Last night our women’s volleyball team had a competition to see who could build the highest towers using uncooked spaghetti, paper, Scotch tape, and marshmallows. I don’t remember who won.
I do remember what their coach said at the end of the activity: “We’re trying to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable speaking their minds, regardless of if you’re a freshman or a senior.”
That’s incredibly important, and it’s been proven in dozens of research trials. Here are the average performances in this activity from various populations:
- Business school students: Towers average under 10 inches.
- Lawyers: Towers average 15 inches.
- CEO’s: Towers average 22 inches.
- Kindergartners: Towers average 26 inches. (p. 2)
It turns out that kindergartners can outperform the smartest adults because they don’t think about status roles. They don’t think to themselves, “Is it okay for me to talk?” “Can I criticize her idea without fear of being ostracized?” “Do I belong?”
No, kindergartners don’t waste time on trivial matters. Adults do.