I know this sounds creepy, but I like playing with dolls. It has taught me a lot over the past few years. When my girls first asked me to do it, I thought I was too much of a man to do it. And what if my friends saw me playing with dolls. It could ruin my image! As I picked out the right boots and purse to match the skirt and blouse, there is a business aspect to clothing coordination. I love playing with dolls!

My wife and I disagree that there is a difference between playing with dolls and playing with action figures. I had a G.I. Joe, and he was cool! He had a Kung Fu grip, fighter jet and weapons. There were various outfits and styles for different occasions (e.g. – battles, flights and combat situations). TRUTH: action figures are just like dolls. They both teach business skills and strategy. Here’s how playing with dolls can build your business acumen:

  • Focus – When London (my youngest daughter) and I sit down to play with dolls, I have to focus. There is no cell phone or laptop. Play is serious business! If I can focus during play time, I can focus during negotiations. My daughter likes me more when I focus on her during play time. My customers respect me more if I am not on my phone during meetings or negotiations. Playing with dolls teaches focus.
  • Communication – My girls are natural communicators, and that skill will serve them well in business. Professionals must know how to communicate through all levels of an organization – up, down and across. When my daughter plays dolls with her friends, they talk. They discuss their day, what they are doing and what they will do next. No one can be an island when playing with dolls or in business.
  • Creativity – Business schools bow to Barbie when it comes to creativity. Playing with dolls is not just about the clothes. Children learn to design an experience. When I sat with my daughter, her doll was going to work (dentist), hanging with friends and playing the guitar at a concert. It seemed silly at first. Then I realized she was creating the conversations, interactions and plans for the entire day. Corporate leaderships knows that creativity is needed to solve problems at work. Playing with dolls teaches creativity.

Why I Used to HATE Christmas

  • Team work – Just like work, play is more effective when done in groups. When girls play with dolls together, they are deciding as a group or team what they are going to do. I’ve watched my daughter interact with friends when playing with dolls. They learn at an early age to share, discuss ideas and design activities as a group. G.I. Joe kicked butt, and the goal was to overpower everyone else. How boring! Playing with dolls teaches team work.
  • Resource Planning – There are a limited number of clothes, furniture and accessories in the dollhouse. We had to learn how to make the most with what we had. Business owners will never have everything they need – money, time, personnel, etc. Leaders and executives plan their resources for success. Just like my daughter. My Playing with dolls teaches resource planning.

Everyday my daughter seems to ask me to play dolls with her. I used to pass it off as child’s play, but she has shown me the power of play. She doesn’t care about the strategic and analytical side of her actions, but I appreciate what she taught me. MBA classes should have a class in how to play. It would help them learn to create innovative solutions for their employees.

Scientifically Speaking, of course…