Sunday, May 15, 2011

Habit #2 has 2 Parts: Vision & Values

The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet. —Reverend Theodore M. Hesburgh

If you want to move people, it has to be toward a vision that’s positive for them, that taps important values, that gets them something they desire, and it has to be presented in a compelling way. That way, they feel inspired to follow. —Martin Luther King Jr.


“Without a vision the people will perish.” – King Solomon

Vision is about charting the course, steering the ship. You have to know where you want to go before steering the ship. You’ve gotta know how you want things to be before attempting to lead. By definition leaders must know where they are going if they hope to lead. Leaders who don’t know in which direction to go succeed only in leading people down an aimless and meaningless path. Developing a vivid picture of the future is an important part of creating a future that is better than today. Having a clear, motivating image of a desired future provides meaning and context to daily tasks. Focusing on a vision for the future can inspire people to reach higher and overcome challenges. Once created, a vision will help to structure decision making and policy setting in an organization.

Visioning is a common, but effective strategy proven useful in many endeavors. Olympic athletes visualize themselves performing their specific feats, and this visualization is effective in helping them to perform better. Albert Einstein imagined himself traveling through the universe as a “man in a box” on a ray of light. This vision helped him develop the theory of general relativity.

Future-focused thinking is the one attribute that a leader must possess to create and shape an “intentional organization.” An intentional organization is purposeful, created and led with a specific goal in mind. An intentional organization is grounded in specific objectives and it has a plan of action designed to accomplish these objectives. The culture of an intentional organization reflects a deliberate focus on a specific end result. In order for the organization to be purposeful, goal oriented, grounded in specific objectives, and focused on an end result, the leader must be able to see and articulate a vision—to chart a course for the future.

A good vision is ideological, but possible; challenging, but realistic. It is not a wishful fantasy, but an attainable picture of the future. A good vision should be imaginable, desirable, feasible, focused, flexible, and communicable. A good vision depicts an image of the future with some implicit or explicit commentary on why people should strive to create that future. A vision can be a mental picture of the “ideal” organization, community, or youth program. Studies have shown that people are more likely to reach a goal if they can envision it and can imagine the steps to reach it.

Clarity of purpose and direction, and the ability to envision the future are paramount to effective leadership. Whether we call this a vision, a dream, a calling, a goal, or a personal agenda, the message is clear: leaders must know where they’re going if they expect others to willingly join them on the journey. Vision is the magnetic north that provides others with the capacity to chart their course toward the future.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Habit #1 of our 8 Habits of Highly-Effective Afterschool Leaders

8 Habits of Highly-Effective Afterschool Leaders

YouTube video snippet on our 8 Habits workshop.

Habit #1 is Safety. Because… Safety First!

It is kind of like Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. At the bottom of the pyramid are the basic needs – food, water, security, and SAFETY.

These needs must be met first in order to address the more psychological needs of esteem, belonging, and love.

Highly-effective afterschool leaders keep kids and each other safe – physically safe and emotionally safe.

Leaders ensure there are NO safety or health hazards in the area. They protect kids from even potential hazards like caustic art materials, cleaning agents, medications, sharp knives, hot liquids, etc. They check equipment for active play, and make sure it is safe.

Afterschool leaders ensure the program community works together to keep the facilities clean. They make sure there are adequate hand-washing facilities and supplies and that we ALL wash our hands frequently.

Leaders create or maintain systems that are in place to protect the children from harm, when they move from one place to another or use the rest room - systems to keep unauthorized people from taking children from the program.

Afterschool leaders carefully supervise children according to their level of responsibility. They note when children arrive, when they leave, and with whom they leave. They know where the children are and what they are doing at all times. And they increase the level of supervision even more when they are engaged in higher risk activities.


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Thursday, May 12, 2011

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