It is no secret that I have career aspirations of being an executive one day. With 16 years of state service in and approximately 24 years to go, there is plenty of time. In 2009, I had a one year audition as an Interim Chief Information Officer, and that was before I was 30 years old. After that assignment ended, I put the pause on those aspirations and focused on building a family, which took much longer than anticipated. I gained valuable insights and experience from that CIO opportunity, but at age 38, I decided to reflect as it has been said that with age comes wisdom. Which begs the question: how close am I?
I perused the opm.gov list of Executive Core Qualifications. After reviewing the list, I couldn’t help but chuckle as there are many parallels with my role as a parent of multiples. As a result, I think my experience as a triplet dad will ultimately make me a better executive down the road, and here’s why:
EQ1: Leading Change
Not many parents have changed the amount of diapers I have…haha. All jokes aside, this competency involves
- Creativity and innovation – this covers everything from keeping three unique individuals entertained, fed, loved and happy
- Flexibility – rapidly adapting to new skills and abilities from all 3 kids, changing routines and sleep schedules, different paces of cognitive development
- Resilience – functioning under pressure such as the ups and downs of the NICU stay, bouts of illness (RSV), and just dealing with being challenged daily by 3 little minds that feel compelled to see what they can get away with thanks to their cuteness *grin*
- Strategic thinking – finding time to chart out their future, or at least the critical elements of the framework we want to put in place to ensure a bright future for each of them…you know, 529 account contributions, ensuring we have adequate life insurance policies in place, finalizing a will, etc.
EQ2: Leading People
My father was an officer in the Navy (Bravo Zulu), and I was always in awe of the respect he commanded when I would accompany him on base, and even after he retired and was a project manager as a civilian. As their father, I am their de facto leader, and they certainly follow my lead. I set the tone and standard, and given they are sponges, they soak up the examples I lead by.
- Conflict management – you can imagine the kinds of conflict my wife and I have to deal with. We have one daughter that is extremely driven and bossy and has a strong personality, a middle daughter who is passive , yet motherly, and a son who is shy, but a follower of sorts. He tends to annoy his sisters – your typical obnoxious boy
- Leveraging diversity – the kids have different personalities, hair and skin colors and interests. It will be interesting to see what their impact on others will be when they are older. Our shared goal is to embrace the diversity they represent and respect their differences
- Developing others – it’s challenging finding new ways for the kids to learn. They need to explore and also make mistakes in order to grow. After all, that’s how I’ve learned
EQ3: Results Driven
We are responsible for creating an environment for our kids where they understand their purpose, the consequences of their actions, how to solve problem. The last thing we want is for them to be a drain on society.
- Accountability – holding triplets accountable is challenging. The key is consistency – lots of eyes watching! 👀
- Decisiveness – knowing when to intervene and when to let them figure things out on their own has been challenging. Since age 2, we have made way for them choosing to be increasingly independent 😭
- Problem Solving – these 3 kids create problems for us to solve on a continuous basis.
EQ4: Business Acumen
This competency/qualification involves the ability to manage human, financial and information resources strategically.
- Financial Management – funding the triplet operation. The diapers and food cost are staggering. Need I say more? 😂
- Human Capital Management – recruiting and retaining quality help (the early months), rewarding them accordingly (holding cute babies is a great reward!), taking action to address performance problems with the toddlers (challenging! 🤦🏾♂️), and keeping them entertained
- Technology management – yes, I’ve used technology to my advantage during this 3+ year parenthood journey – mostly to track trends, milestones, and to “socialize” our journey using tools such as Facebook, WordPress, Instagram, GoFundMe and our beloved iPhones (notes, photos, timers, reminders, calendars 📆 and that handy flashlight 🔦).
This involves mastering the art of partnering with others. Knowing how and when to ask for help has been key.
- Partnering – we’ve receive so many clothes from generous folks since they were born, and have paid it forward accordingly
- Toys – we’ve joined Facebook groups to stock this addiction
So what do you think? Will I make a good executive one day? I think I am racking up some pretty good experience, and so is my wife! 😂
You may be wondering why my goal is 24 more years? I am anticipating having to pay for at least 2 weddings for the girls. And then there’s college (times 3), and whatever activities they get into (times 3), so raising kids isn’t cheap!