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Here’s the TRICK

Here’s the TRICK

Kiahnna D. PattonI am raising a toddler, and for those of you who are parents, you know you need to have a few tricks up your sleeves to stop them from biting everything, jumping off of everything and generally testing the limits of life.

As a parent, I periodically scour the Internet and pick people’s brains to find guides that explain how to raise a model child – the child every parent wishes they had and the child every adult wishes they had been growing up. Despite my endless investigation, I remain biased. I know my child will grow up to be brilliant and fantastically successful no matter what. Nevertheless, in my search for greatness and my effort to add to my parental toolkit, I discovered Esther Wojcicki’s book “How to Raise Successful People.” It is a nice guide that chronicles the author’s own upbringing as well as that of her wildly successful children and the students she has impacted over her 35-plus year teaching career. Wojcicki introduced the concept of TRICK, an acronym for Trust, Respect, Independence, Collaboration and Kindness. She proposes that these are the “five fundamental values that help us all become capable, successful people.”

Here’s the TRICK:

  • Trust: Allow for risk taking so that people can move toward empowerment and independence.
  • Respect: Support others as they pursue their goals by giving them autonomy and supporting their individuality.
  • Independence: After you have established trust and respect, independence then lends to self-control and responsibility. Those who have developed these qualities are able to cope with challenges and “feel in control even when things around them are in chaos.”
  • Collaboration: Allow for participation by “asking for their ideas and working together to find solutions.”
  • Kindness: Model kindness by extending forgiveness and gratitude, being of service to others and generally being aware of the world beyond your bubble.

As you use TRICK, resist the urge to remove all barriers, with the exception of those that unnecessarily block progress. This idea leads me to one of Wojcicki’s quotes I am drawn most to:

“Don’t take the challenges and growth away from our children. Painful and difficult experiences are often how we grow, so help them face those challenges and learn from them. This is a lesson that we can translate into the work world. Make it safe for people to make mistakes and learn from them so they can grow, resulting in growth of your business as well. Use the TRICK values to persist even in the face of difficulty.”

I’m drawn to that quote because it gives a nice link from childhood to adulthood application of TRICK. I’ll go out on a limb and espouse that for many of us, the challenge of being in the midst of a double pandemic of COVID-19 and racial trauma has us struggling to focus and be at our best as often as we’d like. This is where having a TRICK up our sleeves can help serve as a guide. In a business setting, these concepts are important. Here is what they might look like in practice:

  • Trust in the Workplace: Give an assignment and empower her to make her own decisions. When there is trust, she will have the courage and confidence to take prudent risks, leading to better decision making. Timely reward great performance.
  • Respect in the Workplace: Delegate meaningful work to your team members and allow them freedom to determine how the work gets done. Listen and ask them questions to show genuine interest and respect for each person’s individuality.
  • Independence in the Workplace: Failure is a part of learning. Avoid the peril of perfection by embracing mistakes, supporting learning and allowing for revisions. Empower him to learn by doing things himself. Lay out what the end product should be, and allow him the freedom to use creative and deep thinking to chart his own path to your expected outcome. Empowerment and engagement can lead to incredible results.
  • Collaboration in the Workplace: Ensure all the necessary voices are included, regardless of position in the hierarchy, when making decisions that have broad impact. Remain curious. Ask team members for innovative ideas, and provide feedback.
  • Kindness in the Workplace: Assume good intentions. People who forgive more quickly tend to have stronger relationships. Forgiveness is good for your health. Personalize your expressions of appreciation and acknowledge contributions.

As you think about who you want to be and how you want to show up in the world, consider incorporating the TRICK algorithm into your life plan.

Kiahnna D. Patton is senior human resources business partner at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) and a nonprofit founder.



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