Beyond the Book—Coping with Change

In my work as director of several early childhood programs, one of the important lessons I learned was that, as in my life, the only constant was change!

Just when I’d get the staffing set—teachers hired, oriented, and working together as a team—the enrollment would shift. Or, when the enrollment was at capacity, key teachers would make life changes and resign. The balancing act between having the appropriate team of teachers for the enrollment at hand was a constant challenge. It was always back to the drawing board!

Over time, though, instead of reacting to it when it happened, I began planning for it in advance. One thing I did was save the resumes of potential hires. If I found several really good candidates by interviewing them for a position, I hired the one I needed, but told the others that I would like to keep their resume on file and call them if something opened. This became my feeder system for hiring more quickly and more effectively. Many teachers who interviewed for a position with us eventually did become part of our team—albeit at a later time than originally planned.

Thinking more proactively, and planning for the inevitable, worked well for me and for my programs.

Here are a few other work habits to cultivate:

  • Become a quick-change artist. Flexibility and adaptability in any situation will win the day.
  • Commit fully to your job. Which means, doing whatever it takes to get the job done well.
  • Keep moving forward. Meet or exceed all expectations. Be the best you can be.
  • Accept ambiguity and uncertainty. It is temporary during change. Focus rather on the positive end result.
  • Behave like you are in business for yourself. See problems and challenges from a more global view and hold to your vision—no matter what.
  • Keep learning. Keep adding to your skills and expertise. Gather strategies that work for you!
  • Hold yourself accountable for outcomes. And make certain the outcomes are positive and successful.
  • Add value. Every way you can! “How can I be of service?” Go the extra mile.
  • Manage your own morale. You are responsible for you!
  • Alter your expectations as circumstances warrant. Changes take time, so be patient, adjust your thinking, and react accordingly.
  • Be the best example, the role model, in your organization!

And, because a good quote always just sums it up, I leave you with this:

EXCELLENCE … can be attained if you:

CARE more than others think is wise …
RISK more than you think is safe …
DREAM more than others think is predictable …
EXPECT more than others think is possible …


For more examples of Coping with Change in the workplace, take a look at Beginning to End: The Life Cycle of a Child Care Center—A Director’s Story, available on

This entry was posted in Early Childhood, Early Childhood Leadership, Early Childhood Professionals, Early Childhood Teachers, For Early Childhood Directors, Managing Early Childhood Programs, Performance Management Skills, Quality Early Education and Care, Training for Early Childhood Directors, Training for Early Childhood Professionals. Bookmark the permalink.

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