WORKSHOPS – Empowerment Leadership for Center Directors


I recently spent a whole day with a fabulous group of child care center directors in Northern Illinois. Their regional manager gathered them together to attend my training on empowered leadership and strategic planning in order to prepare for the coming new year.

put your plan in writing and commit to it

put your plan in writing and commit to it

Our training focused on how empowered leadership begins first with having a solid, articulated and committed plan of operational action for the entire coming year.

We spent quite a bit of time on the concept of annual calendars and how these make operations more efficient, effective, smooth and productive.

Most people are only operating on a plan that takes them forward a few months at a time. In my training, I was pushing attendees to think in terms of a whole year, a whole 12 months, in all areas of their business.

This was a stretch and novel for some. For others it was more familiar but still a push because “day-timers” and date books usually only show one-month at a time of “to do’s” and “action items.”

And, since most managers, leaders, directors, etc. don’t take the needed time to really create a solid annual plan, they don’t get done.  So we made a list of all the planning challenges leaders face day-to-day. These include:

  • frequent interruptions and distractions
  • failure to delegate
  • lack of follow-through
  • absence of “big picture” thinking
  • reactive versus proactive approaches

So that is why a training such as this one can be critically important to the overall functioning and operations of your center or school. (hint, hint!)

setting a goal is not the main thing; it is deciding HOW you will achieve that goal

setting a goal is not the main thing; it is deciding HOW you will achieve that goal

I must say, it was completely rewarding to see the women grapple with paradigm shifts with an openness to change and new ideas as they created a series of annual calendars for their businesses!  Having concentrated, quality time with a mentor was the key to getting this new year assignment off and running!

I am excited to see their new tools in action come January!

So many times we hear “That’s not my job” or “I thought so-and-so was working on that.”

Organizational charts help alleviate all that confusion and excuse-making that get in the way of empowered leadership. So we also focused heavily on making sure that the right people are doing the right things at the right time.

This meant that I asked the women to develop highly detailed leadership structures for their schools and centers by creating a very unique organizational chart.

organized activity is a source of power

organized activity is a source of power

A lot of brainstorming ensued. A lot of rearranging of task assignments, role clarificati0n, and adding or deleting responsibilities from team members’ jobs. Not just a flow chart that show who reports to who. But who does what. When. And how often. — For every task in the school.

Nice, huh?

So many times a job description really just does not say it all. That is why an organizational chart is needed to create everyday clarity to people’s jobs and roles.

And to create the security and knowledge that everything is getting done. It holds people accountable. And it results in much smoother operations.

make every moment count

make every moment count

That’s empowered leadership.

Time management and delegation were big topics as well. Interesting discussion arose.

“I don’t trust others to do it right — or quickly enough, or well enough, or the way I like it.” And “I don’t have the time to train people to do it the way I like it, or the way it should be done, or how I want it done.” And “But I like what I do. Why should I give it up to someone else?”

We discussed the benefits of delegation and how delegation develops people — both those doing the delegating and those getting delegated to. We talked about the differences between legislating, isolating, abdicating and delegating. We talked about the barriers to delegating. Then we made delegation assignments and commitments for the next 60 days.

I shared some of my time honored axioms of empowered leadership:

  • make a plan and commit to it
  • first do what you are paid to do, then what you are asked to do, then what you want to do
  • do not spend your time doing someone else’s job (my favorite)
  • make every moment count

It was a great day of learning, sharing, thinking, opening up, planning, strategizing, and seeing and doing things in new ways.
It was a day full of “aha” moments.

Always have a plan!

Always have a plan!

To learn more about my empowered leadership workshops for Early Childhood Educators and Center Directors, click here.

What the Women Said:

“The best part of the Annual Calendar and Organizational Chart workshops was getting the tools to help me achieve the goal of being organized and getting things done efficiently.” ~ Gina Mosqueda, Assistant Director, Bright Horizons Family Solutions

“Kendra’s explanation of how to use Organizational Charts was very helpful as this is a new concept for me. I’ve been in the field for 25 years and implementing this concept will bring both clarity and increased performance in the centers I supervise.” ~ Penny Zimmerman, Regional Manager, Bright Horizons Family Solutions

“An ‘aha’ moment that occurred for me was that I can become much more effective by preplanning a year ahead and that with the right tools it is possible.” ~ Kathie Cunniff, Center Diretor, Bright Horizons Family Solutions

“I really enjoyed the Annual Calendar and Organizational Chart workshops and found them to be very helpful. The tools provided in order to become better organized were the best part. They are user friendly and have definite purpose behind them.” ~ Sue O’Callaghan, Program Director, Little Hands Child Development Center at the Allstate Insurance Company

strategic planning influences and achieves the future

strategic planning influences and achieves the future

Before beginning, plan carefully.

Marcus T. Cicero