Community-based programs use tools all of the time, including evidence-based curriculums, smartphone apps, project scheduling software, databases, etc. Your org’s approach to bringing in a new tool impacts how well that tool is implemented, how warm the staff team feels towards that tool, and ultimately the intended success from use of the tool.
This week’s 2 Tips blog supports you and your organization in bringing in that new tool with the greatest likelihood for success on all fronts.
Employ a tool screening team that uses thoughtful criteria for ensuring the appropriateness of tools and communicates with the staff team about the small and large visions for the adoption of tools.
Support alignment between all tools and the Strategic Plan, ensuring that tools advance the big and/or small components of the Strategic Plan; this alignment confirms the appropriateness of tool as well as reinforces strategic forward motion for your team.
What Not to Do
Many organizations with community-based programming move at lightening speed while dealing with lean operational structures. A free, low cost, or highly touted tool can be attractive whether or not that tool can actually be embedded in your organization, not to mention actually propel organizational success. Here are questions to keep in mind when your organization reflects on whether it is a Conscientious Tool Adopter or a Flyby the Seat of Your Pants Tool Adopter.
1 | How tingly do you feel inside when you learn of a new tool? (If highly tingly, beware that you might be too quick to adopt tools.)
2 | Do you have strategy-building and reflection time secured in your schedule? (If the answer is “none” to “very little,” you might be too exhausted to make a quick and insightful decision about a tool and its impact.)
3 | Does your organization have a guide or policy for adopting new and evaluating existing tools? (The structure offered by such can ensure uniformity and reliability, which might be absent in other areas of the org.)
4 | How enthralled is your staff team in understanding and treasuring the micro and macro aspects of their roles? (The level of investment that the staff team reflects in their nitty-gritty responsibilities as well as the larger purpose of their role (i.e. making impact in the community), will likely be mirrored in how ready the climate and culture are for successful implementation of tools. Be warned!)