“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, meaning extraordinarily good or wonderful (Oxforddictionaries.com, 2018), that’s what came to my mind when I spent a day at the work with 9 to 12 years old kids, discussing how the world of investment, insurance and pension works.
The word ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious ‘ word is from the famous film, Mary Poppins, the film is set in Edwardian London, 1910. In the film, at the suggestion of Mary Poppins (a magical nanny), Mr Banks takes his children to his workplace, the Dawes Tomes Mousley Grubbs Fidelity Fiduciary Bank. In an attempt to get Michael (his son) to put his tuppence in a savings account, all the staff (including the bank’s owner, Mr Dawes) sing about the benefits of saving, arguing that “If you invest your tuppence wisely in the bank/Safe and sound/Soon that tuppence safely invested in the bank/Will compound”. An excellent way to explain the compound interest. Despite this advice, and to the disgust of his father, Michael decides to give his money to an elderly lady who feeds the birds. (Patridge, 2018). As Einstein said, those who understand compound interest earns it, he who doesn’t pays it. During the elaborate song-and-dance routine, bank staff explains about investment and risk management. I didn’t sing or dance (sadly) but I discussed about savings, investment, insurance and pension with primary school children.
I had two leadership challenges set for myself, the first challenge was to reach out to five primary schools and engage with them on financial education. The second challenge was to engage with three stakeholders groups at my new work place on sustainability. Regarding my first challenge, I found it hard to engage with the schools. Despite my initial plan to work through the charity I have been involved for last 4 years, I received more than dozen reasons why I should not engage with the schools on financial education. As Mary Poppins says, ‘ Anything can happen if you let it’. Through my current organisation I got the opportunity to engage with Guy Fox charity who creates innovative activities and publications that encourage children to explore the world. My organisation works with them to create contents on, ‘How the world really works – Savings, Investment and Pensions’. Additionally, I managed to engage with two of the schools where my children go. They agreed with me to provide 1-2 sessions on financial education per year to the primary school. I had my first session at both the schools where I played the financial education game designed specifically to teach about borrowing and savings. It didn’t take a long for children to realise that spending on credit card may bring momentary happiness but it takes lot longer to pay while savings requires disciplined/firm approach but in long run it accumulates. I am now working towards second session where I could borrow from the behavioural science and prepare fun contents that resonate with them. In Mary Poppins words, ‘Every job that must be done, there is an element of fun, snap, job is a game.’
In regards to my second challenge, I have engaged with three different stakeholder groups on sustainability. As Dan Pink mentions in his book Drive, one of key motivator is sense of common purpose beyond the day to day tasks, through focus on the shared purpose. As shown in the end of the Mary Poppins as an uplifting scene, The Banks family, reunited and refocused, head out all together to fly Michael’s kite. The family sing together of rebuilding the kite and as they create with simple materials they are all focused on a shared purpose. I will end my blog on that final song, ‘Let’s go fly a kite’, (Mary Poppins, 1964)