Community Connections Solution Australia: Leading through change – Part 1

Good governance, resilience and communication is key to managing change effectively, shares CCSA’s CEO, Meg Mendham.

At Community Connections Solution Australia (CCSA), one of the key points we have noted over the years is that strong leadership facilitates the processes that are involved in managing ongoing change. Dealing with all services types in both rural and remote as well as metropolitan locations, services can find that change can be proactive or reactive depending on the circumstances.

There has been a significant amount of reactive change during the past few years. These changes have required effective leadership to support team cohesion and quality outcomes. Services have had to navigate their way through the management and response to droughts, bushfires, COVID and floods, all of which have brought about changes to way services operate and function.

Leadership has been brought into sharp focus as we navigate changes to the way we do business. It has also drawn attention to the foundations that we base our leadership on. Good foundations (including policies and procedures) provide the solid base for leadership to function and indeed flourish when managing change.

Building blocks

CCSA believes the five building blocks for good governance in early childhood education and care services are:

  • organisational structure

  • financial

  • human resources/industrial relations

  • National Quality Framework

  • operations.

Each of the building blocks represents an area that the leadership requires knowledge of to assist in their role of managing an early childhood education and care service, especially when managing with ongoing change. All of the building blocks require specific planning and management, in fact, need to operate effectively and efficiently to enable each area to be complaint, viable and sustainable into the future. The ability to govern effectively will ultimately improve outcomes for children and enable all stakeholders in the service to thrive even when dealing with change.

So how do we lead through change?

Leaders need to be prepared to change, accept, and adapt. In other words, they need to be resilient. Resilience is not a reactive concept – we need to integrate change into our daily life so that it is not disruptive. This requires individuals and teams to demonstrate listening and learning and this is an interactive process.  

Listening is an active skill. We must not only hear the thoughts of those around us – we need to listen – to ensure that the team understand the message and can transform the message into action. This requires communication skills and an understanding of the audience and their receptivity to the message and creating the space and conditions for others to speak and be heard. 

Leaders must be open minded and actively engage with diverse viewpoints and specifically those that differ from our own reference points, culturally, politically, religiously, gender or sexuality. The way we learn comes from many different aspects of our life – not just study and reading, but experience and our daily challenges and how we face them. The more broadly we question, consult, and engage the more likely we are to understand and investigate solutions to problems. 

Roles and responsibilities

Services need to consider if everyone’s roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and if appropriate delegations are in place.

Our educators are responsible for the important job of leading children on their early learning discovery. We need to ensure that we continue to listen, learn and adapt our practices to consider diversity and the needs of our educators to manage during times of uncertainty and change. It is important for services to continue implement and improve the support for educational leaders, both formal and informal.

Managers of services need to consider how best to adapt their practice to the changing needs of the business, the families and educator teams. This could include more efficient use of technology to allow for better communication or ensuring that teams have access to the appropriate resources and expertise to allow them to deliver on their own goals. 

Read more on planning for change and learning from challenges in Part 2 of our Leading through change feature from CCSA in the next Quality and Compliance in Practice newsletter.

Head shot of a woman named  Meg Mendham who is the CEO of Community Connections Solution Australia Head shot of a woman named  Meg Mendham who is the CEO of Community Connections Solution Australia
Image: Meg Mendham, CEO, CCSA
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