Tuesday, January 16, 2018

2 Digital Tools for Internal Accountability

I've referenced in a few other posts that we are full tilt on the Google bandwagon, and working with digital tools to manage our time, and simplify workflow.  I do not purport to be an expert 
(check out @heatherwarrell, or @BWhitlowEdTech @meme3rat  for 3 experts I goto), but we have had some success in the tools we're using.

Internal accountability is important to be able to grow and move forward.  One big hurdle to internal accountability is the belief that it won't be heard, or that there will be reprisal on someone for a critical suggestion.  What we did to answer this was make a Google Form that stays live, that does not collect user email addresses and is therefore anonymous, and committed to the staff that it would be checked regularly and addressed.  

It's a simple form that tells folks exactly it's intent.  I don't like complex forms because I believe most people won't do them.  This morning I had to do a US Census form for principals.  It took 45 minutes for feedback.  That's honestly too long, and a waste of time.  I think if people want to give feedback it should be easy, they get what they need of their chest and then administration can determine it's level of need.

Hurdle number two is that leadership has to be open to anonymous feedback.  I'll be honest with you, occasionally folks will put forth some nasty things via anonymous feedback (once a staff member called me some names that were not very nice) but 99% of the time it's constructive, good feedback that helps the organization grow.  Leadership must be tough enough to open the Pandora's box of anonymous feedback.  Remember if someone has something nasty to say, they're probably a sad person.  Pity them, move on to a problem that needs real solutions and soldier forward.

In many ways this is like a modern digital suggestion box but with one catch.  I think a big key is to show accountability and addressing the issues.  We do this by periodically (I have been trying for once a month depending on level of feedback received) cutting and pasting feedback and then i'll directly respond to it with what we are doing, or in some cases, correct what I think is a mistaken impression.  We do this via our Monday Report, a google doc we send out each Monday to communicate what's going on to our staff.  

Below are two examples:

Another simple tool we use to highlight things to the community is a Google Form that is aptly titled.  Teachers can find a link to it standing in our Monday Report, on our internal site, and in every single email I send.  Below is a snip of the form, and below that a snip of my email signature.  Easy place for folks to click when they have something on their mind they want pushed out to the community.

Hope these tools help your practice!

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