By Greg Wright
When your district invests in an inventory system, the success of your technology adoption depends mainly on its users. Staff must use the system regularly for the system’s data to be accurate and provide value. We recommend that school districts have an inventory “champion” who continually encourages and educates staff to use the system effectively.
Greg Wright, Instructional Materials Coordinator at Leander ISD, has spent 12 years coordinating textbooks and instructional materials for 38,000 students at 42 campuses. During that time, he has championed the use of TIPWeb-IM to more effectively and efficiently manage the use and purchase of instructional materials.
We’ve invited Greg to write a guest blog post to share how a “champion” can motivate staff to effectively use an inventory system:
1. Gain Administrative Support
A champion cannot succeed alone; the administrative leaders in your district must support you when necessary. When staff hear the message from multiple levels in the administration, the expectation that they use the systems is clearly set and supported through the year. I have my CFO and Curriculum Leaders present at my staff training sessions and they confirm the need that each staff member uses and follows the systems in place.
I also have a very detailed Policies and Procedures manual that clearly outlines staff responsibilities. Multiple administrative leaders help in the enforcement of the manual, which again reinforces expectations.
2. Explain the Why/ROI
Explain to your staff the ultimate payoff of the system. The district implemented the system to save them time and help them be more efficient. That can only happen if they use it properly. I’ve found that staff need to see the “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow” before they “buy in” to the system and use if effectively. This means that you must invest time up-front in training and showing staff how to use the system. Make sure to explain how their role affects the bigger picture. I meet one-on-one with the Assistant Principals (who manage textbooks at each campus) every year to walk them through the system and why their participation matters. Show them the pot of gold and they will work for it!
3. Create a Culture of Collaboration and Trust
I create a culture of openness and idea-sharing with what I call the “Jerry McGuire” philosophy: “Help Me, Help You.” As the champion of the system, my role is to serve and support the staff. I communicate that at bi-annual meetings with all Assistant Principals. I ask them to trust me in knowing that what I am asking them to do in the system will ultimately help them. I’ve found that once staff know I’m fully committed to helping them succeed, they embrace the use of the system.
I also empower the staff to speak up with ideas that can improve our systems. They have knowledge of the use of the system at the campus-level that I do not. We’ve implemented many ideas from APs to the benefit of all staff. This could not have happened without a culture of collaboration and trust.
How do you motivate your district staff to use your asset management system? Do you have a policies and procedures manual that is enforced by the administration? Do you have a culture of collaboration? Tell us in the comments below.