This heavily analysed (and no doubt expensive) data pointed clearly to the fact that… DRUM ROLL… the most successful staff at Google were those in possession of… superb interpersonal and communication skills.
STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills? Important, yes. Vital even – granted.
In amongst the list of important Google attributes though - dead last. Dead. Last! At Google no less!
Gosh, who knew? Who could have predicted that? We’ll tell you who…
The only thing our Early Years team found surprising about this news is that the top Google search of the same day wasn’t ‘we told you so’. Typed solely, we might add, by frustrated Early Years Educators the world over.
But...what does this mean for busy parents of young children, who only use Google to establish ‘who made Paw Patrol so annoying?’, ‘will I ever sleep again?’ and ‘how to get that stain out of the carpet?’!
Parents (and fans of WhichSchoolAdvisor.com at Google HQ), LISTEN UP. This is what Early Years Educators, Nursery Teachers, Child Psychologists and parenting experts have been trying to tell us for years.
Early life experiences are vital – and link directly to well-being and success as an adult.
Consider children whose early experiences have been blessed with positive relationships and self-esteem building attachments to adults and peers.
A robust attitude – check!
Think of children who have had a multitude of experiences which have extended and challenged their communication skills; experiences which fired their imaginations and relationships with adults who have truly valued each child’s individual passions and ideas.
Creativity – check!
Even more so, consider children who have watched the adults around them role model kindness, support and care for others in their own interactions.
Empathy – check!
These are the children who have the best chance of becoming robust, creative and empathetic adults.
Conversely, these are the life skills that are painfully difficult to acquire (or even emulate) after those pivotal, personality forming, life outlook creating early years (by which we mean 0-5 years).
And what, we hear you ask, does a robust, creative and empathetic adult have to offer Google?
As the old adage goes – success is failure turned inside out. Work at Google? Get an algorithm wrong? What do you do? Move on. Try again. Rinse and repeat until you get where you need to be.
Where does success truly lie? In being the best? Occasionally. But much more often in those who never give up and in those who do not fear failure.
Famously, Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, "How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?" Edison replied, "I didn't fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps."
Allied closely to fearlessness, because without self-belief, there would be very little in the way of experimentation, new ideas and creativity in this world.
People who have had their creativity valued, admired and praised from an early age are often the most innovative and creative adults. And creativity is more than just ‘art’, don’t forget. It’s a subject we explore in more detail here.
Our best advice for parents who want to foster creativity? Only ever offer your child help when they ask! Don’t add in extras to ‘finish’ their artistic masterpieces. Don’t straighten up those wonky decorative flourishes. Sit on your hands before finishing a puzzle for them. Let your child test their own hypotheses rather than give them your own answers. Every time you complete a task for your child, your message is ‘someone else can do it better’.
A message that many carry into adult life and work.
Coaching and successful communication came out pretty much on top of the list of important attributes at Google.
Again, and to reiterate, these personal ‘soft’ skills ranked far above coding and science.
Why? Well, what else could rank about human interaction? What good is any other skill without being able to present your vision and ideas, clearly, cooperatively and with authority to your colleagues?
How else to develop the success of your team than by being a coach, a leader AND a team player?
We asked Sarah Rogers, CEO of EYES Middle East, a leading education centre for Early Years professionals in the UAE, for her opinion on the Google project. Sarah told us,
"As an Early Years Educator, I was struck by the emphasis in the article (and the subsequent comments) on teaching these soft skills at university, whereas all the research shows that these need to be taught (or rather modelled) in the early years to truly imbed these skills in young children, building on them in subsequent schooling.
I have sat with university lecturers who have noted that it is too late to change students if they don’t already have these skills by the time they come to university. My view is that they are the foundation for everything and no matter what discipline you study at university, these ‘study skills’ underpin everything.
Or as we say in the early years sector, promoting ‘equality, generosity, curiosity toward the ideas of your teammates, empathy, and emotional intelligence’ is just what we believe is best practice to model and support every day in young children.’
At WhichSchoolAdvisor.com we encourage parents to place significant emphasis on their child’s early experiences and education.
Time with your child is never ‘just babysitting’, so value the professionalism and expertise of the staff in whichever Early Years setting you choose.
For young children, we should always remember to value play over the acquisition of academic knowledge (for this can come later in life!).
As the world renowned Italian Educator, Maria Montessori said ‘play is the work of children’. A much used phrase perhaps, but one that cannot be over emphasised.
Childhood is when we acquire our most valuable, lifelong skills.
Google – take note!