on the capacity to adapt, to deal with change, to overcome the problems and challenges of life?
If a child, or in this case, a business is unable to adapt and change, it fails to thrive.
I can’t help but wonder – how well a child of 7 or 8 who still needs to be comforted during times of distress by being breast fed is able to cope with the inevitable challenges of life.
Not only is change inevitable; it is also desirable for growth.
If you are still using the same strategies and tactics for growing your business that you did when you first started out, it’s unlikely that you will be achieving the level of growth that you planned for.
Maybe it’s time to stop breast feeding?