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Inspiring Women in Leadership

It was a delight to lead a session on women in leadership for Tiger and the Inspiring Women in Leadership teams. This session was for mentors and mentees.

I donated my fee for this keynote to the Jermain Defoe Foundation, where I am an ambassador.


Ten Low-Cost Smart Marketing Moves

The current economic climate has had an impact on budgets, especially marketing and promotion. I am therefore pleased that my friend and colleague from across the pond, Julie Wassom, has taken the time out of her busy schedule to be my guest blog. Julie gives an overview of her 10 unique effective marketing tips.

Julie is a trainer and consultant who has helped thousands of directors and managers worldwide build significant enrolment in their early care and education programmes. An internationally recognized authority on marketing child care services, Julie is president of The Julian Group, Inc., a marketing firm specialising in the early care and education industry. She is the author of The Enrollment Building Success Library of training resources, and the free online newsletter, Wassom’s Child Care Marketing Wisdom.

Julie states:

“How do you generate more enrollment inquiries when you have little time and even less budget for marketing? By making Smart Marketing Moves.

I define Smart Marketing […]


At last supervision?

 “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got.” Mark Twain

It was refreshing to see that the revised EYFS, Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements has a legal requirement that all settings should have adequate systems relating to how they supervise staff.

A number of my clients (some, currently have robust supervision measures) state that they already have supervision arrangements in place. However, when I ask for clarification this is not quite the case. Generally, what they do have is an adequate appraisal system. (This, indeed, should be in place.)

But it is important that we differentiate between supervision and appraisal; after all from September 2012 settings will need to have clear evidence, especially to show Ofsted how they supervise staff.

To help settings with this, I have attempted to define what these two terms mean:

Supervision: Focused professional and personal dialogue-empowering staff

Appraisal: Formal management evaluation of job performance

From a historical viewpoint we need to analyse the […]


Butter or Margarine? Career Orientation

 

‘Leadership is less about what we know and more about what we’re willing to discover.’ Diane Branson

I recently attended a retirement ‘do’ in my office for Dave who was the receptionist/administrator.

Dave has a very happy disposition and would greet everyone respectfully and with a smile. He would often go out of his way to solve issues and would help you out if you had a query. Nothing was ever a problem for Dave.

When I arrived at the do, Dave was busy sticking labels onto small dishes, labelling them ‘butter’ and ‘margarine,’ even stating the brand of butter!   He said to me, ‘Laura, I am just putting these labels on the dishes so that everyone has a choice as some people like butter and some like margarine.’ Wow, I thought to myself, even on his last day Dave is still thinking of others and making sure that there is attention to detail on his buffet […]


Spot The Leader!

‘The  only real training for leadership is leadership.’ Antony Jay

Owners frequently ask me “Laura, do you know any decent managers, I have a vacancy to fill?” They also ask ”Why aren’t there enough decent managers?”  I have to agree with these owners and think that, as a sector, we need to reflect on this and find solutions.

An effective manager is one who can truly lead a setting into a zone of quality. Over the years I have had many difficult conversations with managers where I have had to inform them that actually their setting is being managed and not led. There are many tell tale signs, for example the quality of the setting is ineffective and the manager does not have clarity around their visions and values in order to lead the setting. I come away scratching my head, thinking this person has been in post for x amount of years and has attended […]


Hire people who are better than you are……….

In the pass and currently I have worked with clients who have a real issue with delegating. They then wonder why their staff do not perform and are not creative/practical thinkers. Which reminds me of this quote ‘Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine.’ David Ogilvy-Scottish born British Military intelligence officer and later top advertising executive 1911-1999. Clarity around individual roles and responsibilities is also key. Within my accredited level 4 Leadership and Management course the managers complete this  task. How is leadership distributed in your setting:

Identify different key roles and responsibilities.
Explain how these are shared effectively amongst the team?

 Delegate a task to a member of your team.

Describe the process and implement it.
Evaluate the effectiveness of your decision to do this.

So, if you are micro-managing your staff and do not […]


Practitioner and Child; Positive or Personal Relationships?

For a while now, I have been reflecting on what we in the sector mean by the term ‘positive relationships’ and its impact on interactions between children and practitioners. With this in mind, my thoughts are on whether we should change the term to ‘personal relationships’ and more importantly how we should look at personal relationships between the practitioner and child in our day-to-day practice?

For instance, I have a positive relationship with the staff in my local bank, but this is not a personal relationship. Indeed practitioners need to have a positive relationship with children in order for the relationship to be personal and meaningful. Time and time again, when carrying out my mock inspection visits, I observe practitioners having positive relationships with children, but not on a deeper personal level.  If done on a superficial basis and as part of the daily routine, the relationship is one where it is routine led rather than […]