In a recent webinar on how to achieve excellence through sustainable growth, we were joined by Chanie Wilchanski, CEO of Schools of Excellence! Chanie dove into why changing your standards to being “good enough” is the first step to achieving excellence, and walked us through effective goal-setting strategies so that you can attach realistic standards to high expectations. Here’s what she had to say:
Make clear, realistic goals and stick to them
Whatever you do, do not shift your goalposts. If you change your goals, you will never celebrate and never win. Oftentimes when we set a goal and then, as we get close to it, we change the goal to be more ambitious. This is one of the most demotivating, burnout-inducing tactics. This will remove buy-in from your team, since they don’t get to celebrate wins either.
You can’t celebrate unless you hit a goal. If I don’t know how to win and celebrate at my job, why would I come to work? People want meaning, community, and relationships–more than just a paycheck. There has to be something else associated with it. People want to be winners and know how to contribute.
Be sincere in your offer to help
When we ask people if they need our help, we need to mean it and actually be hopeful that they will give us something we can do. Do not offer help just to be nice. That creates inauthentic relationships.
On the other hand, even if you have everything taken care of, it’s important to let people contribute. Let people give. When you don’t let people give, you are the only giver in the relationship. You want a give and take. It is not perceived as kindness to not need help, it is perceived as the other person not being needed by you.
This is how we create authentic, collaborative cultures that are real, when somebody knows that when you ask for help people will come to help and that when you offer help, it is genuine. It’s part of sustainable growth at your center because we need other people to grow: this is called healthy interdependence, not co-dependence. You need to be able to lean on each other as healthy, whole people coming together to support each other. You have chosen to work together and need to give it your all.
Choose what to celebrate and how to celebrate it
In our childcare centers, we have policies and procedures that outline how almost every single thing is done. Within all this, choose what you celebrate within your center and how you celebrate it. There are mile markers in human life that are known to be celebrated: birthdays, graduations, New Years’, weddings, etc. Then there are other points in our life involving grief or transitions that are marked as milestones of ritual and coming together.
Think about your company values and ask yourself what are a few things that you would like to choose to celebrate as mile markers. This will start to shift the narrative and culture within your center since it establishes what is important to you and what you value.
Now, I challenge you to think a little deeper. What if you celebrate random acts of kindness, delegation, or mentorship? Think outside of the box! Create celebrations that bring the culture together and show what you value. For example, we value generosity so we are going to celebrate generosity! Think about things from a different perspective and try to celebrate new things!
Set realistic expectations that align with your center’s standards
As a leader, you need to set up realistic expectations and align them with high standards.
So, what does this mean?
An expectation is about putting something on another person, predicting how they will show up for you. Standards are very different. Standards are showing how we operate inside this center. Do not lower your standards because your educators do not seem up to your expectations. You need to lower your expectations for new staff members and work with them to grow into your standards.
Whether it was intentional or through osmosis, someone helped you get to where you are today. Send the elevator back down, come down, and show someone else how to do what you learned.
How are we all going to learn otherwise? Does everyone have to learn the hard way, or can we have mentorship and someone guiding us and showing us the right way?
Send the elevator back down, so newer team members can understand the difference between expectations and standards. Because if you want sustainable growth, you need to keep your people.
If you give unrealistic expectations, people will leave. At the end of the day, expectations of other people are a representation of your unmet needs. For example, labeling your manager as stubborn. Really, you wish your manager was more flexible. It’s about what you need, not what they are doing.
The worst promise that you can break is the promise that you make to yourself.”
Find out what you need as an employee, co-worker, and individual so that you can know what you need to ask for from the people who surround you.
Be sure to watch the full webinar on how to achieve excellence through sustainable growth at your childcare center! Also, check out our free resource on breaking the cycle of blame here!