In today’s episode, Kris is joined with one of her favorite friends in the industry, Vernon Mason. Vernon has over 25 years of experience in early childhood. He shares with us his journey of how he started and some of the key points that allowed him to grow from a school of 30 into now five locations. Vernon is an inspiration as a leader and rockstar! Vernon makes it fun and open, from making the snacks in a classroom to helping directors find the confidence and skills to be great leaders themselves. They also cover hiring and letting employees go, his rewards and motivation systems, and what’s next in his career!

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Key Takeaways From This Podcast:

Today’s guest is Vernon Mason. He has been in early childhood for over 25 years, and with a $5,000 credit card in 1991, he and his mom opened a small child care center that grew to 125 children. In 1999, it was destroyed by a natural disaster, and he rebuilt and has since grown into 5 locations.

One of Vernon’s original schools grew and expanded, but then got flooded due to a hurricane. They were closed for 2 days then moved to a downtown location for a year, where the parents would drive out of their way just to go to the school. Within two years he doubled the attendance, and grew the number of teachers he hired, as well.

Vernon thanks Kris for helping to rejuvenate him in a time of burnout from the stress of expansion. Getting clear on his to-do list and his day became a way to get him more focused with an efficient strategy to work on high-payoff activities.

Loyalty, openness, and incentives are very big to Vernon when hiring and working with his directors.

They are focusing a lot of attention on good attendance, and he has a great rewards program for those with great and near perfect attendance. They also give a reward for going above and beyond with a sense of enthusiasm and energy.

Vernon gives tips and shares his own experiences on being able to let someone go that isn’t a fit for the company in a respectful and professional manner.

Having a “three strikes rule” is a good tool to maintain core values within the company.

A key to good leadership is vulnerability and letting people see your imperfections.

Vernon has done 16 keynote talks this year, so he may be taking a little keynote break! His second book will also be out soon.