Image from Thinkstock.

The goal of elementary school is for students to learn and master the fundamentals so they are set up for success as they enter middle school and beyond. This “beyond” extends all the way through our professional lives, and the back to school season is the perfect time to reflect. We are constantly learning – about our industry, our businesses and our clients – and as such, should harken back to the fundamentals instilled in us so long ago.

  • Play nicely on the playground. This means sharing, following the rules and trying new things. In other words, treat your colleagues and your competitors with respect, and don’t be afraid to go out on a limb to try new strategies and tactics.
  • Don’t procrastinate on your homework. We’ve all done it, waited until the day before an assignment is due and scrambled to finish it in time. But that’s not the recipe for doing our best work or getting A+ results, so be your own project manager and set deadlines for yourself along the way to stay on track.
  • Ask good questions. This is the best way to make sure you fully understand a client or team member’s needs. Don’t feel as if you need to pretend – “raise your hand” and ask thoughtful questions that encourage clarification or elaboration, and better relationships will follow.

What other lessons from school are still applicable for you and your teams today? Keep the conversation going in the comments below!