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Leadership Development

10 Skills and Characteristics that Children can Explore using Books, Movies and Video Games

10 Skills and Characteristics that Children can Explore using Books, Movies and Video Games

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This piece focuses on how Talent could be developed in children through different mediums, on of the aims of the Talent Development in Children group. There are a lot of values we try to teach are kids and I have been reading some interesting research on literature, and the development of values.  I thought it would be useful to summarise the different books, films and games I have found so far, and the values that they support. Children can soak up so many different images in their heads; some can be conjured up in a child’s imagination through literature, and others through visual images or play.

1. Challenging the status quo

When we can teach are kids to question how things work, challenge the status quo and think differently this is a great life skill.

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Poor, sick Princess Lenore wants the moon so that she can be well again. The anxious King consults his wise men to no avail, and only when he calls on his jester who innovative thinking to solve the problem.

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In order to win the treasure of stories Anase who is an elderly man must outsmart and capture 3 clever creatures.

Antz Dreamworks Movie

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One ant challenges the community to think differently and change their world as they are actually stronger as a community.

2. Inspiring Others

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A toy Indian and his canoe travel from Lake Nipigon to the Atlantic Ocean facing many obstacles, setbacks and detours.  To complete the journey the canoe needs help from external sources like the wind.

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Children will delight in the universal dream of mastering one's world by flying over it.  It is only when the main character shares the vision with her brother that it becomes possible.

3. Empowering Others to Act

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The tsar issues a proclamation that whoever can build a flying ship may marry his daughter. With help and determination, a foolish young peasant overcomes all obstacles and wins her hand, in this traditional Ukrainian folktale.

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3 soldiers have to creatively win the trust of a village.

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4. Role Modelling

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How the old can learn from the young.

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President Lincoln's life from childhood. Providing a model for hard work, honesty, visions, tenacity and success.

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It's a perfect world, where everything looks right. But ugly truths lie beneath the surface…

It is the future. There is no war, no hunger, no pain. No one in The Community wants for anything. Everyone is provided for. Each Family Unit is entitled to one female and male child. Each member of The Community has their profession carefully chosen for them by the Committee of Elders, and they never make a mistake.

Jonas, a sensitive twelve-year-old boy, had never thought there was anything wrong with his Community, until one day. From the moment Jonas is selected as the Receiver of Memory at The Ceremony, his life is never the same. Jonas discovers that The Community is not as perfect as it seems. Although they appear to have everything, they are missing something of great importance. It is up to Jonas, with the help of the Giver, to find what long ago had been lost. And so Jonas embarks on an adventure to save the world as he knows it.

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With Shealy as a guide, we appreciate anew the confusions and difficulties that beset the March sisters as they overcome their burdens and journey toward maturity and adulthood: beautiful, domestic-minded Meg, doomed and forever childlike Beth, selfish Amy, and irrepressible Jo.

5. Being Different is OK! - Diversity

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This stunning story deals with the severe consequences of intolerance.

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Hoping to impress a sexy female classmate, fifteen-year-old Carlos secretly hires gay student Sal to give him an image makeover, in exchange for Carlos's help in forming a Gay-Straight Alliance at their Texas high school.

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6. Tenacity

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The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong 
Newbery Medal 1955. The children in a small Dutch town try to bring the storks back to nest on their roofs.

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Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Weatherford
Award-winning picture-book treatment of Tubman.

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The smallest and humblest of creature can dream of greatness and, if faithful to himself and the dream, can become the noblest of creatures.

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Chris, a young boy of 6, is playing in the park at Toad Catchers' Creek with his friends when he decides to attempt to cross the legendary monkey bars. On first attempt, he fails and falls to the ground…in the process he loses his self-confidence and is embarrassed in front of his playmates. Chris' father consoles him and tells Chris the story of a Macaw named Screech who was afraid to fly. Screech allowed this fear to dominate his existence until one day, his friend Tracker falls from a branch high in the rainforest. As Screech watches him plummet towards the ground, Screech gathers all of his courage and uses the four magic words that his mother had taught him… I CAN DO IT. Armed with his mother's magic and his true courage, Screech takes off from his nest, catches Tracker and returns him safely to the ground. Screech, now the hero, has realized that he did have the power to overcome his fear and succeed where he had failed in the past.

Once Chris hears the story, his father encourages him to use the magic words and try the monkey bars again. This time he gets all the way across and learns that he too, has the power to grow and overcome his fear. The story ends with his father telling Chris that one day Chris will share this knowledge with his child and he too will know how it feels to see his child succeed.

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Frank wasn't satisfied doing ordinary frog things. He wanted to fly, but he was a frog and frogs can't fly. Follow along as Frank jumps and runs and leaps and dives until he finally finds his place in the pond. The companion book on cd will transport you and your child into Frank's world with sound effects and wonderful performances by children and adu

7. Encouraging Heart

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An African picture book drawing on the 26 distinct aspects of the alphabet.  It recognises and celebrates the individual contributions of multiple African tribes and cultures.

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A story of a family mouse preparing for winter. However, Frederick is preoccupied with gathering abstract things and does not gather enough food for the cold season.  He then utilises his talent 'imagination' to encourage others, and bring warmth at a difficult time.  He had to wait until the other mice were open to his contribution.

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8. Taking Responsibility and Accountability

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A great book about diversity and empathy. It is wonderfully written in rhyme, and the illustrations are superb!  It teaches children not to just follow the crowd.

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From the author of Adventures at Walnut Grove: A Lesson about Teasing comes a tale about taking responsibility for your own actions. Silly and Sassy come to Walnut Grove to visit their cousin Sammy. Silly and Sassy are always getting into trouble. They play hide 'n seek, have frog races, and play dare or double dare. How does this lead to jumping off a bridge? Read I DOUBLE Dare You! to find out how everyone learns that it's not always wise to follow your friends.  Do you accept responsibility or blame someone else for your actions? I hope that I DOUBLE Dare You! helps children think about the decisions they make, and that they try to make good choices.

9. Self-Awareness

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Tinkerbell smashes a unique stone that gives life to the fairy tree.  She blames everything on her best friends, and is not fully aware of her own flaws or talents. After a long treacherous journey she turns the mirror on herself and realises her role, takes responsibility and learns form her mistakes.   In the end she creates a solution that makes more fairy dust than any fairy has ever made.

10. Strategic Thinking

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11 Factors for Successful Talent Management

11 Factors for Successful Talent Management

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  1. Get the foundations right.  What does success require in your organisation now.  Too often I see competency frameworks that are over complicated, not updated, or not flexible enough to be able to adjust to different cultural needs.  Talent is a mixture of performance and potential, so have a strong foundation to reflect on that.
  2. Regular reflection.  Forget just having an annual process.  We have always talked about regular feedback, but we drag managers through a yearly and often laborious process.  There is so much technology to hand like Rypple that allows for regular feedback.
  3. Think about what leadership you require.  What is your capability gap, what are your success factors?  There is no one right way to successful leadership.  Different companies require different things, some need to navigate in a mature environment and some need a tribe of leaders throughout the business to innovate.
  4. When you understand what you need think about where can I source that Talent.  In sourcing Talent don’t just stick to the same industry.  Your organisation might be going through points of pain now that another industry has faced in the past, or a different customer groups you want to attract.  For example, the maturity and decrease of subsidisation faced in the wind industry now could be compared to issues that ship builders or aviation manufacturers   Homogeneous mind-sets can come back to bite you.
  5. Where are your points of pain?  You will have different points of pain where it will hurt the delivery of your business goals.  A lot will depend on your budget.   It may not be possible to provide for the needs of all talent, you may have or want to differentiate your offering.  Do you need new talent for the future, or bench strength now because you have an executive board that will need successors in the near future?
  6. Do not undervalue experience and exposure.  Once you have identified the gaps think about what you have available that can expose your Talent to the required skills and capabilities to fill the gap.  There is great value in mentoring, coaching, the right projects and regular feedback.
  7. Owned by the CEO and the executive team.  Question the CEO and executive team on what are their business challenges?  Some may or may not translate into Talent problems, and some may be burning platforms.  In my experience there are often burning platforms, which give you the engagement of the right people.  Get sponsors on the executive board to own and define the problem, the outputs and the process of designing, building, implementing and maintaining the program.
  8. Built by the business.  The middle managers and team leaders should be involved in the design and build of the programme.  They will know what will work for them, what is practical and the collaboration increases the success of the program.  You can also engage employees in a pilot, which brings valuable feedback on language and cultural differences that need to be taken into account.
  9. Business Continuity.  The responsibility of the program should remain with the business.  HR should not take ownership, it will simply be seen as something that HR will manage we nominate the Talent, and then hand over to HR.  This will only give a short-term success to the program.

10. HR Facilitation.  HR needs to continually facilitate the process, inspiring leaders and having corridor conversations.  For example, if a leader is visiting APAC they could meet up with some of those on the Talent Pool so that they have a view of their people.

11. Measure.  Define the measures of success with the executive team.  Measures I have implemented before are bench-strength, time to recruit, cost of attrition and numbers at risk.  This facilitates regular conversations, actions and business continuity.

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