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Raising a teenager versus work practices: introduction

It is a couple of days before Christmas, 2019. My then 12-year old son has just moved to secondary school and completed his first series of real exams. We are standing in the school playground, where we just received his results from his class teacher. To be honest: they are more than decent. And yet, as we are on the way back to the car, I can tell from the look on his face that he is not entirely happy.

Back home after a 15 minute drive, we sit down and I ask him about that look. It quickly turns into one of our first real conversations about motivation, ambitions, emotions and many more things that were all hidden underneath.

My son very openly told us that he had expected a better result. He also told us that he was sincerely convinced that he could and wanted to do better.

As I am actively coaching people and teams at work too, I spotted a great opportunity. If people spontaneously tell you they are not entirely happy with something and add that they want to improve, that is something that calls for action. It is the time to start exploring what they would like to change, find out what is holding them back, dreaming the dream with them and laying out the steps to get as close as possible to reach it.

That very conversation was the start of a challenging journey. It was - and still is - a journey with ups and downs: good and bad results have come and gone. Like any normal teenager, my son tends to struggle with lack of focus every now and then. School is not cool most of the time. There is plenty of distraction from games and other activities that are much more interesting than studying. The impact of covid, where school suddenly became a remote experience, proved an unprecedented complication on top of all that.

I discovered that many of the techniques we use at work to improve teamwork were extremely helpful along that journey. We tried - and still try - many things. Sometimes we had great success, just as many times we brilliantly failed. But most importantly, we are still on that journey, trying to improve a little every day.

After a couple of really interesting talks with @Christine P_ Dela Rosa, I realised I want to share this journey with you through a series of articles over the coming months. Expect stories about setting goals, planning and tracking work, celebrating success and dealing with mishaps. There's plenty to tell about communication and feedback, about ownership and responsibility, or about the dynamics between members of your family or your team at work.

Apart from sharing my experience, I am looking forward to some interesting discussions and exchange of tips and tricks for both home and the workplace.


  1. Raising a teenager: setting goals 
  2. Raising a teenager: scrum at home 
  3. Raising a teenager: dealing with distractions 
  4. Raising a teenager: dealing with bad news 


I love the segue from your experience with your son and professional coaching, @Walter Buggenhout _ACA IT_. Very apropos.

I look forward to reading the next installment. 


Like # people like this

@Walter Buggenhout _ACA IT_ I cannot wait for this series! Largely because I don't see this story often in parent/child relationships. I'm more familiar with kids reluctantly participating in things because they're told they have to. But for you soon to be self-motivated to improve? I can already feel the foreshadowing of the systems to be built! ...and maybe broken down and then rebuilt like a rollercoaster haha.

Like # people like this
Dave Liao Community Leader Nov 12, 2021

Looking forward to this series.

Thanks for sharing insights into your personal and work lives - curious how they interact and influence each other!

Even folks without kids can probably relate, especially since there's still a pandemic going on.

I have noticed how sometimes techniques from the workplace work magnificently with kids, but some don't and some maybe shouldn't even be considered. And it even works the other way around sometimes as well: people at work get smiles on their faces too when they get candy!

I am also very interested to hear from fellow Community members if they tried to transport experiences from work into the home environment or the other way around. I'm on a continuous journey and have noticed that exchanging ideas is really helpful to uncover new experiments! 😊

Like Edwin Cooley likes this

Just saw this article from The Atlantic. Timely! Though the article is taking the topic from a different perspective than I think you're going to go, @Walter Buggenhout _ACA IT_

Screen Shot 2021-11-14 at 5.53.12 PM.png

That's indeed a great and timely article. I have one episode up my sleeve that also touches the tools experiments we did, but indeed, there's more around practices and habits that I intend to share as well. I'll be happy to cross-reference this when I get to it!

On a side note: funny how they managed to speak with someone from Trello, but didn.t get a response from Atlassian ... 😃

Like Christine P_ Dela Rosa likes this
M Amine Community Leader Nov 22, 2021

Nice, thank you @Walter Buggenhout _ACA IT_ 


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