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Seeing the Big Picture

As childcare leaders, being able to understand and consider the big picture can be an essential skill. A childcare center can be a chaotic and overwhelming experience at times. Sometimes all we can do is just make it through the day. Often, this leaves us frustrated and feeling like we didn’t accomplish anything. Yes, the children, staff and parents were cared for and everyone was safe and secure, but your expectations of the possibilities for the day may be shattered. Especially when this happens day after day.

By developing a complete perspective of a situation and seeing the big picture, you can make decisions that drive long-term results, which can help you overcome the day-to-day grind and feel more accomplished.

Seeing the Big Picture

Have a vision.

Project into the future. Vision is the ability to be forward-looking. What do you want your childcare to look like in the future? Look five or ten years into the future to understand what you hope to achieve by then. Vision statements are what we imagine in a perfect world; they are an idea we want to see occur someday. They are big ideas that address complex problems or situations. Consider all aspects of your childcare: finances, culture, quality, curriculum, communication, safety, health, how you can help your teachers, etc. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your goals. With a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision.

Share Your Vision.

Share your vision and the rationale behind it with your teachers and staff constantly. Talk about the future and what you see that future becoming. Talk about your passions and dreams for the future while explaining the reasons and the whys behind your vision. Sharing your vision will help others understand it, which can become the greatest source of motivation for your team. Show the team the enthusiasm, initiative, commitment, loyalty, and competence that will be needed to obtain the vision.

You can’t do it alone.

Once you’ve developed and shared your vision, you need help to achieve it. Get the buy-in from your staff by communicating your needs. Ask for their help and listen to their suggestions. Help your staff feel that they are taking part in positive changes that will result in solutions to the day-to-day struggles and change the future. Through conversations, you can expose yourself to new perspectives, which may promote big-picture thinking. Informal conversation, including asking questions, giving honest answers and providing friendly suggestions can help you strategize about how best to approach a project.

Delegate tasks

Big-picture thinkers should delegate tasks or responsibilities in order to achieve their vision in a timely manner. Your time may be better spent on the broader perspective. Form teams that understand their part of the big picture. Set the next steps, goals and time frames to complete and accomplish tasks. Guide teams through the process by continually discussing the end result or the big picture. Monitor progress, celebrate successes, stay positive and changes will start to occur.

To boost your big-picture thinking, create a list of what you'd like to get done. Then, organize the list into categories, such as:

  • High to low-priority responsibilities.

  • Short-term and long-term duties.

  • Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly targets.

Reserve time for reflection

Rather than acting on short-term conditions, such as emotions, fatigue, time pressure or distraction, deciding based on the big picture can ensure you prioritize effectively and set achievable goals. Here are a few methods you can use to think about the big picture:

  • Reflect on challenges. We learn more from our mistakes than our successes. What caused issues and how can they be overcome?

  • Keep a written record of progress.

  • Reflect on successes. What went well and why? Can it be repeated?

By striving to achieve a big-picture perspective, you can ensure you understand the connections between basic tasks and long-term targets, which can make the goals you create more efficient and achievable.

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