Early Childhood Systems Building Resource Guide: Leadership
Technical Assistance in Systems Building for State Leaders
Technical assistance to support systems building, including strategic planning, is available through the Child Care State Capacity Building Center and may be available through other federal technical assistance centers. Please check with your State Systems Specialist for more information.
The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act articulates a collaborative and coordinated approach to leadership and systems building and for implementing the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). Exercising adaptive leadership—mobilizing others to solve complex problems jointly—is key to optimizing the federal funding on behalf of communities, children, and their families. CCDBG emphasizes the need for action with partners because child care is part of a larger ecosystem of early childhood funding, programs, services, and supports. Operating in this larger, complex network requires sharing leadership at multiple levels as part of the process of designing and delivering aligned action toward common goals for the early childhood system. Critical provisions of the law cannot be achieved by one agency or program alone. Full implementation of CCDF is realized through the activity of adaptive leadership which requires individual leaders to change their own behavior and how they relate to others so that they can influence both individuals and groups to help tackle the most pressing and daunting problems. This chapter provides a framework of adaptive leadership principles and competencies that aim to help state leaders build capacity to think more clearly and execute better in a constantly shifting environment so that they can energize others to make progress on both opportunities and challenges. Additionally, this chapter presents two brain-based models (SCARF and SEEDS) from the field of applied neuroscience that work to improve both our individual and shared leadership practices as well as our approaches for leading change.
Heifetz is the founding director of the Center of Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where he has taught for four decades. Linsky is also a professor at Harvard University. Both are known for their seminal work on how to build adaptive capacity in societies, government, businesses, and nonprofits. The Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) has enhanced Heifetz and Linsky’s practice of adaptive leadership by simplifying it and making it more accessible and actionable. Ed O’Malley, President and CEO of KLC, has given us permission to use his leadership framework—key ideas, principles, competencies, and dimensions—to help states and territories mobilize others into purposeful action.