All business takes a commitment to ideas and goals. Ideas create vision. Goals are the vehicles we use to get us there.
I would like to take a look at ideas or vision. Often times, vision is pushed to the side while we expend all our energy in survival mode. A typical day might include one more staff people calling off with one less substitute than you need. A new child starts, who, somehow, slipped between the cracks and you nor his new classroom knew he was coming. You are not prepared for his arrival, or, in the worst case scenario, have no room for him. You find out he is vegan AFTER lunch. The Director, who is as reliable as the air we breathe calls out sick. The food order arrives and you can’t find the check which the owner has written. Snow is piling up around the exit doors. Typical? Sometimes.
So when do we find time to carefully define our vision. Some of you may say NEVER!
Yet without a clear, well-defined picture of who you are, what you represent and where you want to go, you will get stuck in the mud of the daily grind.
You must set time aside away from your program with your senior staff on a regular basis. Weekly is ideal. Take them to lunch. Bringing lunch in will not stop the interruptions. Initially there may be pitfalls. Ask them to help you define your role as a leader. See how congruent it is with your own. How to they envision the program? What do they need from you? What are behaviors that impede your ability to work together?
Is there an absence of trust? Do some staff fear conflict? Do they see or feel a lack of commitment from you or others? Is there a lack of accountability in your corporate culture? Are results minimized or simply not noticed?
These are all counterproductive to stifling staff buy in. Start by refining the dynamics among staff members. Ask these questions. You are taking an inventory and measuring the pulse of your business. People are your most valuable asset in early childhood programs. Your clients bond with their children’s caregivers and teachers. They are less likely to bond with you.
Results have to be measured. Create a survey asking these questions. Use a scale ranging from Always to Never and assign values from 1 to 5. Tally your score to see where you stand. It important to attack the issue of trust first. As you begin to make progress in this area you will get the best from your people. The vision will begin to take on importance with your staff because you are building it together.