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How Can Young Professionals Develop Better Leadership and Management Skills?

I have had numerous opportunities to learn and experience much related to the leadership and management of organizations in my career. During this time I always enjoyed both the learning and the experience in the moment.

As I have worked for other organizations in an advisory, coaching and training role, I began to appreciate the magnitude of my prior learning and experiences as many younger professionals and business owners have asked me how they can modify or improve their own leadership and management practices.

I understand that these experiences are distinctly mine, built from my professional and life perspective. In many respects, these perspectives influenced the way I anticipated and responded to a variety of leadership and management challenges – from leading and directing groups of employees to developing a response action to natural disasters. At the time I was not fully aware of why I was able to respond effectively to these varied challenges. I do now.

Depending on the role I was occupying at the time, others with whom I worked expected a clear analysis of a situation, the presentation and justification of alternatives, and decisive action. Additionally, I understand the importance of planning, learning how to lead others effectively, and organizing work better by establishing processes and procedures.

I also understand that while I can “teach” others how to plan, to lead, to organize, to communicate, etc., the “teaching” will be ineffective unless I can develop a way to connect this information to the perspectives of those with whom I am working.

I understand now that establishing an effective connection for these leadership and management principles requires that young professionals and business owners understand how the strength of their own individual perspectives can uncover and unleash their latent leadership and management talents.

Some time ago, one of my clients expressed her frustration in getting her employees to understand her instructions and to “put in a full day’s work.” She expressed continued frustration in having to do the work herself because her staff “just didn’t get it.”

After review, it became clear she directed her staff the way she had learned – demanding, reprimanding and shouting at her staff, as her managers had done to her. Quite frankly, she understood the way to manage from her own experiences – albeit not positive ones – what I call “old-school managing.”

My coaching process with her was straightforward. We discussed what was important to her, what she valued, and what her strengths and talents were. As she became more self-aware she also began to understand what she needed to do to become more authentic. She identified how she could establish a more focused direction for her company, she understood she needed to become more comfortable in her role, and she felt more connected in her position as the owner.

After working with her over several sessions on the “why” and “how to” of managing, she became more aware of her talents and abilities, and she began to notice that her employees became more productive in their daily tasks.

This situation is similar to a number of advisory and coaching situations I have experienced over the years to discuss with clients how they can use their abilities to develop more aligned organizations, and to develop more effective leadership and management practices.

As I continue to work with businesses, I find that successful businesses make sure that they understand how to develop alignment within the business by communicating with employees their vision, mission, purpose AND by asking employees their own perspective on the company vision, mission, and purpose. They plan together.

I understand that owners consider it important to identify both for themselves and for their employees their respective talents, motivations, preferred behaviors and technical skills so that these can be more fully incorporated into the company’s culture. They understand that doing the right things right can mean different things to different people. Every person is motivated differently – and every person motivates differently.

I understand that communicating, coaching and counseling require constant effort and focus. In business, effective communication with others is necessary in order for that business to be successful – however success is defined for that business. The necessity to communicate can be wrapped around one’s perspective, their motivation, professional standards, and even their personality. I understand that owners who are effective and efficient at communicating, coaching and counseling their employees benefit from the productivity and profit that envelop their company.

Finally, I understand that the one constant to our business environment is change. You may not get a chance to determine when change occurs, but you can learn to manage it. As young professionals and business owners appreciate this fact, they can bring themselves and their organization through the variety of regular challenges facing their business.

Practical experience suggests that owners and employees who work together to create meaningful change processes can and do increase company productivity and profit.

If you are a young professional or business owner, do you know your talents, your skills, your reasons and your way? Can you increase your self-awareness and authenticity – can you modify your role to become a better leader and manager? What is your belief that you can get there?

Conduct a Feasibility Study Before Starting a School: Avoid Failure and Experience Success

Many entrepreneurs, including education entrepreneurs who start schools, believe that feasibility studies are unnecessary. They are absolutely convinced that they have a fabulous idea that will be successful. In fact, highly sophisticated business plans support their perspectives. Yet between 50% and 80% of businesses fail within the first few years. The global landscape is littered with failed schools.

A feasibility study can help avoid failure. Done correctly, it will do more than avoid failure – it will establish the conditions essential for a successful school startup and operation for many years to come.

A market study is absolutely essential. It’s not enough to know that there is a demand for education in the area. The study must analyze the many variables that parents consider in determining whether to enroll their children in a school. Selling education is not like selling widgets. For most parents, nothing is more important than the education of their children. Parents will look at their options and decide which one is best for them, affordable and worth the price. They will carefully consider variables like the kind of education, facilities, location, hours of operation, transportation services, extracurricular activities, etc. in their decision making process. Education entrepreneurs need an in-depth understanding of the marketplace and the complex considerations of prospective parents before launching a school. A good feasibility provides this information and informs the school formation and startup process.

Startup and operating requirements must also be laid out clearly in a feasibility study. Facilities acquisition, design and development, management structure, faculty and staff recruitment, supervision and compensation, marketing and admission, student management systems and more require careful consideration. A comprehensive, impartial analysis of project requirements is essential. Great care must be taken to avoid underestimating the necessary resources to ensure success and avoid failure.

The financial analysis should include startup and annual operating budgets for five years. Ideally, the projections would include best, medium and worse case scenarios. The projections must include the assumptions that form the basis for the projections. It is important to consider industry benchmarks in developing the financial projections. Budgets with projections far outside industry ranges for major expenses and growth projections are serious red flags. A break-even analysis is also critical. A comprehensive, professional financial analysis will help startup schools avoid pitfalls and provide critical information for what is and what is not feasible

The main reasons schools fail include 1) underestimating the competition, 2) poor execution, 3) undercapitalization, and 4) lack of competitive advantages. An excellent feasibility study will help you avoid failure and experience success.

Your First Time Looking For a Preparatory School? Here’s a Checklist

Are you looking for an independent preparatory school for the first time? If yes, you may need to consider a few things to make sure you choose the best primary school for your child. After all, you want the best educational foundation for your child to ensure a bright future for him/her.

The role of a primary school in preparing your child for the competitive entrance exams held by independent secondary schools in the UK is undoubtedly important. Your child’s higher studies depend, to a great extent, on the kind of foundation and attitude developed during the initial years of his/her education. A primary school that can ensure overall development of your child whilst giving him/her a solid foundation in maths, classics and modern languages must therefore be chosen.

If you are looking for a preparatory school for your child for the first time, you should start by finding out all the primary schools in your locality. This could be easily done with the help of the Internet. You would just need to search for “Preparatory school” along with the area of your residence. You will get a complete list of schools in your locality as well as in the neighbouring areas.

The next step would be to visit the website of each school. Most primary schools today have an online presence. These websites provide complete information about their classes, curriculum, admission policy, fee structure, extra-curricular activities, special facilities, if any, and so on. A peek into their website would give you a fairly good idea about what all facilities they offer.

How can you choose a good preparatory school for your child in your locality? If this is the question in your mind, here’s a checklist that would help you.

1. Assess the track record of the primary school: A good primary school is the one that has a good track record of the number of its students getting through the competitive entrance exams to both independent secondary schools and state grammar schools. A good preparatory school also advises parents which secondary schools may be suitable for their child. Many students from a good primary school manage to obtain scholarships or other financial assistance at independent schools.

2. Visit the school: You may also choose to visit a school before you fill in the registration form. By visiting a school, you can understand the standard of their classes and activities and also get a chance to meet the staff. You could see if the school provides enough space to the children to move about freely in both its indoor and outdoor classes. Also, see if the resources are well organised to enable young children find things they want easily, on their own.

3. Enquire about the fee structure: Since independent primary schools charge a fee, which may vary from one school to the other, it is important to know what all you need to pay for. After all, you would prefer to choose a school you could afford easily. It is also important to find out if the school provides any nursery education grant.

4. Get information about special subjects and extra-curricular activities: Try to find out if the primary school provides classes on special subjects or arranges for extra-curricular activities. These are important for the overall development of your child. Many schools offer classes on extra subjects like piano and computers besides sports activities for an extra fee.

5. Specialist subject teachers: Computers, French, swimming, and many sports activities need to be taught by experts. So, it is important to find out if the school has specialist subject teachers.

If you take into consideration these factors, finding a Preparatory School ideal for your child could really get easy.