Children show the world how to work together for success  
- A Masterclass in Team Work

This summer we had the opportunity to run our camps at IBM. We were excited about it but the experience we got working with kids far exceeded our expectations.  

In every way these kids showed compassion, cooperation and focus that was at par if not superior that what I have seen in most corporate teams.  

Taking ownership of tasks

Right from the beginning, the kids were ready to take ownership of tasks allocated to them. On day 1, the group assigned to Marketing created a GoFundMe video that not only allowed everyone to participate, but also made sure that everyone had a task and were showcased. No one tried to get an upper hand, everyone just worked together as a team and got it done.  


Creating Awareness

 

They were determined to make their lemonade stand a success and the first step was building awareness.

Kids who were pros at Instagram, took our company IG account to a new level, those with poster making skills made literally dozens of posters to put around the IBM HQ and those with musical talent created jingles and music to help build a brand.  

Without even noticing it, these kids were working better together and were more productive than most offices would. They focused on their strengths and dove deep into it to create a brand they could all be proud off.


A Brand is Born - Say Hello to "Lemon-Aid"

 

By democratic vote, they all agreed to raise funds for Princess Margaret Cancer Fund.

This gave their brand and business a purpose.

When one child suggested the name "Lemon-Aid" the others debated. The second choice was "IBM-Onade" . However, once again they showed so much maturity, once the decision was made, they moved on and "Lemon-Aid" was the brand that everyone now focused on selling.  

 


Creating a unique product - presenting "IBM Blue Lemonade"

 

The kids were debating how they would differentiate themselves from the other lemonades that were available, when one of them suggested matching it to the colors of IBM! Voila! Blue Lemonade was created.  

Since they had a very limited budget, they all went home and searched their pantries till a couple of them found blue food color which proved to be successful.

Realizing they needed to reduce costs, they approached IBM's awesome Food Manager Mary, who gave them lemons and sugar. The local on-site Tim Horton's manager also gave them some materials they could use.  

 


The big day! Raising over $778 in 2 hours of sales

 

It was on the last day that the brilliant team work they had came to be seen. With posters ready, some kids came in early to post them all over the IBM campus. Others had created special posts that they got their parents/ aunts/ family friends to post on Slack.  

Kids who had never washed dishes at home, were washing jugs and getting everything ready. Others who had never cooked at home were making the lemonade by trial and error. Others were mopping the mess. Everyone worked together to make it happen.  

At sales time, the kids worked tirelessly to sell. They learnt how to use credit card machine, changed their sales pitch and even went table to table in the cafeteria to take lemonade orders. One of them even turned himself into a walking "Lemonade Man" to get more attention to their lemonade stand.

It all paid off, and at the end of the day, they had sold over 250 liters of lemonade and earned $778!  

 


So what made them so successful?

  1. Focus on the deliverable: From the beginning it was never about any one of them but of all of them. Issues were resolved quickly between them and they moved to the next tasks.
  2. Surround them with excellence: They were in an environment where innovation and excellence surrounded them. This only made them more motivated to showcase the best of they could offer.
  3. Reward the collective instead of the individual: Emphasis was placed on delivery and results and since no single individual was rewarded, it worked in their favor to work together to create a success for all.
  4. Make it fun! Over 2 years of teaching these programs I have realized that excellence in kids comes when they are enjoying themselves.  
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