Thursday, October 31, 2013

Systematically Looking at Your Program

What’s your plan for strengthening your program?  What systems do you use?  At C4K we would suggest that you begin with a site or program assessment tool.  C4K has two of them—the Super 7 and the Elite 8—but there are other tools that will also help you take a systematic look at program. 

We think it is important that you begin to assess your program by first looking at the program itself rather than at staff.  There will be plenty of time to get to the people working in your program, and sometimes if you start with the people, you overlook the aspects of program that structurally could be strengthened and/or reorganized.  Peter Senge in his book The 5th Discipline, gives an example of what happens when you get into the “blame” game.  If you wonder why something isn’t working well and you go down the path of the people and the supervisors, you could miss that the schedule didn’t have any time for transitions built in, or the checkout system has parents moving to 3 different spaces, or that the Walkie Talkies are ineffective.  If you miss those items, you might temporarily fix the symptom but you will not resolve the problem.  To ensure you get to the “root cause” of something ask yourself first “What is happening here?” and then secondly take a look at the systems and structures you have in place to determine if something could be addressed at this level.  Ask for input and feedback from your stakeholders and really listen to what they have to say.  You might want to make it your process for people to identify something they think is not working or could be working more effectively AND THEN share one or more solutions from their own vantage point as to how the challenge could be resolved.

Once you’ve taken a thorough look at your program, identify your strengths and make a plan to celebrate those strengths.  Identify 1-3 areas where you could strengthen your program that makes sense with the direction you and your partners are going, and then create a plan for the next several months on how you will work on your challenge.  If you believe that training your people would help you be more effective, determine what each needs—plug them into content training with C4K, and then coach them to implement successfully.
You’ll discover if you work this plan you will strengthen your program continuously and provide more effective learning opportunities for your youth. 

Check out the C4K website at and see how we can help you with content training. 

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