Sunday, May 28, 2017

Applying the Four Styles Framework to University Child Care

I was intrigued by “four styles” framework presented in Your Strategy Needs a Strategy. Since I have limited experience with strategic planning in the professional realm, I had the misconception that it was a “one size fits all” model. The article expanded my thinking and I could easily see the real-world application. To apply the framework my role as Educational Coordinator at the Cyert Center for Early Education at CMU, I was curious as to what type of strategy we should use, and how I could use this knowledge to bolster our organization.

According to the article, it is vital to consider your industry’s predictability and malleability. (For the scope of this post, the focus is specifically on childcare within the CMU community.)  I considered when changes had occurred at work, and if they were unexpected or expected. A recent change we are undergoing is that we are expanding and opening a satellite school near Bakery Square. I found that this change was expected, as we had been working with Human Resources and university administration to reduce the waitlist since I started in 2014. Other, smaller-scale changes, such as altering our assessment system, were expected and took a long time to come to fruition. Therefore, my organization is predictable.

Next, it is crucial to consider malleability at the Cyert Center.  As a private school, we have autonomy in many areas, such as curriculum, environment, assessment, professional development, advocacy, and educational philosophy. These factors could be changed. However, we do have to adhere to certain regulations that are inflexible. For example, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services licenses the Cyert Center, and we adhere to their health and safety practices.[1] Because of the mixture of flexibility and regulation, I would categorize the Cyert Center as somewhat malleable. While we adhere to certain guidelines and standards, we have the power to transform many aspects of our practice.

Based on my workplace’s predictability and relative ability to create change, we should develop a visionary strategy. Currently, I am not aware of my organization’s strategic plan. Moving forward, my intention is meet with the leadership team about strategic development, and sees if we have a plan in place. If we do, it would be interesting to analyze it through the lens of four styles. If not, my hope is that I could work with our directors to develop a visionary strategy that supports continued growth. 

[1] Child Care Regulations. Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. Accessed May 28, 2017 via

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