As a father of a toddler with a reasonable social network, I am becoming immersed in the world of the hit (I think) children’s animated series and consumer products juggernaut, PAW Patrol. The show’s premise is simple enough. Ryder, a “tech-savvy boy” with a passion for building community and access to spectacular sums of financial capital, leads a team of rescue dogs who work together to protect and support Adventure Bay. This article will help you infuse ideas about teamwork into your pup-related discussions with kids or supercool parents like me. Here are six collaboration tips from PAW Patrol.

Strength in diversity

The PAW Patrol is a diverse team. From Rubble the English Bulldog to Zuma the Chocolate Labrador Retriever, the eight pups are made up of different breeds and bring a variety of colours and creeds to their missions. According to HBR’s David Rock and Heidi Grant, “working with people who are different from you may challenge your brain to overcome its stale ways of thinking and sharpen its performance.” This most likely applies to dogs, too. For the record, the PAW Patrol could stand to have a more even distribution of male and female pups. This said, my three-year-old has ascribed female gender pronouns to Zuma and Tracker regardless of what the show (he’s only watched, like, four full episodes) tells him.

Like the members of the PAW Patrol, who are the same species, but look and behave differently because of human beings creepily and purposefully skilled at breeding domestic animals, people are not as different as we are similar. Renowned anthropologist Wade Davis argues that scientific consensus is that about 60,000 years ago 150 people walked out of Africa and “Forty thousand years and 2,500 generations later, humanity had settled every corner of the habitable world.” Our diversity is easy to embrace because we come from the same place.

Harness digital empowerment

I was all-in on PAW Patrol when Rocky turned his recycling truck into a submarine so that he could help Zuma the Chocolate Lab that rides a hovercraft rescue a pig that fell off a wind-surf-board it had been riding out to sea because a walrus or dolphin got in the way. Incredible. Ryder coordinates most missions on his “pup pad”, a digital device that coordinates the pups’ activities and probably allows for him to check is social channels, too. Needless to say, these animals are empowered by the gadgets (like robotic arms that accommodate for their lack of opposable digits) that enhance their analog skill-sets. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) argues that “educating users, particularly in developing countries, must be a priority to promote the digital empowerment of individuals.” Clearly the PAW Patrol is ahead of the curve and we should all think about how we might join them there.

Align strengths to work

Marcus Buckingham has long argued that we get the best out of people when folks can be their best selves and use their greatest strengths every day. It’s why I’m writing a blog about human potential and not applying actuarial science to insurance policies and it’s why Zuma and his hovercraft aren’t rescuing lost hikers on a mountain. The PAW Patrol unleashes the pup – or the right combination of pups – to solve the problem at hand. According to Fast Company’s Lydia Dishman, “people who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job, which has a positive effect on performance and the company’s bottom line.” Zuma is not only happier when he’s on or in the water, but his chance of success is higher, too. Seek to understand what your kid has a natural aptitude for and what s/he likes to do because it will align their abilities with opportunities.

Ask for help

Not everyone can use their strengths or be their best selves every day with every task. Rocky dislikes the water, but he gets wet sometimes and is comfortable with the experience thanks to Zuma and, I think, the woman who runs the pet salon. Colleagues have taught me a lot about Excel and the details of our time and attendance program. I’m a better leader because I was vulnerable and admitted my shortcomings. Asking for advice from teammates not only gets the best result, but the act also leads to more innovation and better productivity, which are aspects of a healthy business and team culture. Be more like the PAW Patrol and put asking for help on your daily “to-do” list.

Failure fuels learning

There are many teachable moments in this series, which isn’t surprising given that it features semi-cyborg-dogs basically driving Transformers under the supervision of a ten-year-old. Members of the PAW Patrol test and learn all the time. Sometimes, itty-bitty-kitties just catch multiple pups by surprise multiple times with hilarious consequences. It’s not until they get some feedback from Ryder and reflect on the experience that they can fully understand what they’ve learned and how to apply such lessons to the next mission. If you are looking to grow from your mini or major failures – or you want to help your kids to do the same – check out these awesome resources from Edutopia. I especially love the stories about teaching students the science behind mistakes and why they are so important for fostering a growth mindset and continuously developing as human beings. Or, in this case, canines!

Have fun with it!

A house or bus full of dogs are probably going to have a pretty good time. Most of the PAW Patrol’s missions result in treats, spa treatment or Marshall getting something stuck on his head or bum to the other pups’ delight. We should all have fun with out colleagues and teammates because, according to science and Inc’s Rohini Venkatraman, we need to have more fun at work: “The key takeaway here isn’t necessarily to get up and leave your job in search of one that is more fun. Instead, it’s about focusing on the fun moments in your work routine and creating new ones where possible.” Be like the PAW Patrol and have fun with it!

A three-year-old’s opinion

“I like Skye. She helps Rocky and Rubble. I like that. She helps do the thing or help the mom. They are like her baby sister. Chase is a superdog. I like Marshall. I like when they work together and have breakfast. I’m grateful for when they dig up holes. They help everyone and work with people. I’m all fired up!!!” – Miles, Age 3

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