Building Your Team for an After-School Program – Knowing Your Why!

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

A majority of people live life as it happens. We wake up in the morning, get ready for work, go about our routine job, face our boss, and come back home, make money, manage problems of personal life, go to bed at night and repeat the same routine every day. In all this, we often forget to ask us the question, “Why we are doing all this, every day?”


Why You Need ‘Why’ In The Life?

Everyone should lead a life based on ‘Why’. This ‘why’ gives you a purpose in life that inspires you to have a life with set goals. Hence, you find greater satisfaction in whatever you do. When we are able to discover our ‘Why’, we have clear purpose and confidence in choosing the right careers, developing strong teams and relationships that are likely to inspire us.

Whether you are a after school director or an employee, you need to have a clear vision of the purpose of your actions and their intended results. By tackling the ‘WHY’ of your after school program, you will be in a better position to inject motivation into your team and youth in your program.


Knowing Your Why as a Director
Whether you are a director or a team supervisor, you need to know your why. This ‘why’ is the driving force behind the engagement and performance of workers or employees and not the technical expertise. Results of a Gallup study on great leaders shows that the top 10% of the leaders succeed in creating employee engagement with their strong vision and goals. Based on this, they motivated their employees to take the necessary actions.


How to Identify and Express Your ‘Why’ To Motivate Staff Members

For the professional development of your team, you need to identify and express your ‘why’. This will enable you to motivate your team to believe in what you believe and work to their maximum potential.

Start by answering these key questions:
• What are the goals you want to achieve with your program?
• What are the outcome you want to see with your children and youth?
• Why are doing it, what we are doing?
• What value it is bringing to our program?

The more clear and precise you are about the purpose and results you want to see, the more you will be able to get your staff to perform to their optimal capacity. In fact, you can even compel them to exceed expectations, as they try to achieve the set goals.


Are You Sure That Your Staff Members Fully Understand Your Goals And Expectations?

Most of the time, directors and supervisors communicate with their staff. According to the survey report of Center of Management and Organization effectiveness conducted on leaders, they spend 80% of their time on communication. This includes briefing their staff about specific tasks or resolve issues, writing emails to assign work to the delegates and training new skills to the employees.

However, most directors fail to ensure their staff should understand the instructions consistently. If you too are facing this issue, you need to address it by stating your objectives in measurable and quantifiable terms, checking for their understanding and then following up.

For example: You observed that your middle school youth are argumentative and confrontational with each other in one of your classroom. First step is to create a clear goal for that classroom. “100% of Participants in classroom 315 will learn how to use effective language to communicate disagreements with each other and use problem solving strategies independent of the staff.” By when do you want to see 100% of participant exercising problem solving strategies? What are the behaviors or indicators you need to witness to know that your staff is moving in the right direction?


What You Should To Instill Your Vision in Your Team
The directors of an after-school program can instill their vision in their staff members in the following ways:

Tie The organization’s Vision to your program site Goals: It is necessary to tie the organization’s vision with the achievable objectives for your program. This integration will ensure that it becomes part and parcel of the day-to-day activities of the employees. To boost motivation, offer some kind of recognition to the staff members who succeed in accomplishing goals in alignment with the organization’s vision. There can be different forms of acknowledgments, ranging from open appreciation to a handwritten note or a card.

Keep the programs’ Vision and goals Prominent: The vision statement should be a consistent focal point for every employee. The vision should be precise and relevant to the work each staff member at every level. To achieve this, set a certain goal for each week, gradually moving towards realization of the program’s goals, and offer incentives. Once you achieve this, celebrate it as a team.

Tell Success Stories That Help Realize The program’s Vision: You can use storytelling to share the program’s vision with the staff members. This is highly effective when you share the success stories of staff members with other team members. It motivates them to work hard to realize the vision as the company progress.

Accept Small Failures: It is a positive thing for professional development to accept and learn from your failures. These small setbacks help you fine-tune your direction and make fixes. It helps you identify the shortcomings and address them in an effective manner.

You can ensure your employees’ professional development by setting clear vision and goals for them. Thus, you can work towards your After school program’s growth by boosting productivity and chances of success.


By Sonia Toledo, CEO of Dignity of Children