It has been said that there are three types of early childhood directors: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened. To make things happen, a director must have a strategic plan.
Strategic planning is the process of developing and maintaining a strategic fit between the organization and its changing marketing opportunities. It relies on developing a clear company mission, objectives, and goals.
In our world, planning and marketing our programs and services go hand-in-hand.
An organization’s performance in the marketplace – essentially, whether our program is the program of choice in our town – depends on our program’s ability to capitalize on opportunities presented within our environment.
The ideal organization reflects upon, and analyzes its performance – assessing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. What is our business? Who are our customers? What is our value to our customers? What will our business be? What should our business be? It then sets appropriate objectives; develops a strategy, and builds a framework to achieve these objectives; and designs management systems to support the organization’s ability to carry out its strategic plan.
Without a strategic plan, management spins its wheels and nothing gets done! The bar is never raised because we practice crisis management – reacting to whatever is presented to us in the moment. I propose, and offer for your consideration, a more pro-active approach to leading, directing, and managing an early childhood program. I advocate taking charge of situations and turning them into opportunities. I advocate controlling the destiny of our early childhood programs.
I advocate planning strategically every year – to be on the leading edge of our field, of the marketplace, and of hiring and enrolling.
Many of us do the same things year after year – and wonder why we can’t find skilled teachers or why our enrollment is down.
In this present environment, where many schools and programs (public and private) are vying for the same teaching candidates, as well as the same pre-school- age children, doesn’t it make sense to become the sought-after early childhood program?
Doesn’t it make sense to think about who we are now, and who we would like to be – and develop a plan to work toward that objective? Doesn’t it make sense to utilize strategic planning to become that program-of-choice?
Are you the director who makes things happen? If you are not, why not?
In my consulting, mentoring, and coaching practice with the leaders of children’s centers, I have worked with several early childhood directors, and created a strategic plan for their program/school. They became energized; they set clear goals and expectations; and they raised the bar. They took control of their destiny – and the results have been extremely positive!
If you would like more information about the strategic planning process, and how it might work for your program, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to sharing with you what I have learned and experienced.