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Make Your Michael Jordan Moment

I want you to have a moment where you feel like Michael Jordan as a Director.  Your center is your court.  You should dominate it!

I am a basketball fan.  I have several heroes from that field, but Michael Jordan is someone everyone knows, or at least they think they do.  Millions of Nike’s Jordan sneakers have been sold over the years.  He still earns over $100 million a year, because he is such a part of the American culture.  He is the what we think of when we think EXCELLENCE.

But how did he get there and how can you emulate him?  He said, “I had to learn the fundamentals of basketball. You can have all the physical ability in the world, but you still have to know the fundamentals.”  Did you take time to learn the fundamentals?  What are the fundamentals of Directing a child care center?

  • Professionalism
  • Marketing
  • Curriculum Development
  • Staff Recruitment & Training
  • Communication

These are the core of the Texas Director’s Director Credentialing courses and most of our ongoing trainings. There are other things you need to know, but these are the core.  If you have these down cold, then the minor crises can be handled.  

If you don’t feel confidence in your fundamentals, reach out to us.  We can help you with training or individual coaching.

A child falls on the playground, breaking an arm.  As a professional who has trained her staff well, you know that first aid will be rendered, the child will be comforted, that then the parens will be communicated with well, and then the paperwork will be completed.

OR

The city cuts off the water to your street while they are upgrading lines or the road, whatever.  It doesn’t matter why they did it, but it happened and now you have a situation.  Go out & use your communication skills to find out how long all this is going to last & help them to understand why this is a huge issue for your children.  If it is going to be more than 5 minutes, lean on marketing, curriculum development & professionalism to determine what you can do that will provide a quality day for your students.  You may have to call the parents to get the children because you can’t provide care, or you might be able to create an impromptu field trip to the neighborhood park, using their plumbing, facilities & picnic tables.  If so, just call, text, email parents to let them know how the plans have changed.

Once we have the fundamentals down we move into proficiency.  

“I’m not out there sweating for three hours every day just to find out what it feels like to sweat. “-Michael Jordan  We have to keep working on things.  Practice.  Drill.  Do it again.  And again.  And Again.  Walk through the program every day.  Talk to parents every morning & afternoon.  Do tours.   When you are done, evaluate how it went.  Do you need to shift something?  Are you making your free throws?  BTW tours are the child care version of the free throw.

Jordan is faithful: “Be true to the game, because the game will be true to you. If you try to shortcut the game, then the game will shortcut you. If you put forth the effort, good things will be bestowed upon you. That’s truly about the game, and in some ways that’s about life too. ” Are you being consistent?  He was. Keep going.  Get better, focus on the fundamentals.  

Some folks have a hard time seeing themselves as Michael Jordan.  OK, fine.  You don’t want to be the icon of excellence.  It can be scary to reach that high.  How about trying to be his coach?  A lot of what you do is coaching the staff, parents & children.  The coach he credits with getting him to excellence was University of North Carolina Coach, Dean Smith.  “Other than my parents, no one had a bigger influence on my life than Coach Smith. He was more than a coach – he was my mentor, my teacher, my second father. Coach was always there for me whenever I needed him and I loved him for it. In teaching me the game of basketball, he taught me about life.”  Can you be Coach Smith?  “I built my talents on the shoulders of someone else’s talent.”  Be the base for your people to reach excellence.

If you need a coach of your own, so that you can get your center court moment, I am here for you.  Coaching & training is what I do.  Get your Michael Jordan Moment!

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Focus on the fundamentals.  Get a coach if you need one.  Practice.  Evaluate.  Do it again.  Then when it is game time, you will shoot the game winning shot.  Stand your ground & take your shot.

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Top 10 Ways to Empower Children

As a teacher working with young children, you have millions of opportunities to empower children & foster good self-esteem.  Every day in the early childhood classroom self images are being built by the child’s successes & failures and by what they see and hear.

Many of the challenges that plague children are the result of low self-esteem. Teenage pregnancy, drug usage, poor grades, fighting, depression, and even suicide can be the result of low self-esteem. A child with high self-esteem will enjoy life more and have a more successful childhood. Children with high self-esteem are likely to grow into adults with high self-esteem.

Grow a child’s self-esteem and confidence:

  1. Draw attention to the child’s strengths. Let the children bask in the glory of being good at something. Whether the child’s strength is school, throwing a fastball, or playing Go Fish, let them know that you notice how great they are at it.
  2. Teach children how to deal with failure. Explain that it happens to everyone and is part of life. Help each child to examine what went wrong in her approach and how to improve. Encourage children to be persistent until success is achieved.
  3. Give children choices. Just be sure to control the options. Suppose a young child is getting dressed for school. Instead of choosing the clothes for the child, allow him to have a few options. Choose a few different outfits and then allow the child to choose between them. You’ll have a well-dressed kid that feels empowered because he chose his own clothes.
  4. Allow each child to fit in at school. The idea of Spiderman pajamas at school might seem bizarre to some, but if that’s what all the cool kids are doing, let it go. It can be difficult for adults to remember the importance of peer acceptance. Allow the children to find their own way to fit in.
  5. Allow children to struggle a little. It can be hard to resist the urge to provide help at every opportunity. However, it can be great for a child to learn how to deal with struggle. Ensure that the struggle ends successfully! Give each child the opportunity to be successful without adult intervention.
  6. Be reasonable in your praise. Your 3-year old student knows her drawing of a butterfly isn’t the best butterfly the world has ever seen. Instead, offer a comment like, “I love how you used so many colors in the wings.” Be sincere with your praise.
  7. Allow each child to overhear you complimenting them. For example, the next time you’re talking to another teacher in front of your class, mention something positive about one of the children. He’ll be sure to hear and feel on top of the world.
  8. Avoid comparing one child to another. All people are individuals. Comments like, “Why can’t you be as neat as your friend?” cause more harm than good.
  9. Spend time alone with each student. It’s one way of showing that every child is important to you. Children know you could be doing a lot of other things, but you chose to spend time with her instead.
  10. Be encouraging. We all require support from time to time. When a child is struggling, provide encouragement and support. Let them know that they’re not alone. Consider what you would’ve liked to hear as a child and allow that to be your guide.

A child with a healthy level of self-esteem will be happier and perform better in school. As an early childhood professional, you have a strong influence over your children’s self-confidence. Making your children feel good about themselves is one of your greatest responsibilities. Pay attention to the little things each day, because that’s what your kids are doing!

 

There are countless opportunities to make your child feel better or worse about himself. Be proactive.

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Are These Your Monkeys?

The most request article published by the Harvard Business Review is on Monkey Management.  All Directors become familiar with managing monkeys, even if they don’t know that they are doing it.

Below is an excerpt covering Monkey Management from our  book:

Management Time:  Who’s Got the Monkey?

By William Oncken, Jr., (former CEO, The William Oncken Company of Texas, Inc. and Donald L. Wass (former President, The William Oncken Company of Texas, inc.) (Adapted from an article in the Harvard Business Review as an analogy that underscores the value of assigning, delegating and controlling.)

In any organization the Director’s bosses, peers, clients and staff – in return for their active support – impose some requirements; just as the director imposes some requirements upon them where they draw on his support. These demands constitute so much of the director’s time that successful leadership hinges on an ability to control this “monkey-on-the-back” input effectively.

Why is it that directors are typically running out of time while their staff is typically running out of work?  In this article, we shall explore the meaning of management time as it relates to the interaction between directors, their bosses, their own peers, and their staff. Specifically, we shall deal with three different kinds of management time:

Boss-imposed timeto accomplish those activities which the boss requires and which the director cannot disregard without direct and swift penalty.

System-imposed time– to accommodate those requests to the director for active support from his peers. This assistance must also be provided lest there be penalties, though not always direct or swift.

Self-imposed time– to do those things which the director originates or agrees to do. A certain portion of this kind of time; however, will be taken by staff and is called, “staff-imposed time.” 

The remaining portion will be your own and is called “discretionary time.” Self-imposed time is not subject to penalty since neither the boss nor the system can discipline the director for not doing what they did not know the director had intended to do in the first place.

The management of time necessitates that directors get control over the timing and content of what they do. Since what their bosses and the system impose on them are subject to penalty, directors cannot tamper with those requirements. Thus their self-imposed time becomes their major area of concern.

Directors should try to increase the discretionary component of their self-imposed time by minimizing or doing away with the ‘staff’ component.  They will then use the added period of time to get better control over their boss-imposed and system-imposed activities. Most directors spend much more staff-imposed time than they even faintly realize.  Hence we shall use the analogy of a monkey-on-the-back to examine how staff-imposed time comes into being and what the superior can do about it.

Where is the Monkey?

Let us imagine that a director is walking down the hall and the he notices one of his teachers, Jones, coming up the hallway. When they are abreast of one another, Jones greets the director with, “Good morning.  By the way, we’ve got a problem.  You see…”

As Jones continues, the director recognizes in this problem the same two characteristics common to all the problems his staff gratuitously brings to his attention.  Namely, the manger knows (a) enough to get involved, but (b) not enough to make the on-the-spot decision expected of him. Eventually, the director says, “So glad you brought this up. I’m in a rush right now.  Meanwhile, let me think about it and I’ll let you know.” Then he and Jones part company.

Let us analyze what has just happened. Before the two of them met, on whose back was it?  The teacher. Now whose back is it on? The director. Staff-imposed time begins the moment a monkey successfully executes a leap from the back of a staff member, to the back of his superior and does not end until the monkey is returned to its proper owner for care and feeding.

In accepting the monkey, the director has voluntarily assumed a position subordinate to his staff. That is, he has allowed Jones to make him the subordinate by doing two things a subordinate is generally expected to do for a boss: the director has accepted a responsibility from his staff, and the director has promised a progress report.

The staff – to make sure the director does not miss this point – will later stick their head in the director’s office and cheerily query, “How’s it coming?” This is called, “supervision.”

Or let us imagine again, in concluding a working conference with another staff, Johnson, the director’s parting words are, “Fine. Send me a memo on that.”

Continue reading Are These Your Monkeys?

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How to Take Action Consistently

Actions speak louder than words. Talking and planning aren’t enough to make progress with most tasks. Some of us specialize in daydreaming and planning. We might have the best ideas, but ideas without action are a waste of time and mental energy. It’s important to spend the majority of your time actually doing something. Action is the key.

 

Those with control over their lives and their time are able to take action on a consistent basis.  They move goals forward.

 

Become more action oriented and gain control over your time:

 

  1. Realize that nothing changes until your behavior changes. Visualization and positive self-talk have their place, but they’re only effective if your behavior changes. You can try to wish your way to a new Bentley, or to make a million dollars by aligning your chakras with the universe, but it won’t happen unless you’re actually doing something different.

 

  • Understand that a consistent change in your behavior is the key to real change.

 

  1. Know the outcome you desire. It’s not easy to take action if you don’t know what you’re attempting to accomplish. Be clear on your intention. Take the time to determine what you want to accomplish. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years? What actions can you take today to move in that direction?
  2. Start by taking small steps. Do you want to jog for 60 minutes each day? Get started by jogging for one minute each day. You won’t get in shape by exercising for only one minute, but you will develop the habit of getting out the door each day. After a week, up the time by another minute or two.

 

  • After 4-6 weeks, you’ll have developed an exercise habit and can begin to exercise for real.
  • Does it seem like that schedule is too easy? Good! How much running did you accomplish in the previous 12 months? There’s nothing wrong with easy, provided you’re patient and can see the big picture.

 

  1. Limit your planning time. Those that are slow to take action love to plan, but the best plans are worthless until they’re executed. While you’re trying to work out the fine details, everyone else is already taking care of business.

 

  • There’s no reason to be hasty, but set a limit on how long you’re going to strategize before you actually do

 

  1. Use rewards wisely. Small, meaningful rewards can help you to get off the couch and get busy. Decide on a few rewards and when you’ll receive them. Get excited and begin taking action. When you’ve earned a reward, enjoy it.
  2. Get started early in the day. If you can accomplish something worthwhile before 9AM, you’ll be motivated to do even more during the rest of the day.

 

  • If you fail to do anything substantial by noon, you’ll feel bad about how you wasted the morning. Then you won’t feel like doing anything in the afternoon. Then you’ll let yourself off the hook by telling yourself that you’ll get twice as much done tomorrow. Many people make this process a habit. Avoid becoming one of these people.

 

Take a close look at the most successful people you know. Notice that there’s nothing exceptional about them. They aren’t smarter or more capable than you. But they do manage to get things accomplished each day by taking action consistently. The good news is that you don’t have to be spectacular either.

 

You only need to learn how to avoid wasting your precious time. Consistent action is the key to wealth, weight loss, strong relationships, a strong business and anything else that matters in your life.

Sometimes we all need help getting it done.  If you need help getting going email me TexasDirectorCourse@gmail.com.

 

 

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What is a Mentor Coach and Do You Need One?

Athletes have coaches. Many entrepreneurs and professionals have mentors. They’re really the same thing. A mentor coach is a coach for your growth. Most of us weren’t formally taught how to grow successfully. A mentor coach can help you to figure out what you want to do with your life, set goals, and achieve them. They have experience in helping others to live fulfilling lives.

A mentor coach wears many hats:

  1. A mentor coach is a cheerleader. Life is easier when someone is in your corner. When you know you have support, it’s easier to take risks and chase after big goals. You always have someone on your side when you have a coach. *Your coach will also push you. They’ve seen plenty of clients attempt to avoid hard work and stressful situations. They’ll know when you’re playing games and push you to succeed.
  2. A coach provides guidance. It’s not always easy to make good decisions, especially when you’re stressed or fearful. And let’s face it, some folks just don’t make good decisions, period. A coach can help you to make wise decisions. * A friend can’t always be objective or completely honest, but your coach can. You’ll hear what you need to hear from your coach.
  3. A coach helps you to determine what you want to be when you grow up. It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 68. A mentor can help you to determine what the next step of your life should be. If you’re feeling lost, a coach might be the answer.
  4. A coach will help you to find balance. Coaches are aware that there’s more to life than just money or a perfect classroom. They emphasize keeping things in balance. Health, professional success, relationships, finances, spirituality and leisure activities are all part of a well-balanced life.
  5. A coach is not a therapist. Therapists deal with past issues and traumas. Coaches work from the present moment and into the future. A mentor won’t help you get over a past loss or deal with the fact that you were bullied in junior high. A coach can guide you toward building a more desirable future.
  6. A coach isn’t required to have any training. There are organizations that certify coaches, mentors or trainers, but they aren’t necessary to hang out a shingle and make a living in these areas. Be sure to vet anyone you’re considering hiring. Since the barriers to entry are so low, there are plenty of coaches that aren’t good at what they do. * Pay attention to reviews and schedule an introductory session to see if a particular coach is a good fit. Choose carefully.

Do you need a mentor coach? A mentor coach won’t solve your challenges, but they can help you to help yourself. If you need a steady hand to guide you and a cheerleader to support you, a mentor coach can make a big difference. There are good mentor coaches and bad mentor coaches. If you’re looking for a mentor coach, ensure that you find a good one.

Texas Director offers Mentor Coaching services. Schedule your session today.

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Giving Thanks

I have been blessed to be able to work in early childhood education for more than 25 years.  I started off as an assistant in a lab school and have had pretty much every job available in center.  Amazing!

How many people get to earn their living in something that makes such a difference in the world?  Here at Texas Director we help men and women develop their leadership talents so that they can help hundreds of children.  Hundreds of children touched by each Director, and we have helped thousands of Directors. If you do the math, that means that hundreds of thousands of families have been affected by what I do.   SoI want to thank you for allowing me to help you.  The scope of what we do amazes me.

What you do each day is so important.  You are shaping the populace of tomorrow.  How you run your center affects how the families view their community.  The tenor of your classrooms sets the children up to be the best versions of themselves.  You help your staff be able to do their often stressful jobs with enthusiasm and skill.  You are a resource in your community.  How amazing!

It is difficult to remember to be thankful for what we get to do on a daily basis.  Sometimes, when there is a stomach flu wreaking havoc in the twos class, there doesn’t feel like there is much to be thankful for.  But remember when little Jaime brought you the picture he drew just for you?  Not many engineers have that happen on a Thursday.  What about when a teacher brought you a snack because they thought you could use it?  What a gift to work with such caring people!

Take time today to think about what you are most thankful for in your job.  Writing down one thing you are thankful for on the calendar before you leave for the day, is a great way to catch those moments.  I bet there was one today.   Share it below, to inspire other Directors.

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What do You Want from Me?

What do you want from me?As a Director, you have a hard job managing your child care center.  I know the drill.  It is hard and there is more than any one person can do well.  That is where Texas Director comes in.  We offer you a helping hand where and when you need it.

One of the ways we will be doing that in 2017 is to create new products for you and your center.  We currently offer business coaching, onsite training for your staff, business plan development assistance and substitute directing services.  This is not enough.  We need to do more.  You need more help.  But what areas are your biggest challenges?  Kate and I have theories, and you have answers.

To make sure that we are creating is what you want and need, we have created a short survey.

Please take a moment to ask for what you want.  Each survey is also an entry into a drawing for 15 different prizes.  Prizes include a free message, an MP3 player, 20 free hours of training, and many other prizes.  Enter TODAY.  Survey closes on November 19, 2016.

survey

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TCSV958

 

 

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Is Your Career Perfect for You?

Do you wake up each day excited at the prospect of going to work? Do you feel fortunate to have such wonderful employment and coworkers? Does your career provides you with spiritual abundance and freedom?  Does the passion for your career overflow every day, and inspire others?

Do you expect the best for your job and yourself? Are you considered an expert in your field and enjoy the perks and benefits that go along with that positive reputation? Is your pay is appropriate for your level of expertise?

Is your company thriving and providing you with challenge and inspiration? Do you feel grateful to be part of such a wonderful organization? Do you feel at home when working?

Is your boss is supportive of employee advancement and good at giving feedback the staff need in order to excel? Do you spend every night reflecting on how fortunate you am to have my career?

This is what I want for you in your career. I want you to plan to be your very best at work. I want you to be excited at the opportunities that your career presents and be committed to making the most of it. You have so many reasons to love your career if you are in the right one.  Take a minute to look at your current career track and appreciate what is great about it.  Also look at what needs to improve and make a plan to address it.

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. What would I change about my career?
  2. How has my career improved over the last year?
  3. What do I enjoy the most about my career?
  4. What needs to change?
  5. What steps can I take to improve it?

If you are looking to take a different direction in you teaching career, Texas Director is here for you.  We can help you transition into a director or trainer role.  We also consult with folks who are looking to move into ownership.  Email Carrie@TexasDirector.org for a free session to start putting together your plan.

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What Jurassic Park Movies Can Teach You About Conflict Resolution

Jurassic Park sequels are more than just a good time. Along with the amazing beasts and scary chases you can pick up valuable lessons on conflict resolution.

After all, some negotiating principles are the same whether you’re trying to agree on how to outrun a pack of raptors or hammer out a good staffing schedule. Try these tips that have been helping to settle differences since the last ice age.

Gain Trust

When will InGen learn? They keep bringing in meaner soldiers and larger weapons after dinosaurs rebel against being paraded and put on display like Barbie dolls. Treating others with dignity helps to prevent conflicts.

  1. Listen closely. Start by paying attention to what others have to say. Trying to understand their position will help you find common ground with each other. Ask relevant questions and restate what the other person said to ensure you’re on the same page.
  2. Share information. Show the person you are working with that you’re willing to trust them by being transparent. Disclose as much as you can about pertinent facts and your motivation.
  3. Offer compromises. You’ll have more satisfaction and create more stability if you search for solutions that both of you can feel good about. Be willing to let go of some things you want if it helps the group.
  4. Stay calm. Anger and blame interfere with progress. Take a break if you need to cool off. You can assert your needs while being civil and tactful. Staying cool helps you to look more confident and capable.

Reach Out for Help

When you’re having a friendly argument with an Indominus Rex, you might need to call in someone with more teeth. With a little luck, you’ll be able to find team members who are less unruly than a T-Rex.

  1. Collaborate with others. Cooperating is more productive than choosing sides. Think about the good qualities of others even when you disagree with them.
  2. Consult experts. Impartial observers and skilled negotiators may help you uncover new options if you’re at an impasse. A fresh set of eyes can remind you that there are usually many solutions to a challenge if you’re flexible and creative.
  3. Express gratitude. Think of conflicts as opportunities to grow instead of feeling threatened. Thank the other participants for their efforts to help move things forward.

Accept Reality

Conflicts often start when we care more about getting what we want instead of facing the truth or considering the welfare of others. If you can’t control ordinary dinosaurs, you’re probably going to run into trouble if you genetically modify them to become bigger and scarier.

  1. Delay gratification. Having the patience to work for your future self and the greater good is the key to happiness and success. Shrug off temporary disappointments and setbacks as long as you stay true to your major objectives.
  2. Aim for realistic goals. Ambitious targets can be inspiring as long as they’re still within reach. Make the most of your resources by sticking to projects that allow you to deliver results. Others will be more likely to support you if they see that you have an impressive track record.
  3. Set priorities. Even when you have a valid case, you need to pick your battles. Keep your eye on the big picture. Ask yourself if you’d rather prove you’re right or hold onto an important relationship.

Dinosaurs ruled the earth for a lot longer than humans have been around, so it makes sense that they might know something about how to live peacefully with each other. Face conflicts head on, and work together to develop agreements that stand up to the test of time.