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June O'Sullivan, LEYF CEO

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Stonehenge, Farms and Icebergs: Developing Successful Growth Strategies

I am rarely found up at 6am on a Saturday unless I am on my way back from some lively event but this Saturday I headed off to Paddington Farm for a strategy awayday. It was a glorious clear morning with a romantic frost over the Salisbury plains. Passing Stonehenge made me wonder whether our prehistoric strategists realised 3500 years ago that they were building the most important prehistoric monument in the whole of Britain.moonrise stars Stonehenge Wiltshire England UK

The point of a strategy is to plan the action needed to ensure we meet our mission statement in a way that secures us economically.  It is a day to remind us all about the core business ( in this case educational farm holidays for people who are in need ) and what we can do to sustain and develop it.  It is quite broad in that we try to avoid drilling into how we will achieve the strategy.  We have to stick to asking ourselves over and over is this the right direction of travel.  Will this help us achieve our aim? Are we fit for purpose?

The day was a good preparation for the LEYF strategic awayday which is planned for next week. Unlike Saturday where the day involved discussing about farm buildings, silage, long horned Wiltshire sheep and cider our homework for the LEYF strategy day was to read ‘Our Iceberg Is Melting’ by John Kotter; a charming interpretation of how to manage change through the eyes of 6 penguins.  It’s got the philosophy of Happy Feet combined with the March of the Penguins without the music.

Change and the successful management of change is what the LEYF strategy is all about.  If we do not manage change well and build a business model with values and integrity at the heart we will end up in trouble. Look at the Cooperative Bank.  Long before Reverend Flowers brought it into the limelight, the bank was in trouble. It had used its most valuable asset, its ethical status to leverage its growth but that was not enough to secure its sustainability. Now its reputation is under threat and its restoration will be even harder as it has lost the goodwill of many customers who had begun to recognise its poor business performance .

7350278056_9ec6d00898So what has that got to do with LEYF?  Well, we are looking to grow. Our strategy is to try and enable more of London’s children to attend LEYF nurseries, especially those living in poorer London neighbourhoods. We want nurseries that will enable poorer parents to train to work or to work locally.  We want nurseries which can support our apprentices.  We want nurseries in places which will benefit from our multi-generational work.  We need more nurseries to help us do that.

Are you interested in working with us?  Would your strategy align with ours? Could we become partners?… Get in touch.

About June O'Sullivan

An inspiring speaker, author and regular commentator on Early Years, Social Business and Child Poverty, June has been instrumental in achieving a major strategic and cultural shift for the award winning London Early Years Foundation, resulting in increased profile and profitability over the past eight years. As CEO of the UK's leading childcare charity and social enterprise since 2006, June continues to break new ground in the development of LEYF's scalable social business model. She remains a tireless campaigner, looking for new ways to influence policy and make society a better place for all children and families. June is a champion of community-based, multi-generational projects and a great believer in the potential of greater social and cultural capital as a means of delivering long-term social impact. She continues to advise the Government in order to better implement their vision for Early Years. June is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Director of Early arts, Council Member of the Early Intervention Foundation, Chair of Paddington Farm Trust, Founding Member of the Institute for Early Years and was recently voted into the ‘NMT Power 20’ - top 3. June was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours in 2013, for her services to London’s children. June continues to work closely with the Government in order to better implement their vision for Early Years, to improve quality and promote a better understanding of the incredible long-term benefits of play-based Early Years education. June is a published author, with an MA in Primary & Early Childhood Studies and MBA from London South Bank University. Read June’s blog: http://www.leyf.org.uk/blog or An inspiring speaker, author and regular commentator on Early Years, Social Business and Child Poverty, June has been instrumental in achieving a major strategic and cultural shift for the award winning London Early Years Foundation, resulting in increased profile and profitability over the past eight years. As CEO of the UK's leading childcare charity and social enterprise since 2006, June continues to break new ground in the development of LEYF's scalable social business model. She remains a tireless campaigner, looking for new ways to influence policy and make society a better place for all children and families. June is a champion of community-based, multi-generational projects and a great believer in the potential of greater social and cultural capital as a means of delivering long-term social impact. She continues to advise the Government in order to better implement their vision for Early Years. June is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Director of Early arts, Council Member of the Early Intervention Foundation, Chair of Paddington Farm Trust, Founding Member of the Institute for Early Years and was recently voted into the ‘NMT Power 20’ - top 3. June was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours in 2013, for her services to London’s children. June continues to work closely with the Government in order to better implement their vision for Early Years, to improve quality and promote a better understanding of the incredible long-term benefits of play-based Early Years education. June is a published author, with an MA in Primary & Early Childhood Studies and MBA from London South Bank University. Read June’s blog: www.leyf.org.uk/blog or www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/june-osullivan-mbe/ Follow her on Twitter www.twitter.com/JuneOSullivan Follow her on Twitter www.twitter.com/JuneOSullivan
  • Sue Egersdorff

    June – It would be good to think about models of peer to peer improvement review and support for nurseries across the country. Check out the website called Challenge Partners – this is for school improvement but the model is interesting.

    • June O’Sullivan

      thank you I certainly will.

  • kids activ8

    do you specifically want nurseries in london?

    • June O’Sullivan

      yep, we only want to be in London. Frankly, there is more than enough need here. We like local and there are some brilliant local nurseries across the country which really understand their communities etc. So we are trying to do the same in London.

  • Sandra Brouet

    Interesting post.

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