Quality in caregiving.

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Towards more agility in the social sector:

Rainbowtrekkers' goals past, present and future

During the last couple of years we have successfully developed rainbowtrekkers into an organization characterized by a cooperative leadership style on a management level. As founder and CEO, I for sure still reserve a veto right for myself with regards to liability questions, legal compliance and financial obligations. However, besides that we made substancial progress in setting up an organization that lives the value of staff participation and whose operational goals are set and implemented not by managers and accountants but by professional pedagogues.​

For the future we wish for this cooperative style of leadership to not only characterize the Management Meeting (MM) but to penetrate more and finally all spheres of rainbowtrekkers starting at the very core of our organization, the pedagogical group, up to educator-principal-interactions and peer relationships between the different members of the organization.​

Throughout the last couple of years on MM level we have developed our own leadership skills also with the help of external coaches and organizational advisors. On a kindergarten level, our principals Iva, Silke and Sam are committed to support all team members in this process of change. We believe that the future of work is more agile – even in the social sector. To develop self-organized kindergarten teams who find meaning in taking over responsibility and express themselves by the input they give into the organization and by the freedom they receive is a long way. But we are committed to do the first step. ​

Any roadmap needs to be broken down into smaller steps. That’s why the Management Meeting of rainbowtrekkers in 2018 had started to define clear goals that within one kindergarten year we would like the organization to reach and which should guide our actions. ​

The main goal of the previous kindergarten year has been to revise our pay scale. The reasons for introducing a new pay scale have been multiple; with its main aim wanting to increase competitiveness on the job market, transparency within the organization and new dynamics within the professional developments of our teams (more about it to follow in next month’s newsletter).

As for the current kindergarten year the principals had decided to devote attention to a couple of organizational questions all surrounding the question of how to make rainbowtrekkers an attractive employer and a good place to work. If money is said to can’t buy us happiness – so what can? ​

We believe that identification with our work is an important factor and can be reached if at our work place we can live out who we are, bring in our strengths and if our professional knowledge and skills count. In organizational theory this is called “ownership of process”, meaning that we think an organization not in terms of roles and functions (such as group leaders, principals or CEO) but in terms of interest and what needs to get done.

In a complex organization such as rainbowtrekkers, some educators might show an interest in inclusion, others not. Some might show special experience in language development, others not. Some might be great in networking with external organizations, some might be great in parent and public relations, some might be brilliant in pedagogical observations and see things in a child that others don’t see and so on and so forth. It is basically about matching a need of the organization with the right person who shows passion about it.

However, “ownership of process” not only means that the person suited best is managing a certain process. That person is not only put into control and given responsibility. It also means that finally the person needs to have a certain idea whether a set organizational goal has been achieved or not. In order to get an understanding of where we stand and measure our success on the way this person needs facts and numbers to base his or her decision on.

That’s why we are planning to roll out a system of number based reporting at rainbowtrekkers. How exactly this will look like – is still open for discussion. A first step on this way was to put the results of all parents and staff surveys online on the intranet and for me and Leo, our head of HR, to answer every single point made by the staff members.

My vision is that the key numbers collected at rainbowtrekkers will be pedagogical key numbers. I am not interested in useless data, but I want measurable facts that talk about the quality of care at rainbowtrekkers and how it could be proven to parents, to external stakeholders  – but mainly to our pedagogical teams promoting our own satisfaction with what we are doing. ​

All this could be counted under the headline of “accountability”. Freedom to bring your ideas into being, in this way, goes hand in hand with the duty to honestly report on the progress you made. ​

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